Different Discipline from Your Mom's

Generational Differences

Grandma's Top 5 Complaints

  • "I like to babysit, but don't expect it."
  • "I'm not an idiot -- I know how to change a diaper."
  • "Turn the TV off when I come over."
  • "Don't make it my job to discipline."
  • "I hate it when you say I'm spoiling."

She Said...You Heard

When your mother says... You don't put Vaseline on her bottom? You think she means... You're doing it wrong. What she really means I did things differently.

When your mother says... We fed you solids at 6 weeks. You think... My mother is clueless. What she really means Times have changed.

When your mother says... You were an easy baby. You think she means... Your baby would be easy, too, if you handled him better. What she really means I'm just reminiscing.

Childrearing Then and Now


  • Tummy sleep
  • Guru: Dr. Spock
  • Sterilize glass bottles
  • Scheduled feedings
  • Cereal at 6 weeks
  • Potty training at 1 year
  • Spanking
  • Seatbelts optional
  • Sunburn
  • Mr. Rogers


  • Back to sleep
  • Guru: The Internet
  • Throw plastic in the dishwasher
  • Feeding on cue
  • Cereal at 6 months
  • Potty training at 3 years
  • Time-out
  • Five-point harness car seat
  • Sunblock
  • Mr. Noodle (from Elmo's World, for the uninitiated)

Aviva Patz, a mother of two daughters, is a writer in Montclair, New Jersey.

Originally published in American Baby magazine, September 2005.

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