Literally everything around us is a sign of the times. The way we dress, the way we speak, the food we eat, the way we spend our free time, how we worship – all of it would be different if we had been born 50, 60, 100, 500 years ago.

There are some specific events so huge and influential that they change the trajectory of how things work, and these 6 major happenings did exactly that for parenting.

6. The rise of free-range parents.

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Helicopter parents, tiger parents – the 00s were all about the strictest of the strict when it came to parenting.

In response, the free-range parenting movement rose up toward the end of 2014 with the arrest of the Meitivs in Silver Spring, Maryland. The police took them into custody after they allowed their 6 and 10 year old children to go to the park down the street on their own.

The debate over how much freedom parents should be allowed to give their young children continues to rage, though in 2015, a federal amendment was passed that allows children to legally walk to school alone.

In 2018, the state of Utah passed a law allowing parents to let their children roam as they see fit.

5. The internet and mom shaming.

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The internet has, of course, been around for more than a decade – so has social media. So what changed in the past decade?


As people flocked to share images of their lives, they began to share images of their kids – and from celebrities to the mom next door, no one is safe from an eagle-eyed mom looking for any opportunity to tell you you’re doing something wrong.

Whatever you’re doing as a mom, there’s someone out there waiting to criticize it; there’s literally no way to win.

Pediatricians and child safety experts also worry that influencers and others posting pictures of cribs and other unsafe sleeping surfaces could encourage “regular” parents to ditch the advice, not realizing that what appears in pictures is just for show.

4. The legal definition of family.

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On June 26th, 2015, the Supreme Court ruling on Obergefell v. Hodges changed the legal definition of family in the United States – it ruled that same-sex marriage was a right in all 50 states.

3. Gun violence in schools.

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20 children under 8 years old were gunned down in their Sandy Hook classrooms in 2012. And though nothing regarding gun control has been legislated since, children and families lives have never been the same.

Parents have been focused on lobbying for gun control, but in the meantime, children have been forced into lockdown drills, are dealing with anxiety of those drills, and older kids are dealing with related PTSD.

From conspiracy theories regarding the events to the rocking sales of firearms, there’s no way this fight is over.

2. The college admissions scandal.

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In early 2019, several high-profile, wealthy – and some celebrity – parents were arrested for using fraudulent means to get their kids into college.

It was proof to middle and lower-class families everywhere that there is a different set of rules for people have have money.

1. The anti-vax movement.

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In 2014, California saw it’s biggest measles outbreak in more than twenty years. The culprit? A growing movement against vaccines.

Over half of the infected children had not received a MMR vaccine, and in the intervening years, more and more people have joined the ranks of those refusing to vaccinate their children.

Schools, states, and even the federal government may be asked to get involved as cases continue to rise and people who vaccinate, and the parents of immunocompromised children, fight to keep those unvaccinated kids out of public schools and public areas.

I never would have thought of these events in this context, but it totally makes sense.

Can you see these influences on your own parenting? Tell us how in the comments!