February 23, 2006


My co-workers and I were having an interesting discussion over coffee a few mornings ago about attitude changes over the generations and conceptions of appropriate behaviour. This got me thinking…

Many people, including myself, admire Madonna for the way she has sustained her success over the years and seemingly managed to juggle career, home live and children with aplomb. However, I do cringe somewhat when I see her cavorting around a stage, with men, in hot pants. For some reason I have a conception that it is not appropriate to behave in such a way when you have children. Similarly, my Mum's boss (and mine for a year) is in her early forties with two young children, and yet regularly goes out and gets drunk to the point of amnesia and lets her kids see her like that. But am I being an old-fashioned prude by thinking badly of them?

The subsequent generations change so significantly. In maybe twenty years the image I have of a 'grandparent' will not exist any more: no longer will OAPs have blue-rinse perms, wear flat caps and always dress in skirts and trousers.

It is, of course, true that maturity increases with age, but to what extent? Should we change our behaviour as we get older and our circumstances change, or do we have a right to continue behaving as we did when we were in our teenage years or twenties?

- 5 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Hey Sarah – good luck tonight :)

    Personally I have never really admired Madonna, but I do envy the way she has managed everything that has happened to her, and everything she has done, and still be so successful. I do find it rather disturbing to see her on stage acting the way she does, but on the one hand she has got a great body, sex sells, and Madonna has (for the majority of her career) been most successful when she is using her body, and her songs in a sexual style.

    However, there are certain ideas around age and health which leads to our conception of older generations. People are living longer, therefore to a certain extent are healthier, and therefore what we perceive as being appropriate for certain ages will change as avergae life span increases: ie leaving education later, getting married later, having children later, retiring later, dying later. Fifty is the new forty and other cliches.

    The question with children is interesting – I suppose it is about what examples and attitudes we want to set for our children. The example you use would suggest that that the mother would not have a problem in years to come for her children to go out binge drinking and accepts all the health risks that that comes with.

    x x

    23 Feb 2006, 14:46

  2. Sarah,
    I'm with you on this one. I think one of the best ways set an example to your children is to be that example. How will Madonna cope with saying to her Children 'don't take drugs or be promiscuous' is she has herself. (I don't know whether she has ever taken drugs but the point is the same)
    As far as looking like a Grandparewnt is concerned, does it matter? as long as it is respectable and not demeaning clothing, go for it!

    23 Feb 2006, 15:13

  3. Darren, I agree completely. Of course it doesn't matter what grandparents look like: more what their ideals are. With the blue-rinse generation come certain moral and social standards that will presumably not be upheld as the generations move on. It's this that interests me.

    23 Feb 2006, 22:36

  4. I'm just gonna throw my opinion out here and see what you think.

    My Nan has never really fitted the whole "grandparent" look, but she's always been someone I respected. I think the problem is that if you view the way that parents act (such as the people mentioned) as not a fitting example for children then you have little respect for them and for their parenting skills. However, that's not to say that they won't be good parents, even if they know how to have a little fun. I've seen my Dad absolutely wasted to the point where he could no longer speak English but even at the age of 20 if he told me not to do something I wouldn't do it. You can have parents who don't do any of those things considered inappropriate and still be crap parents. I think it's all down to respect. My grandparents still have my respect, as do my parents, even if they're nothing like what the previous generation thought parents/grandparents should be like.

    Anyway, I'm not saying that parents should go out and get drunk in front of their kids, no, I don't think that's right. I am saying that their ability to have fun and their lack of discresion doesn't necessarily mean they won't be good parents, it just might make their jobs a hell of a lot harder….

    25 Feb 2006, 11:06

  5. Duncan Robson

    Speaking from experience you are still the same person once you have kids, you are just put in new situations and have to act appropriately. You wouldn't get completely drunk and start swearing during a quiet Sunday lunch at home with your parents, in the same way you wouldn't do it in front of your kids. However you still need to have time to party and let the "20 something" you out occasionally otherwise you would start to get very resentful of your children. A good balance is the order of the day here.

    27 Feb 2006, 15:21

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