Parenting in the ’40s: Harder than years ago? Are moms too soft? Opinions from the good ol’ days

The Inquirer inquires Are modern mothers too lenient in raising their children

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When it came to parenting the ’40s, were moms too easy on their kids? Was being a parent harder than the generation before? Here’s what everyday “people on the street” said back in 1940.

Are modern mothers too lenient in raising their children? (1940)

From the Philadelphia Inquirer in 1940: Have you a burning question you would like answered by the public? Then send it to “THE INQUIRER REPORTER INQUIRES.”

“You know the column we mean — the one where a picture of each person interviewed appears along with their answer. Try to make your question one that will appeal to the public. The person who furnishes the question that is asked is paid five dollars.”

WHERE ASKED: 20th St. and Hunting Park Ave.

Are mothers too easy on their kids? What people said in 1940

Question about parenting in the ’40s: Are mothers too easy on their kids?

2011 Fairmount Ave. – Unemployed

“No. I don’t think they’re entirely too lenient. In these modern times, even the children need more freedom to live properly. I think the children today get the best of care.

“Modern mothers have competent physicians and science to look to. for the care of their children. There are some mothers who go to extremes and spoil their children. On an average, the children today get even better care than the children years ago.”

3824 N. Gratz St. – Dyer

“Yes, they are too lenient. Children today aren’t being raised like they were in the old days. They get too much their own way. Parents today are spoiling them.

Crime is on the increase. That shows you what leniency will do for children. The good old-fashioned way of raising children is still a good way. I often wonder why parents won’t use that method to raise better children.”

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4821 N. 12th St. – Cashier

“I don’t believe they are. I feel that children benefit from the leniency they get from their parents. All the parents are trying to do today is to give their children the opportunities they didn’t get a generation ago.

“I feel that instead of being too lenient with their children, parents today are generous. They want to give their children all they possibly can.”

Kids today! Are mothers too lenient What they said in 1940

4436 N. 18th St. – Unemployed

“No. I don’t think so. Children are being raised properly today. They’re being raised to cope with times that have changed.

“Everything is streamlined today. It’s a streamlined age, and the children are the same way.

“Leniency and freedom are necessary for children today. It really does them more good than harm. I think it cultivates an individual ambition in every child.”

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Collingswood, NJ – Sales promotionist

“Frankly, I feel that children would have much more respect for their elders if they were not given as much freedom.

“Parents today are spoiling their children. A child can get unreasonable, and the parent does nothing about it.

“I don’t think the modern psychological way of caring for children can begin to compare with the old-fashioned method with its restrictions.”

Are mothers too easy on their kids? What people said in 1940

1827 Butler St. – Accountant

“Times have changed. You must keep that in mind when you speak of parents and children. The majority of the parents give their children great latitude, because they find that’s one way for the children to fit into the modern world in which we live.

“Parents must divert their minds from the old-fashioned way of raising children, to give the youngsters an equal opportunity to grow up with others.”

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Question about parenting in the ’40s: Is it more difficult to raise children today than it was 25 years ago?

WHERE ASKED: Front St. and Allegheny Ave.

Girls with a Raggedy Ann doll in the 1940s

4880 E. Roosevelt Blvd. – Clerk

“Yes, I believe it is harder. Children today are getting so much individual attention, the mother and the father find it just that much more difficult.

“In the old days, families were large. Not nearly as large as they are today. In the old days, the grown-up child took care of the one who wasn’t quite mature. There are many more temptations for children today.”

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3228 Kipp St. – Chauffeur

“No. How could it be harder to raise children today? When I was born, 45 years ago, we had to take a hot brick to bed with us if we wanted to keep warm.

“Today, the children have all the conveniences in the world. They’ve got all the studies of sciences and the best hospitals.

“They didn’t have all those things in my day. It’s really simple raising children in these modern times.”

3230 N. 6th St. – Housewife

“Yes, it is. Everybody wants too much for their children today. That’s the whole trouble. We have all the facilities to make it easy for raising children, but not everybody has a job.

“Times are kind of bad today. If general conditions were better, and if everybody had a job and a good income, I think the job of raising children would be much easier today than it ever was.”

Parenting in the 40s Is it harder than 25 years ago

2662 Richmond St. – Hosiery knitter

“It’s much harder. There’s no security today. In the old days, maybe we didn’t have the conveniences we have today, but you had security. You could get a job when you wanted one.

“Now if you lose your job, the best you can do is to go on relief. You can’t give children the proper care on the relief money. Even if we do have wonderful things for children, most people can’t afford them.”

2867 N. Front St. – Housewife

“They raise children so differently today, I think the job is made harder. Some of the parents just can’t do anything with children. They’re given too much freedom to do as they please.

“Why, some children are raised on the streets. The parents don’t get a chance to tell them anything. Children can’t seem to understand today that they’re supposed to be raised by their parents.”

3158 Edgemont St. – Ironworker

“It’s a lot easier today, on account of the conveniences we have. Children don’t have to walk far to go to school. They are forced to get themselves an education until they’re 18. That keeps them out of trouble a good bit, and the parents don’t have to do too much watching.

“In the old days, a boy of 18 was work-weary. He didn’t know anything. Today education is the thing and it makes the job of raising children much easier.”

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