You may have come across some national articles on parenting trends for 2023, or maybe you've just caught a 15-second TikTok summary. Either way, it's clear that parenting is constantly evolving. From my quick research (and even quicker TikTok scrolling), one trend stands out: kids are increasingly valuing experiences over material possessions. As parents, we've all heard our little ones reminisce about the fun times we've had together, rather than the latest $5 toy they persuaded us to buy at Walmart. But let's be honest; we all occasionally get lured into those tempting shopping lane end caps!

Here are a few trends I've identified, along with some personal anecdotes, that might resonate with fellow parents:

Ask More Engaging Questions:

  1. Instead of the mundane "How was school today?" question, try spicing up your conversation starters. Kids often default to a simple "good" response. To foster better conversations, I've found it helpful to ask questions like, "What's something fun you did today?" or "What's one interesting thing you learned?" This way, you'll dive deeper into their day and get more than just a one-word answer.

  2. Kids Will Figure It Out, But...:

  3. While it's true that kids often learn by doing, some skills need a little nudge. Take my experience with my oldest, who struggled with reading. I assumed she'd catch on naturally, but when that didn't happen, I took action. I downloaded Hooked on Phonics (not sponsored) and set goals for her over the summer. The gamification aspect made learning enjoyable, and it boosted her confidence. Now, she eagerly volunteers to read to her little sister. As for bike riding, well, let's just say a mix of bribery and peer pressure does wonders!

  4. Open Conversations about Mental Health: In my role leading the marketing and PR for the mental health lifeline in Oklahoma (988), I've had numerous conversations about mental health. This has spilled over into my parenting style. In the past two years, my daughters have become more aware of mental health through spotting 988 billboards and stickers. I've learned the importance of addressing their emotions and feelings, reminding them that it's okay to be sad and that we're here to talk about it. With the recent loss of family members, these discussions have been crucial in helping them navigate their emotions. Additionally, as our beloved pet approaches the end of her life, my husband and I openly discuss this with our kids. We're preparing them for the inevitable and teaching them the value of compassion and understanding.

Parenting is an ever-changing journey, and it can't be neatly summarized by a few trends each year. Some days, we excel, and other days, we stumble. But remember, just because Alexa occasionally steps in to entertain our kids doesn't mean we're not acing this parenting gig. We adapt, learn, and grow together with our children, creating cherished memories along the way. So here's to all the parents out there—keep doing your best, and don't forget to sneak in a little humor along the way. After all, laughter is the universal language of parenthood!

All 📸 by Jessi Chapman