All of use are someone else's children. Even as adults, when we cross that mysterious border between being a child and being a grown up, we are still the children of our parents. We are also still subject to their opinions as to how we should live and love. Some of us go on to be parents or step parents, to another set of children, and somewhere get sandwiched into the ladder of parent/child/parent/child with all we must decide and take on for ourselves.
There used to be a time when our parents were always our respected elders, our children always are obedient progeny. There was also always a strong resistance to this current of parental authority when it came to ideas about freedom, personal choice, innovation, science and technology, religion, "god's plan", and what the book says.
What's good for the goose, is good for the gander. Well, it turns out, maybe not so much. We know, for instance, that medically speaking, there is so much different between men and women biochemically, that this just is not true. Once someone figured out that basing all medical protocols on the basis of a few studies performed on white men just was not useful or even ethical. In the cry for equality, the answer is not just "be just like a white man and it will all work out for you." And why should it? Even now, as we struggle with economic disparity, the cry is still "Be more like me, you have chosen wrong".
When it comes to our children, we finally get our turn in deciding what will and won't happen. First, we must remember (with our perfect recollection and clarity) what it felt like to be children of our own parents, and then decide based on what they did and didn't do that we liked and didn't like, what we will do. Then we must include our spouse's family and their decision making tree. Then we must balance the differences, and impose them on our young, incorporating new information (beating children may be satisfying but not very useful) and trying to remember which age old advice is worth hanging onto (a stitch in time saves nine).
Staying in small, well defined groups of similar kind is the best way to stave off change, slow the hands of time, and perpetuate the past. Call it tradition, or call it something else. We cannot simultaneously keep all the things we like going, and change all the things we dislike. Because there is another person, another party, another group, another family member that was somehow born to choose that which we cast off.
One man's trash is another man's treasure.
Even for our own children, our beliefs in what they need to do well may conflict with their still unfolded future of what they need to do well. It is in no parent's interest for their child to have a good, varied and satisfying sex life. It is in the parent's interest that their child survive until adulthood, reproduce safely and often, and have the skills to maintain their own survival. Now that our children are competing with us in the marketplace, suddenly we change the access points of freedom to choose. We keep trying to legislate past ideals onto present day dilemmas- and they aren't working out so well because we are no longer in the same tribe.
When do we get to decide for ourselves? When do our parents stop making the call for what they believe over what we believe? Who gets to decide what is in their best interest, or our own?
Of course, we can always blame it on the irresponsible youth, the loose girls and the wild boys.