25 Parenting ‘Mistakes’ Boomers Made That Millennials Won’t Repeat with Their Kids

Now adults, millennials who were raised by baby boomer parents can now recognize the ‘mistakes’ in their upbringing, vowing never to repeat them with their own children.

Making Fun of Your Dreams


Telling someone their dreams are “really stupid” because they don’t align with conventional money-making paths is both harsh and discouraging. 

It’s a toxic mindset that equates value only with financial gain, dismissing the profound importance of pursuing what genuinely fulfills the person

Criticizing a Child’s Weight


The practice of criticizing a child’s weight often leaves deep emotional scars. From making demeaning sounds when a child reached for food to enforcing strict diets at a young age, these actions could severely impact self-esteem and body image. 

Many from this generation vow to foster a healthy, supportive approach to nutrition and body image in their own families, emphasizing health without shaming.

Dismissing Your Achievements


Ever felt the sting when you share exciting news, hoping for enthusiasm or even a proud nod, only to receive a “That’s nice”? 

It’s like a subtle reminder that your achievements don’t really matter this much. This lack of genuine interest can feel dismissive, subtly undermining one’s sense of worth and accomplishment.

Treating a Child’s Needs as a Burden


Some baby boomers (often overwhelmed by their circumstances) inadvertently made their children feel like burdens. This could manifest in parents showing frustration over basic caregiving tasks, leaving lasting impacts on a child’s willingness to express needs or ask for help. 

The current generation understands the importance of validating their children’s needs and ensuring they never feel like an inconvenience.

Forced Religious Practices


Some children of baby boomers might recall the mistake of having religion imposed on them at a young age, before they could even understand or choose their spiritual path. 

This reflection has led some to encourage religious exploration in their children only when they are mature enough to make informed decisions, thus respecting their individual growth and autonomy.

Breaking Promises


Feeling deeply hurt by the broken promises of their parents, children of baby boomers emphasize the importance of keeping promises, understanding the trust that can be built or broken based on this practice. 

They strive to ensure that when they make a promise to their children, it is actually fulfilled!

Passive Aggressiveness


Children of baby boomers often describe their familial interactions as passive-aggressive (e.g sarcasm, backhanded compliments, and silent treatment).

Recognizing the importance of open and honest communication, they strive to foster an environment where family members feel comfortable expressing themselves directly, valuing transparency over silent resentments.

Staying Together “For the Kids”

Illustration. Image credit: Shutterstock

Witnessing unhappy marriages sustained under the guise of benefiting the children, many have learned that authentic happiness and healthy relationships provide a much better familial foundation. 

They believe in the importance of showing their children what healthy love looks like, even if that means making tough decisions about their relationships.

Neglecting Quality Time and Support


Reflecting on a childhood where parental involvement felt more obligatory than genuine, many vow to be present and enthusiastic about their children’s lives—from attending school events or simply being emotionally available—they aim to make their children feel valued and loved, contrasting with their own experiences of feeling tolerated.

Avoiding Awkward Conversations


Avoiding important discussions was a common practice among some baby boomers—a strategy their children now recognize as flawed. 

By choosing to engage in those tough conversations about topics like sexuality and birth control, the newer generation aims to equip their children with knowledge and understanding (rather than leaving them uninformed).

Zero Physical Boundaries


Forced physical affection (such as unwanted hugs and kisses from family members) was a common discomfort for some. 

As parents now, they respect their children’s bodily autonomy, understanding the importance of consent and personal comfort, which can foster a healthier understanding of physical boundaries.

Conflict in Front of Children


Experiencing parents who fought in front of them or spoke negatively about each other behind their backs taught many the importance of managing conflicts responsibly. 

They emphasize the need to handle disagreements privately and maintain respect for each partner in the presence of their children, aiming to model healthy relationship dynamics.

Physical Punishment


Reflecting on the past when physical punishment was a common disciplinary method, many modern parents are moving away from using hitting as a form of correction. 

They understand the negative long-term effects this approach can have on emotional and psychological development. Instead, they focus on alternative discipline strategies that involve communication, understanding, and setting clear boundaries. 

Forced Eating


Experiences with harsh mealtime rules have led some children of baby boomers to adopt a more compassionate approach with their own kids. 

They encourage trying new foods without forcing them to finish everything on the plate, promoting a healthier, autonomous relationship with food.

Feeling Unsuccessful Until You Make Money


Imagine being passionately invested in an activity, only to be told it’s worthless unless it brings in cash. It’s a scenario many face—advised to stop dreaming and start ‘being realistic’. 

This approach stifles creativity and also suggests that financial success is the only success, neglecting the value of personal fulfillment and happiness.

Strict Screen Time Rules


Raised with strict screen time rules, some children of baby boomers felt disconnected from peers who shared common cultural references. 

While acknowledging the concerns with excessive screen time, they seek a balanced approach that allows their children to engage with technology and culture in ways that foster social bonds and learning, without feeling isolated or left out.

Way Too Much Criticism


The pressure of unrealistic expectations around academic performance and perfection can lead to significant stress and diminished self-esteem. 

Learning from their experiences, they aim to celebrate their children’s achievements without nitpicking every minor flaw, fostering a more supportive and encouraging environment.

Becoming Emotionally Distant


Observing how their parents became distant once they reached adulthood, many vow to remain actively involved in their adult children’s lives. 

They plan to provide consistent support and maintain close relationships, understanding the importance of a strong family network in navigating life’s challenges.

Having Kids


Amidst shifting societal norms, the ‘child-free by choice’ movement is gaining traction, particularly among Millennial and Gen-Z women. A 2021 Pew Research Center survey highlights that 44 percent of non-parents aged 18 to 49 are unlikely to have children—a noticeable increase from previous years. 

This choice often stems from personal observations and experiences, such as witnessing parents become emotionally distant in later years. For those who do choose parenthood, there’s a strong commitment to avoid repeating such patterns.

Early Transition into Adult Roles


Children of baby boomers sometimes found themselves thrust into adult roles prematurely, especially in large families. This includes managing household duties or caring for younger siblings, often at the expense of their own education and childhood experiences. 

Recognizing the burden this placed on their own development, they advocate for letting kids be kids, focusing on their education and personal growth rather than assuming family responsibilities too early.

Comparing You to Other Kids


Many children of baby boomers recall how their feelings were often diminished through unfair comparisons, such as being measured against a sibling’s perfect grades while they struggled to meet the same standard. Determined to break this cycle, they are committed to recognizing and valuing each of their children’s unique experiences and challenges. 

They understand the importance of empathy and support, rather than diminishing their struggles by comparing them to seemingly more “successful” relatives. This approach helps to build a nurturing environment where children feel understood and appreciated for their individual journeys.

Using Humiliation as Discipline


Using humiliation as a tool for discipline can have long-lasting psychological effects. Imagine a scenario where personal struggles are not met with support but are broadcasted for ridicule. 

This can breach trust and also deeply scar one’s self-esteem and relationships, turning personal pain into a public humiliation.

Smoking Around Kids


In the past, smoking around children was quite common, but growing awareness of the health risks has changed perspectives significantly. Studies show that exposure to smoke can lead to serious health issues for children, including respiratory infections, asthma, and increased cancer risk. 

Understanding these dangers, many individuals who grew up in households where smoking was the norm are now committed to creating smoke-free environments for their families. This commitment goes beyond the home, extending to avoiding settings like bars where smoke is prevalent, ensuring their children’s environments are safe and conducive to good health. 

Suppressing Emotions


Recognizing the restrictive nature of suppressing emotions, many are committed to allowing their children to express feelings freely, including sadness, fear, and anger. 

They understand that acknowledging and managing emotions is healthier than suppressing them, which can lead to emotional stunting.

Commenting on Appearance Choices


In many households, commenting on and criticizing personal appearance choices such as clothing colors or the length of outfits was common. However, many now recognize the importance of respecting individual expression through appearance. 

This shift in perspective supports the idea that comments on someone’s style (especially if critical) can impact self-esteem and body image. As a response, there’s a growing commitment to celebrate personal choices rather than critique them, fostering an environment where children and family members feel confident and supported in expressing themselves.

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