Millennials May Be Brats, but who raised them?

Yes, I know. Millennials.

Let’s speak about them for a moment.

I am a member of ‘Generation X’. I was born in 1976. I’m solidly in the generation, though in the tail-end. The generation, by the way, that was raised by the notorious ‘Baby Boomers’.

I’ve personally have always had a “love/hate” relationship with the Baby Boomer generation. This is in large part to their general narcissism. As I watch commercial after commercial directed at it being, “their time”, I find myself more and more aggravated with this message.

When will it be OUR time- the Gen X kids? I can listen to all the Nirvana and Sublime that I like, but I feel like my generation never had “their time”. Now, I’m 40, and all I have is some grunge metal memories, and a lot of debt.

Now, there’s the “Millennials”. Those who need safe spaces and naps. Those who have puppy therapy at college, and swoon if they hear an offensive word.

And now it’s “their time”.

Am I bitter? Maybe. Maybe I am. But mostly I’m coming to a realization in my older age. I’m realizing that we, meaning both the Baby Boomers and the Gen Xers, have MADE IT “their time”. We have made it all ABOUT Millennials- and as a result? We have helped to contribute in making Millennials who they really are.

Please understand. I’m not making excuses for Millennials. No way. In fact, I think that’s a large part of why we have the issues we have with Millennials- because we’ve been far too enabling and make far too many excuses.

A few things:

Millennials are the first generation who has been raised exclusively in the midst of technology. When I was the age of many Millennials, AOL chats were the hot new thing. We’d dial-up AOL, chatted for hours, then we went tired the next morning to work.

I didn’t even have a cell phone until I was in my 20’s. My daughter, who is five-years-old? She can maneuver technology better than both of my parents can. It’s a marvel of the modern world, but it also perpetuates a lack of social interaction. People will literally be sitting next to each other and be texting instead of actually talking…and if you think this doesn’t make a difference? You’re deluding yourselves.

Millennials have also been fed a constant diet of positive reinforcement. Again, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing on the surface. The problem is when we don’t allow them to fail. And that happens, a lot.

This idea that we can’t let our children experience disappointment started with the Baby Boomers. It’s bad for their psyches, you see. Don’t say, “no” to your children, for instance. Redirect. Sounds good, right?

It’s just not very practical. That’s all.

Life is messy and it’s full of disappointment. That isn’t to say that life isn’t lovely or worth living. Only that it can’t be perfect all of the time.

As such, Baby Boomers, and now Gen Xers, have done a disservice to many Millennials. We have raised children who are not always able to regulate their emotions because they’re not used to losing.

We also like to do a lot of their “work” for them. This is especially and almost exclusively a Gen Xers trait, I think. For instance, calling a teacher and berating them because your kid acts up in school. Writing angry Facebook rants because your child was treated unfairly by their big meanie of a boss. So help me, I’ve literally heard of parents of 20-somethings that have called back potential employers for their children.

Does little Johnny have the job, hiring manager? He would call you himself, but he struggles with talking to other people except for in text.

Sorry to break this to you, fellow Gen Xers. We won’t live forever.

Yes, everyone is accountable for their own behavior. It’s just always wise, in my opinion, to look at the whole picture. The truth is that we, the generations before Millennials, have some culpability for any grievances we might have with their generation.

I used to really hang my irritation on the Baby Boomer generation, but the truth? My generation, the Gen Xers? We allowed this. We were just lazy.

We wore our flannel shirts and combat boots, acted all artsy and outraged…. and then we continued along the same path we complained about with our own parents. We opted to do the status quo. Go with the flow.

It’s all whatever, you know, man?

So, here we are.

Boomers raised us, and then we mostly raised Millennials.

Who gave those whiny kids those participation awards, anyway?