By Jim “Pappy” Moore
If you are over 25 years old and still blaming your parents for anything, please stop. You are not a grownup until you do. Online I see Gen Zers blaming their Gen X parents. I see Millennials blaming their Boomer parents. I see the emerging Gen Alphas blaming their Millennial parents. The younger they get, the more complaining they do.
The most interesting thing I see is Gen Xers proud of the rough life their Boomer parents gave them. Proud they rode bikes everywhere. Proud they ran loose until into the evening hours. Proud they were the last generation to not be suckled on computers and cellphones.
There is, though, a strain of each generation that cries crocodile tears about the way their tender lives were ruined – ruined, I tell you – by the things their parents did or did not do.
Nowadays, the young parents proudly proclaim they engage in gentle parenting. None of that harsh talk, and orders, and demanding parenting. No, they cajole, they softly explain why it’s not appropriate to bash another person with a toy.
They are big on talking to children as if a string of words will make them stop being holy terrors. Soft. They’re soft. Softer than Charmin. Marshmallow soft. “We never yell at our kids the way our parents yelled at us.”
Somewhere between your 30s and your 50s, you will probably realize how much better your parents handled parenting than you have. You’ll realize why they let you try stupid things and win stupid prizes in the form of broken bones, or sprained ankles, or hurt feelings.
I am a Boomer. We were the generation that was going to do it all right, not like our parents. We were not going to whip our kids with a belt or switch, like our parents had done to us. We were going to talk to them, like the father on “Father Knows Best,” or the mother on “Leave It To Beaver.” Just sensible talking and explaining. That’s all that should be needed. And then our kids would be like Princess or Beaver Cleaver, and they’d understand and do right because it was right.
Then our kids went further than we did, and then their kids went further than they did. So now you have children in elementary school and middle school who know they have rights. And that no one can do anything to them. Because they’re minors. Because they’re a person. So taking away their privileges for bad conduct is out of the question. They’re just kids. Never mind if it’s criminal. Never mind if it’s mean, or thoughtless. Never mind if it’s literally against the law. Then we are shocked when they fill a highway in protest of something and beat on cars that want to drive on the highway.
The youngest people in America are now the most undisciplined people in the country. They need safe spaces and your opinions and facts you consider ordinary are why they need them. You can’t talk about things like actual wars, or like slavery, or like capitalism without making them outraged for your having spoken such words. Meanwhile, their products of capitalism – clothes, laptops, cellphones, etc. – are the center of their universe.
As with all generations, not all of those within the generation reflect these generalities. Older millennials tend to be more like Gen-Xers. Tougher. More likely to have had rough parenting with consequences, and yelling that they’d better do this, or that will happen to them. It is the softening of generations which has led to the current status where children are attacking teachers physically and openly in class rooms, all the way down to grade school. It is the college students who think they have license to stop traffic and to attack you because you have somewhere to go and they won’t let you pass.
Time for what we grew up calling a “Come-To-Jesus meeting.” That means serious repercussions for misconduct. Loss of privileges. Punishment for misdeeds. Parents, teachers and authorities going “medieval” on them. Don’t be afraid to make them stop their onslaught against everyone older than them. If they’re being brats, treat them like brats.
Copyright 2023, Jim “Pappy” Moore. All rights reserved.