Millennial parents, those born between 1981 and 1996, have delayed having children later than previous generations, and it seems that decision may have impacted the ability of their Boomer parents (those born between 1946 and 1964) to help with childcare. Business Insider recently ran a story featuring the plight of several millennial parents and their feelings of abandonment in trying to get their parents to help with raising their children. Kristjana Hillberg, 33, grew up with memories of her own grandparents helping to watch her and her siblings whenever her parents went out of town. However, now with three kids of her own, she isn’t finding that to be the case with her own parents or in-laws, who appear to always be traveling, making any last-minute childcare needs impossible to fill. “We have to make sure that we are asking months in advance,” she told BI. Her own mother, who had previously been an automatic support to watch Hillberg’s young children whenever she and her husband went on a trip, has recently remarried and has switched her priorities to traveling with her new husband. The change has filled Hillberg with mixed feelings, especially after her mother has missed family events like Thanksgiving and Christmas. “It's definitely been an adjustment. It's an uncomfortable boundary now. But I couldn't be more overjoyed that Mom has found love in her 60s,” she said.
Psychologist Leslie Dobson, 40, deals with many millennial parents who feel the same as Hillberg and even struggles with it herself. Her 71-year-old father has moved to a luxury community in Mexico, leaving him mostly unavailable to help with childcare. Her father, Ted Dobson, however, pushed back saying that he still financially supports his children but is now spending some of his money on himself as well. “They've all got nannies. We didn't have a damn nanny. They drive expensive SUVs. I drove a fricking minivan. I haven't spent a nickel less on my kids. I just spent some on me,” he told BI. He also stated that on his last visit back to the States, he wasn’t able to see all of his grandchildren due to their own busy schedules. “Life revolves around the children, and you're either on board or you're not. They're like phenomenally busy, right? And so there was one night I just had absolutely nothing to do even though I was there to be with my kids,” he said.
The differences between Millennials and their parents are more than just how to prioritize retirement and helping with childcare. Speaking with Newsweek, 32-year-old Eloisa Hife said that Millennials and Boomers differ on parenting expectations. “Millennials crave a different kind of parental relationship, one that prioritizes open communication, emotional support, and active involvement in their children's lives. Unfortunately, many Boomers struggle to break free from traditional parenting styles, leading to feelings of neglect and isolation among their millennial children,” she said. Many Millennials look for parenting advice on the internet, rather than going to their parents. There are also financial differences. With Boomers having $78 trillion in assets, they are outspending other generations on travel and dining out. Meanwhile, Millennials are often feeling the financial pressure of student debt and a stagnant economy. Thirty-five percent of Millennials report receiving financial support from their parents. Yet many of their parents feel they have already given much of their lives to their children and are now trying to focus on themselves. Dobson said that while she still struggles with her feelings, she understands that mindset of Boomers who, “spent so much of their lives to be there for their family during all of these times of crisis.” “You're getting your kids through high school and college, through their pregnancies, through their marriages, and now they finally reached adulthood and this capacity to be independent,” she said. She said Boomers feel like “they did the family, they did the life, and they're wanting to really live this glorious ending.”