The Terrible Parenting Advice Baby Boomers Need to Stop Telling Us

It's time for some of this "back in my day…" advice to be retired.

by Nicholas Kavalier
Originally Published: 
Two baby boomer grandparents holding their grandchild
Flickr / lindaruthless

The Baby Boomers! They were real great at some things, like creating Viagra, the World Wide Web, and the automated external defibrillator. Yet if we’re being honest, their track record is also replete with fat losses: They ruined the economy, like, 12 different times and also produced Donald Trump. So, yeah, they’re great. But they also basically threw all their garbage bags full of motor oil and interior paint and radioactive goop right into the ocean, too. Honey and garlic, right?

With all this in mind, it stands to reason that we should take their parenting advice with a giant grain of salt (or, as they call it, Flavor Crystals With No Negative Health Effects Whatsoever). Yes, they technically “raised us,” creating a generation of people who have achieved unprecedented technological and scientific feats. But the world has changed a whole friggin’ lot since they had kids and much of their advice, even if it comes from a good place, is flat-out wrong. Is it hard to tell them that? Yes, which is why you nod your head and ignore their advice, while internalizing your actual response. But here are some pieces of Baby Boomer parenting advice that we can tell them to basically shove right back into their back-in-my-days.

1. “You need to let your kids get dirty!”

This one comes straight from the Internet School of Things That Don’t Happen Remotely as Much in Real Life as They Do in Your Newsfeed. Who has an actual problem with kids getting dirty? When have you ever heard a mother or father get irrationally upset at a kid coming in covered in infield dirt or beach sand, unless said kid is on his way to a funeral, confirmation, or parole hearing? Kids get dirty all the time! This is perfectly natural, as is the inclination to have them clean up before eating food or walking on a carpet. Sure, there are tons of people who don’t want mud on their couches because they prize their possessions more than their family, but these people are awful and you shouldn’t visit them anyway.

2. “You’re babying him, he needs to get hurt once in a while.”

Seriously, what kind of manic morbid nonsense is this anyway? How did “taking appropriate steps to ensure your child doesn’t suffer a head injury” equate to some right-wing wang-waving contest? Name one parent who, given the chance, wouldn’t opt for “put a helmet on a kid who’s riding a motorcycle.” As it happens, most of us don’t put bubblewrap under monkey bars, but we do like to make sure they can swim before throwing them in the deep end. Two different things. Clam up, old people.

3. “They’re playing too many video games.”

Video games are fun! Have you guys seen the one where you parachute into an island and have to fight off 99 other people? It’s real addictive. Also, there was literally no greater Tetris player on Planet Earth than my mother, who was straight-up born in 1947. Also, you guys invented video games. I saw my dad return from Service Merchandise with an Atari 2600. I know what you did.

4. “Boys shouldn’t play with dolls.”

Unless said dolls carry miniature rifles and are ninjas and fight the evil forces of Cobra, then it’s totally sweet.

5. “All kids should get a job when they’re 9 YEARS OLD.”

Probably! Jobs are great! I guess we could send our kids into subterranean mines for 12 hours a day to breathe coal dust and canary parts, or we could give them jobs around the house and expect them to do their part. Also, you guys broke the economy via the mortgage crisis, decided college should cost $9 million a year and installed a nectarine-necked maniac from whose generation? Oh, right, your generation who is currently destroying what little fragile investments we have by f**king something up with China. Kids have to get a job, so even the ones who aren’t blue-chip athletes you pay thousands of dollars to watch in VIP boxes with clients can maybe attend college one day.

6. “You guys need to show them better movies, these are all garbage.”

Probably true! Who needs complex character studies when you can have 38 bone-white guys in space-control rooms yelling at miniature monsters stomping their way through Tokyo. Then again, I once saw a picture of my grandfather refereeing an actual boxing match between my two then-4-year-old uncles, so what do I know.

7. “Oh, calm down, a little secondhand smoke won’t hurt him.”

(Blank stare)

8. “You don’t need to vaccinate your kids, that’s all deep-state propaganda from the libs…”

Wait, actually the boomers were all over this one. We’re the idiots messing it up.

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