Baby boomers were born between the years 1946 and 1964. They came of age in the era of civil rights, the Vietnam War, and the sexual revolution. They’re the products of the G.I. generation returning from WWII, settling down, getting married and having children.
Today we’re keeping up with the Kardashians, but the Boomers grew up keeping up with the Joneses. It was a time when the suburban neighborhoods were the place to be and living in a home with a white picket fence represented having a piece of the American dream. The TV was the influential technology of their generation and was the hub for news, information, and pop culture.
When they were young, Boomers were idealistic, very much like their children, the Millennials. Boomers felt they could change the world…and they did. They grew up driven more by their values than by money. Woodstock came to symbolize what they stood for.
But the weak economy of the 70s changed things. By the time mid-generation Boomers started to have families of their own, unemployment had risen to 10%. As a result, Boomers shifted their orientation from “we” to “me” and they became motivated by money, perks and prestige.
The 80s saw Boomers transition from hippies to yuppies. Now they prioritized their work life, moving up the corporate ladder and reaping the rewards from their workaholic lifestyle. Today, Boomers tend to be seasoned in their careers and sit at the top of the corporate org charts.
Boomers grew up with parents who had an authoritarian parenting style. But Boomers took a different tack when it came to parenting their own kids. Boomers were the original helicopter parents. They raised their Millennial children on praise. They taught their children that the world was their oyster and they could do or be anything they wanted.
Millennials are called the trophy generation, and there’s the joke that Millennial trophies went down to 10th place. But what’s not often talked about is that the Boomers set up a system that rewarded their children for participation and just showing up as opposed to, say, winning. More than anything, Boomers didn’t want their children to do without, even if that meant being rewarded with a 10th place trophy.
And in direct contrast to their parent’s authoritarian parenting style, Boomers are less like authority figures and more like peers with their own kids. Ask a Millennial who their best friends are and often times, they’ll say their parents. It’s not uncommon for Boomers to be in touch with their children daily, just like best friends
Of course, daily communication is a lot easier if your adult child lives at home with you. 1 in 4 Millennials in their 20s and early 30s say they’re currently living with their parents. Not necessarily by choice, but because they graduated into an economy were the jobs and promotions weren’t there and they’re saddled with student debt.
And the parental support doesn’t stop there – 60% of Boomer parents say they’re giving financial support to their Millennial children. Remember, they never wanted their kids to do without.