Now aged 60–80, Boomers were raised in a tough, post-war climate with little reliance on technology. Many experienced strict parenting, physical punishment, safer streets, and unstructured free time frequently spent outdoors. Consequently, they don’t always approve of more child-focused parenting styles. Let’s look at the 19 modern parenting trends Boomers believe are spoiling the youngest generations.
News Medical says this parenting style “involves excessive levels of involvement and control by parents in their children’s lives.” Boomers see such over-parenting as unnecessary and damaging, claiming it stifles a child’s independence, adds to familial stress, and makes children overly reliant on adults.
Raised by parents who had survived two World Wars, most Boomers disagree with rewarding attendance alone. Inc.com says many perceive rewarding mediocrity as indulgent and emotionally damaging because it doesn’t prepare children for the harsh realities of adult life and doesn’t motivate them to try harder next time.
Having a schedule full-to-bursting with extra-curricular activities may sound like a great way to keep your child busy and learning, but many Boomers think unstructured play, spontaneous creativity, and imagination are just as important (Care.com). They argue that such rigid time-structuring isn’t appropriate for children.
Fear of Failure
According to xyzUniversity, Boomers think today’s parents are so afraid of seeing their children fail that they offer too much assistance, remove them from challenging situations, or make excuses for failure beyond the child’s inadequacy. While this obviously comes from love, Boomers think kids should be allowed to fail to ‘toughen them up’ for adulthood.
Lack of Independence
With smaller families and more child-focused parenting, modern parents often do a lot for their children and are overly concerned about allowing them to do things alone. Baby Boomers find this approach frustrating, saying that doing everything for a child instead of teaching them how to do it themselves makes younger generations unnecessarily reliant on adults.
Excessive Screen Time
Boomers often express concerns about how much time today’s kids spend using tablets, smartphones, computers, and TVs. They argue that excessive screen time isn’t good for their mental or physical health—WorkLifeParent agrees, citing a sedentary lifestyle, obesity, reduced socialization, and fewer real-world skills as possible drawbacks.
Lack of Chores
Many older people had to do chores and help with everyday tasks like cooking, cleaning, and taking care of younger siblings. Modern parents are less likely to assign chores, something Boomers criticize. They say household tasks teach children responsibility, teamwork, and how to care for their future homes and families.
According to Healthline, too much homework increases stress, reduces learning efficiency, and takes up time for relaxation, hobbies, and play. Boomers agree, stating that too much academic pressure isn’t natural and that forcing children to complete hours and hours of challenging classwork every evening can kill their love of learning.
No Unsupervised Play
Modern parents often have increased fears about allowing their children to play without supervision in case of an accident or injury. On the other hand, Baby Boomers reminisce about the days when they played for hours alone or with other kids, claiming such un-parented play allows greater personal expression and independence.
Oversharing a child’s life on social media often comes from a parent’s pride and wonder, but many older people find it too invasive and advocate for childhood privacy. This sentiment is echoed by others, says The Guardian, with concerns about identity theft, cyberbullying, and online crimes involving children.
Being protective is natural and, often, necessary, but there is a fine line between keeping a child safe and sheltering them, even with the most remote possibility of risk. Boomers suggest that parents today are too protective, creating children who are emotionally weaker, more fearful, and less resilient than they should be.
Lack of Face-to-Face Communication
Because they grew up without technology, Baby Boomers frequently cite the negative impacts of screen-based communication on families and parent/child relationships. They argue that learning to hold a conversation and understand non-verbal communication are vital life skills, without which a child’s social development may be hindered.
Tutor City states that entitled children “often feel like they deserve more than they have, and as a result, they are always looking for ways to get more.” Baby Boomers think parents should be tougher on their children by setting stricter boundaries, removing luxuries, reducing gifts, and learning to say no more often. This helps teach restraint, patience, and gratitude.
Lack of Nature Connection
With lives full of digital screens and activities, children nowadays don’t always spend as much time outside as their parents and grandparents did. Boomers criticize this, saying this lack of time outdoors disconnects them from nature and negatively impacts their immune systems. They suggest letting them play in the mud/rain/woods/stream, no matter how dirty they get!
Overemphasis on Grades
Just like excessive homework, the more hands-on Boomer generation worries that modern parents emphasize school grades and other academic achievements too much. This can stress their children out and draw focus away from more practical, real-world skills like home repair, cooking, and sewing.
According to the Child Mind Institute, “Frequent praise, although intended to bolster a child’s self-confidence and self-esteem, may instead create increased anxiety and ultimately undermine their initiative and confidence.” Boomers agree that praise should only be given when due, preferably through hard work or skill.
Fear of Outdoor Play
Boomers grew up when playing outside, come rain or shine, was the norm. They may have ended up with scraped knees, splinters, and wet socks, but many now look back on those days with nostalgia. Consequently, they often disapprove of parents who don’t allow their children to play outside, explore nature, and get dirty.
Modern parents often organize playdates with the children of their own friends at specific places with planned activities. Baby Boomers are often critical of such arrangements, believing children benefit from more time to engage in spontaneous free play with their own choice of friends. They assert that this promotes imagination and more genuine friendships.
Lack of Physical Freedom
With higher crime rates compared to 50 years ago, it’s unsurprising that many children don’t enjoy the physical freedom that their grandparents were allowed. Modern parents worry about stranger danger, road safety, and drugs, so they tend to restrict their children from exploring their neighborhoods alone despite increased independence and adventure.
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