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Millennials And Gen Z'ers Are Getting Very Honest About Things They Wish Their Parents And Grandparents Understood In 2023

"All throughout my childhood, I was told one thing — but the reality has been quite different."

Being a young adult today certainly isn't easy. Sometimes what makes it even trickier is feeling misunderstood and that parents don't fully get the hurdles that millennials and Gen Z'ers have to face. Members of the BuzzFeed Community recently weighed in and expressed things they wish their parents understood about today's challenges. Here are some of those things.

A scene from "This Is Us"

1. "I wish my parents would understand that I don’t need a man to be happy. I am NOT 'too picky.' I can support myself just fine — and I'm not going to settle for someone with bad habits just to get a ring."


2. "The whole social media thing. My mom refuses to get anything like Facebook or Instagram, so she can't understand why social media gives me FOMO, why I've fought with friends over it, how it's ruined some of my relationships, and how all of that makes me as depressed as it does. She doesn't have it, she can't understand. Our conversations turn into things like, 'Oh, how is Lola doing?' and I respond, 'Lola and I aren't friends anymore; I have no idea.' ' had a fight?' 'Not really, she just told me she was busy one night and had to cancel plans we'd made, and she got tagged in photos going out with every one of our friends but me, so I figured out how she really felt, and now I can't hear her name without wanting to cry. Thanks, by the way.'"


3. "Everything has changed — but especially parenting and decisions that come along with that. My husband and I live in a different state from both of our parents, and they are begging us to move back home, but the public education in those states isn’t very good, and that’s one of the main reasons we don’t want to move back. We’ve talked about homeschooling or sending our child to private school, and our parents are like, 'Why are you worrying about this? She’s not even 2 yet.'"

A woman saying, "Being a new, inexperienced mother, I need all the help I can get"

4. "I wish they would understand how pissed I am for being lied to. All throughout my childhood, I was told by many adults that hard work would make me successful and get me far in life. I could have anything I wanted if I just worked my butt off. The reality has been quite different. Even with a great-paying and fulfilling job — plus side work — I struggle to make rent every month. My dreams of homeownership and world travel fade away a little more with each passing year. The more I do, the harder I work, and the farther away the reality of my dreams seems to be."


5. "While my mom definitely raised me to be sex positive, I realize that her sex positivity — while progressive — is a little out-of-date. Masturbation wasn’t a taboo subject in our household, but for some reason, she thinks sex toys are cheating, indicative of something wrong with you and your partner’s relationship."

Hands holding a vibrator

6. "I wish they realized that food is EXPENSIVE. Sometimes, cooking at home costs the same as eating out these days."


woman in grocery store shopping

7. "I might not ever have a long-term career as they've had. My father has been with the same company for longer than I've been alive. But in the current work environment, nobody pays well enough or treats me well enough to get that kind of commitment from me."


8. "I'm in my mid-30s, and I wish not having kids would become more normalized. Frankly, being able to comfortably afford your own life has become a struggle — why bring kids into that equation? Not worth the added stress and added pressure of raising good kids and giving them the best life. My goal is to give myself the best life."


9. "Our struggles aren't their struggles. Nowadays, we face very different challenges, not only monetary but also societal, personal, and in our relationships. They think they had a pretty difficult coming-of-age, but we haven't had it any easier."


10. "Retirement! My parents and I were discussing pensions once, and how they no longer exist, and therefore we have even more reason to jump from company to company. My mom said her pension payout isn't 'that big' and I have a 401(k), so I should be okay. Yes, I have a plan for retirement, but putting away money I could use now is much different from getting a pension — not to mention, our generation is paying into a Social Security system we likely will never benefit from."

Hands holding a paycheck

11. "I wish older generations understood more about us. My husband and I did what is considered the 'right thing' by other generations. We got married, had two kids, bought a home, and got three dogs. We got married at 18 years old. We are happy — but I cannot be a stay-at-home mother. We both have to work to get things done. My brother joined the military. He did something that was 'expected' as well, but he lives with us due to how things are. It isn't easy, and these older generations are still complaining about the newer generations. I wanted to be a stay-at-home mother and raise my children. I have been to college and got a good job. I make $18 an hour and my husband makes $26 an hour, and things are still a struggle. We don't even buy anything we don't need. Older generations do not understand it."

Two hands in marriage

12. "I am 43 and have PTSD from childhood sexual abuse by a close family member that I’ve battled on my own for most of my life. I was recently diagnosed with ADHD since childhood and multiple chronic health issues. My mother still firmly believes I’m exaggerating and need to 'get over it.' I grew up in a strong 'suck it up' family, no matter what was going on; there's no room for that anymore. Mental health impacts so much of your life, and understanding is one of the biggest components. I really think that is missing sometimes from parents."


13. "One thing people forget is that social media has COMPLETELY changed the game, especially regarding mental health. We are designed to seek approval from our social groups, but social media causes an overload. There have been studies done that show the huge increases in mental health disorders linked to increases in the prevalence of social media. Also, tech designers INTENTIONALLY designed social media to be addictive, so it's not as simple as 'Put down the phone.' Not to mention, people are using devices and have social media accounts at much younger ages, before their brains have finished developing. Gen Z (I'm a millennial) is really the first generation where we've been able to see some of the long-term effects of that type of exposure."

A hand on a smartphone

Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Is there anything else you wish your parents understood about being a young adult today? Share your thoughts with me in the comments below.