It's not easy being a millennial or a Gen Z'er today. Some of the things we're dealing with in 2023 — like digital dating, specific financial hardships, and social media pressures — are things parents can't always wrap their heads around.
I recently asked the BuzzFeed Community to share some things that they wish parents would attempt to understand about being a millennial or Gen Z'er today, and the responses were extremely eye-opening. Here is what some had to say.
1. "That college is not always the 'path.' Some people don't need to go to college immediately after high school. Sometimes a gap year is not enough. I have met lots of people from the various jobs I had who tried to go to college and found out it wasn't for them. Our generation is told to go to college or university or else it's the end of the world for us. There are so many paths you can take after high school like being in an apprenticeship, taking a basic full-time job, and so on."
2. "I had exactly this discussion with my parents yesterday. I need them to understand I won't prioritize work over my mental health or personal time. If any company tries to pull that, I'll quit in a second."
3. "My immigrant parents absolutely REFUSE to believe the 'American dream' is basically dead. They think that anyone can get any job — and that job will be enough to pay for their basic needs. It explains why they don't really get the stress me and other university students feel when we’re frantically searching for jobs that’ll give us the life they moved to this country for."
4. "I wish they knew how different (and how much more difficult) job hunting is these days. I have a bachelor's degree in math, graduated in December 2021, and I have been unsuccessfully trying to get a job in my field ever since. They don't seem to understand how different the process is from when they were younger."
5. "I'm asexual, and my mom keeps pressuring me to date casually. What she doesn't seem to understand is that causal dating — to a lot of people — means casual sex. While I believe it is possible to be ace and have casual sex, it just isn't something I personally feel comfortable with. As for why I'm not trying for a serious relationship right now, I'm graduating from college soon and likely moving to another state. And more importantly, I just don't feel like dating right now."
6. "I wish they understood how the definition of 'success' has changed. My boomer folks lived on one teacher's salary, were able to buy a home and cars, raised three children, had no student loan debt, and were able to retire at 65. That way of life is no longer available to future generations."
7. "I wish they knew that dating isn’t as simple as it once was. With dating apps, we all have a lot more options afforded to us. In some ways, this is great — especially for the LGBTQ+ community. In other ways, it can be negative, as many get the nagging feeling that there could be something better. Not to mention, many people are bolder behind a screen than they are in person, which can put people at risk for all sorts of harassment and misconduct, as well as catfishing and scams."
8. "I wish my parents would understand that I don't need to be married or have kids to be happy. At 32, I'm no longer interested in any of that. I also wish my mom would not make fun of or be bigoted toward mental illness, sexual orientation, race, etc. It's hard to be open and talk to her."
9. "The fear we have of school shootings and mass shootings in general. I still remember having a class discussion about leaving the room during a fire alarm a few weeks after Parkland. My mom didn't understand why I was so worried, because 'it probably won't happen at my school.' Statistically, it could have."
10. "The struggle of being a working mom. I don't mean to insult stay-at-home moms because they work incredibly hard and struggle in their own ways, but my mom can't understand how difficult it is to balance home and a job. No, I can't always drop everything to spend extra time with my kids because they need it. I wish I could, but working isn't a choice for me. I have to work to support my family, so that sometimes means I can't chaperone a field trip or volunteer in the classroom, even if my kids want me to. When I'm working, I do feel guilty that I'm not with my kids. But also, being with my kids can be exhausting, so I don't always want to be with them every second I'm not working. I'm constantly fighting an inner battle between feeling guilty I'm at work because I'm not with my kids, feeling guilty I'm with my kids when I have work to do, and feeling guilty when I'm taking time for myself. She can't understand."
11. "I wish my parents would realize that complaining about my significant other doesn't mean I want or need to break up with them. Sometimes, I just need to vent — but I still love my partner."