Millennials say boomer parents not helping enough with child care: report

ByErielle Reshef ABCNews logo
Tuesday, December 5, 2023
Millennials say boomer parents don't want to help raise their children
Erielle Reshef reports on this generational divide for "Good Morning America."

NEW YORK -- Some grandparents say they don't want to spend their golden years as caregivers.

That's leaving some millennials feeling abandoned. This story was first spotted in "Business Insider."

It's the time of year when many families bring the generations together in celebration.

But millennials say they feel abandoned by their boomer parents when it comes to the challenge of child care.

"I think at times I dreamed a little bit like the movies where the family unit would be around, parents and grandparents would hold the children and babysit," said Dr. Leslie Dobson, a mother of two from California.

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Some grandparents say they don't want to spend their golden years as caregivers.

Dr. Dobson says she always imagined having her father, Ted, nearby to help raise her family, but that dream never materialized.

"My dad lives in Mexico a lot of the year. So we have a lot of FaceTime and phone calls, and the kids love grandpa, but grandpa doesn't come to the soccer games," Dr. Dobson said.

Instead, the 71-year-old decided to spend his golden years in a retirement community in Mexico, saying he earned his respite after decades of caring for his own children.

"Yeah, I do feel a little bit guilty that I'm not more present with the kids, you know, sort of an in a personal in-person relationship. But I think like a lot of people in my generation, we do feel a financial responsibility," Ted Dobson said.

The Dobsons aren't alone. According to the CDC, on average, millennials are delaying parenthood until later than previous generations. That means their baby boomer parents are becoming grands later than grandparents that came before them, and experts say they may not want to devote those later years to child care.

Dr. Melanie Ross Mills: "We get disappointed. And then we maybe even carry an offense or unforgiveness or bitterness which can cause a root for conflict," said Dr. Melanie Ross Mills, Temperament Therapist and Relationship and Friendship Expert.

One key to avoiding resentment and conflict is trying to see things from each other's perspective.

"I think that helps build empathy. I think it helps us be a little more compassionate, less harsh, and approach it in a way that's healthy," Dr. Ross Mills said.

The Business Insider article said they also found that millennials don't want grandparents passing anxiety down to their children, the way they did to them.

Boomers are often criticized for overreacting and projecting their anxieties.


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