This is Life, Based on a True Story  

The toughest job

Gen X parents have a tougher job of raising their kids than previous generations. And it's our fault.

I know, every generation before us has claimed they had the toughest job. 

I can imagine when radio hit the airwaves, everything a teenager did that was out of line was blamed on “that devil radio.”

And then when TV became mainstream, I’d bet my bottom dollar that those kids were good ’n’ fine until TV clouded their brains with all sorts of impure thoughts.

The peace, love, rock and roll group was all about free thinking, free spirits and free drugs. And that generation of parents was convinced no one had it harder than they did.

As we rounded out the ’90s, we saw obsessive video gaming, and surly teenagers listening to gangsta rap.  

There was an obvious breakdown in the traditional family unit as more and more families had both parents working in order to keep up with, well, everyone else. 

But the battle cry was the same as every other generation before it: the kids are way harder to raise then ever.

So now, here we are in a new century and a whole new generation of kids (the Millennials). 

Thus far, raising this up-and-coming group of world leaders, business owners and teachers has been cringe worthy at times. But is it the hardest? 

The Millennials are the first to grow up alongside computers and the Internet on a daily basis. Never before has there been so much advice and input, often unsolicited, on what to do if….

Generation X, the parents of the Millennials, is also the first to have to learn how to use computers and social media so we can teach, protect and keep up with the kids we’re raising. 

This is part of our every-day existence now, and it’s not going to go away if we ignore it.

Ok, so where exactly am I going with this? As parents to the Millennials, we're participating and even creating the problem.

Gen X — as in me and my peers — spend as much time as our kids do buried in our phones and computers. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

How many times have you witnessed parents scrolling through their phone while their child talks to them or plays beside them? 

How many times have you checked out of a conversation to look at your texts, or whipped your phone out to show the latest picture or video you took of your kids/pets/spouse?

Now, consider this: our kids are attached to their handheld devices (that most of us bought for them) in a way that is unprecedented and seemingly unstoppable. But so are we.

What we're seeing are kids with poor communication skills, who have a hard time occupying themselves without a device. They lack education essentials like writing with a pen and their spelling is atrocious. And this is only the beginning.

Try this experiment at home: ask your child to write a sentence with proper punctuation, the way we were taught to do it in school. And then ask them to sign their name. 

Many parents are shocked to realize their kids don’t know how to spell, can't form a sentence or write their name. 

But is that surprise warranted? We bought our children an iPod at the age of 4. What’s to be expected in this case?

We all say, can you imagine when these kids have to get jobs and be bosses and leaders? 

How are they going to do it when they can't even hang out with a group of their peers without everyone being on their phones?

Well, that time is just starting to come upon us as the older portion of the Millennials is reaching these ages of being able to take on some of these positions. 

Time will tell us rather quickly how this generation will fare?  But in the meantime, we're the ones who are still in charge.  And we’re doing exactly what we complain about.

Each generation has a more difficult raising kids because often, that generation makes it more difficult. 

We create the problem by ignoring what the kids are doing and hoping the generational “issue” will solve itself. Or we go in the opposite direction and “becoming” that generation, the way we are right now.

Thanks for reading.


Comments are pre-moderated to ensure they meet our guidelines. Approval times will vary. Keep it civil, and stay on topic. If you see an inappropriate comment, please use the ‘flag’ feature. Comments are the opinions of the comment writer, not of Castanet. Comments remain open for one day after a story is published and are closed on weekends. Visit Castanet’s Forums to start or join a discussion about this story.

More This is Life, Based on a True Story articles

About the Author

Tanya Gunderson has been writing for the heck of it for many years. Her inspiration comes from her kids, their friends and the craziness of life. She takes great pleasure in exposing life for what it really is and has an open-book approach to her writing.

Her formal education and background include a blink-and-you miss-it stint in the radio and television industry, but it gave her an opportunity to write professionally on a few different occasions.

Email: [email protected]



The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

Previous Stories