I didn't have the most stable "American" childhood in the world. My mother suffered from severe mental illness, and I was forced to behave like an adult at a very young age. Add to that the fact that I'm a card-carrying member of Generation X. Our parents handed us keys to the house so that we could let ourselves in after school, and then went about their business. It wasn't cool to tell our parents what we did with our friends and romantic interests, and when we graduated from college, most of us would have rather died than move back home. It wasn't even an option.
I've noticed that things are quite different with the current generation of teens and twenty-somethings, the Millennials. They were raised with their parents involved in their every breath and concerned with their every movement, and as a result, their parents became their best friends. A recent study by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner confirms this: more than 90% of Millennials called their relationship with their mother close while more than 65% described a close relationship with their father.
Even in their twenties, the Millennials I know talk to their parents every day, sometimes multiple times a day. Their parents often know as much about their daily goings on - and even their kids' friends' daily goings on - as the Millennials themselves do. Twenty-somethings today are often shocked and dismayed by the first real pummels delivered to them by the real world, as their parents have routinely protected them from hurt and disappointment. Their parents have worked excessively hard to give their children everything they've desired in life, and even now won't hesitate to drop everything so that they can help their children resolve work, school, and relationship conflicts.
My question for those of you who are Millennials is: do you appreciate the sacrifices made by and the care from your parents, or do you perceive it as a matter of course? It seems to me, as a Gen X-er, that Millennials should really value the incredible resource and nonstop support system they have in their parents. They should regularly send them flowers or a pound of their favorite coffee, and even more importantly, should recognize their parents' needs as human beings and do everything they can to meet those needs. For example, maybe Mom would like nothing better than for her adult child to arrange a weekend at the spa with her best girlfriend. Maybe Dad could use his adult child's advice on using social networking to investigate a career change. As Millennials get older and start their own families, their relationships with their parents should shift from one-sided to mutual give and take.
Whether you're a Millennial or not, I hope this post gets you thinking - what have you done for your parents lately, and have you told them how much you value their love and attention?
Follow Alexandra Levit on Twitter: www.twitter.com/alevit