Baby-boomers are emotionally challenged. They can only handle so much. Throw too many feelings, problems, expectations, or tears into the pot, and we have a problem. Take the average American set of baby-boomer parents. They did their best, they provided what they could, they attempted to be open and “cool” and available. They learned over the years that no matter how many times they straightened your hair back against your forehead with their coffee-breath loogie, or helped to let you know that your shirt needed to be starched and ironed before dressing, these efforts would prove to be meaningless to their roster as their children grew and expected answers, demanded respect, and craved emotional stability from their baby-boomer parents. They think to themselves, “Norman Rockwell did not say this was going to happen”, as they scratch their heads in confusion while they watch their children checking into rehab, becoming voluntarily committed, suffer through crumbling relationships, and have to learn the hard way that credit cards do in fact need to be paid back in full, or their will be consequences. These are all areas that the Baby-boomer generation failed in as Parents, simply because of ignorance.
Lets discuss in detail, where the baby-boomers fell short:
They did not know that their children had fully operating sexual organs that would invoke animal-like desires in them just as theirs did. They figured that their children were born with body parts similar to a dolly; when you lift the skirt up, or pull the pants down, the organs are just full of cotton. Therefore they cannot feel pleasure, therefore, why would they need a sexual education? This would explain the frequency of Baby-boomer parents swiftly entering through their teenagers bedroom door, to find them fornicating with the Robert’s child from down the street, or worse, masturbating. Their best attempt at addressing the gruesome discovery, that in fact, their child’s organs were not full of cotton, was to do one of two things. Either have the baby-boomer father whip the devil out of the out of control child, or have a fun-loving, John Travolta family movie night over some popcorn. After choosing one of the two conflict resolution options, they move along as if nothing had happened.
And this leads us to our next deficiency,
Open communication is a baby-boomers Achilles’ heel. Well, lets face it, they have more than one Achilles’ heel, they suffer with more of a Achilles’ being. Where was I? If you try to approach a baby boomer with a sticky subject, you will be met with a defense mechanism rather than a human. You may want to know what I mean by “sticky subject”, so that you can avoid trying to bring these topics up. Sticky subjects: Sex, love, money, religion, life, dreams, desires, hopes, regrets, doubts, questions, memories, feelings, and insecurities. Before you get too depressed on seeing how many topics are off limits, lets look at the bright side and see what we can discuss with our baby-boomer relative. Green light subjects: Religion, politics, physical health, local news (particularly the weather), Regis Philbin, late night shows (except for Conan), and confirmed promotions at work (important note: don’t try to bring up potential promotions, only discuss the confirmed promotion), and last but certainly not least, children (as long as you have them and as long as they are under the age of 12).
Now if I know my generation well, the spawn of the baby-boomers, and I believe I do, then you will find yourself tempted to bring up the sticky subjects. We are a spirited bunch, I don’t blame you for your enthusiasm or for your silly, destructive tendency to give them the benefit of the doubt. I would like however, to inform you on the danger of journeying down this dark, windy, dangerous path.
Lets say, for instance, you say this to your baby-boomer, “Mom, I am having a hard time in my relationships because of how I was molested as a kid. I don’t know how to trust anyone. I feel stunted emotionally, because I can only go so far with another human being before I run away.”
The typical baby-boomer reaction would be to freeze, malfunction, and continue to offer you more lemonade and homemade muffins. Reminiscent of a robot getting sprayed with a super soaker water gun, the baby-boomer is just not built or programmed to handle this type of confusing data.
Or lets say you have a less serious issue, “Dad, I have decided to quit business school to pursue my true passion! Ventriloquism! I have wanted to do it ever since I was a kid, and I am so excited that my life is truly about to begin. What do you think?”
One again, this data would confuse the baby-boomer. He would feel as if he needs his batteries replaced, and it would lead him to wonder if he is suffering from yet another physical ailment. He may wonder if he has contracted Alzheimer’s from the poppyseeds in Mom’s muffins. He has forgotten what you said before you even finished.
Expecting anything more from the baby-boomers when bringing up a red-light subject is like expecting a squirrel to engage in a stimulating conversation with you about global warming while you wait for the bus. You will be left feeling cheated. So it is better not to try at all. Those darn spirits of ours will rear their determined heads, and have a hard time throwing in the towel. If you find you are struggling with keeping things in the green light zone, expect a battle. Things will either get physical, or emotionally psychotic. Punches may be thrown, and words will definitely be hurtful. In the case of the denial-addict, the baby-boomer may cut off ties with you altogether. What did you expect? You crossed the line. You wouldn’t try to insert a video tape into a dvd player and expect it to function, would you? But that is essentially what you have done.
In conclusion, when dealing with baby-boomers, try to keep the imagery of a Norman Rockwell painting alive and well at every and all engagements, and you will be A-okay. If they are coming over for a visit, throw a roast in the stove. Have your husband put on a clean, white shirt, and for god’s sake, make sure everyone’s hair is freshly combed. This guide will help you and your family maintain stability for the baby-boomer. Bring up the safe topics. Smile often. Shake hands firmly. Cross your legs. Husband, roll around with the kids, but don’t get rubbish on your shirt. Gaze lovingly at your children. Have Good Housekeeping magazines on hand. Don’t forget to get into a lengthy discussion about the Weather. This inspires a peaceful, “everything is going to be alright” attitude out of them. And after all, that is all the baby-boomer is really looking for in life.
For everything to be alright.