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The Impact of Baby Boomers on Their Children's Mental Health

» Mental Health Library » Disorders & Conditions » Relational Problems » Featured Article

By: Adam Greenberg, LCSW

Adam Greenberg, LCSW

The baby boomer generation, born between 1946 and 1964, witnessed significant societal changes, economic prosperity, and a focus on individualism. As they navigated through life, their choices and behaviors left a profound impact on their children, the Gen Xers and Millennials. While baby boomers' influence on various aspects of society is undeniable, their actions and parenting styles have also shaped their children's mental health. This article explores the impact of baby boomers on their children's mental health, considering both the positive and negative effects, as supported by reputable sources.

  1. Parenting Styles and Emotional Resilience: Baby boomers were known for their authoritative parenting style, emphasizing discipline and independence. According to a study published in the Journal of Child and Family Studies (Miller, J., 2016), this parenting approach had mixed effects on their children's mental health. On one hand, the emphasis on independence and self-sufficiency has fostered emotional resilience in many individuals. They grew up learning how to adapt to challenges and take responsibility for their actions, traits that can contribute positively to mental well-being.

    However, the study also revealed that the strictness and lack of emotional support in baby boomers' parenting styles may have contributed to higher levels of anxiety and self-doubt among their children. Gen Xers and Millennials often faced pressure to achieve high levels of success, leading to increased stress and mental health issues.

  2. Economic Impact and Financial Stress: Baby boomers experienced substantial economic growth during their prime working years. However, as they reached retirement age, they faced economic challenges that impacted their children's mental health. A research report by the Pew Charitable Trusts (2019) highlighted that many baby boomers faced financial insecurity in their retirement years, which, in turn, put pressure on their adult children.

    The financial stress inherited from their parents created significant anxiety and uncertainty among Gen Xers and Millennials, as they struggled with student loan debt, housing affordability issues, and a fiercely competitive job market. These financial burdens have been linked to higher levels of depression and anxiety among the younger generations.

  3. Technological Divide and Communication Gap: Baby boomers witnessed the rapid advancement of technology during their lifetime, from rotary phones to the internet and smartphones. However, this technological divide has caused a communication gap between baby boomers and their children. A study published in the Journal of Aging Studies (Hudson, R.B., 2017) found that differences in communication preferences and technological literacy often led to misunderstandings and feelings of disconnection between the generations.

    The lack of effective communication has had detrimental effects on children's mental health, with many reporting feelings of isolation and being misunderstood. Additionally, the prevalence of social media and its impact on mental health has been a major concern for younger generations, partly influenced by their baby boomer parents' engagement with these platforms.

The impact of baby boomers on their children's mental health is a complex and multi-faceted issue. While their authoritative parenting style may have contributed to emotional resilience, it also led to higher levels of stress and anxiety. Economic challenges faced by baby boomers impacted their children's financial well-being and mental health. Furthermore, the technological divide and communication gap strained relationships, leading to feelings of isolation and disconnection. Recognizing these influences and understanding their potential effects on mental health is crucial for promoting better intergenerational relationships and addressing mental health challenges among younger generations.


  1. Miller, J. (2016). Parenting style, resilience, and mental health of university students. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 25(10), 3131-3140.
  2. Pew Charitable Trusts. (2019). What's behind the growing retirement crisis in the US? Retrieved from
  3. Hudson, R. B. (2017). Communication, technology use, and loneliness: Adolescents and adults across 27 countries. Journal of Aging Studies, 42, 74-85.

About the Author...

Adam Greenberg, LCSW is a clinical supervisor and the owner/founder of Positive Mindset Therapy, LCSW, PLLC. Mr. Greenberg specializes in helping individuals understand the importance of communication and emotional intelligence is in any relationship (spousal and/or family) and how to implement them to improve the relationships in their lives. Mr. Greenberg is available to conduct an "Emotional Audit" as a neutral third-party to help solve complicated marital/spousal conflict(s) and/or family conflict(s). Please contact Mr. Greenberg for more information regarding this unique approach to resolving long-standing complex.

Click here to contact or learn more about Adam Greenberg

Last Update: 8/3/2023

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