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Baby Boomers Confess: 16 Things That Made Them Think Their Elders Were Wrong About the World

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Baby Boomers are the generation born between 1946 and 1964. They are the parents of Generation X and the grandparents of Generation Z.

As children, Baby Boomers often felt that their elders were out of touch with the times. They saw their parents and grandparents fighting in wars, struggling to make ends meet, and conforming to outdated social norms.

A user asked on the forum, “Baby Boomers, what issues existed when you were young that made you think your elders were idiots?.”

Here are some responses he got.!

14-YEAR-OLD RESPONSIBILITY IN TOUGH TIMES

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“I asked my grandma, and she said the protection of children at the time. My great-grandma’s parents died, leaving their nine kids with just a 14-year-old (my great-grandma) to look after them.

She had no support from the government until she accidentally killed her 5-year-old sister while cutting vegetables and turning around too quickly with a knife.

The court ruled her for manslaughter, and since she was the only caretaker, she was allowed to stay home, and some of the kids were taken. They didn’t intervene until a child died.

My grandma often rants about this when I complain about my siblings. At least I haven’t been stabbed yet.”

VIETNAM ERA

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“As many people have said, Vietnam was insane, but our parents didn’t seem to get what bothered us. They thought of war as WWII, something you did b/c it was right.

We saw politicians lying to us. It wasn’t like Iraq, where at least people who went had volunteered. And on TV every night, they’d do body counts. How many of us died? How many of them died? This was when I was in high school, and all 3 of my older brothers were in the military, 2 of them in the war zone.”

USE OF SEAT BELTS

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“In particular, the fight against them. As a 10-year-old, they seemed perfectly logical, yet lots of the “grown-ups” were opposed to their introduction.”

USE OF CREDIT CARDS

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“My parent’s understanding was that any debt was a bad thing. It was so ingrained that I still hold this value. My brainwashing means that, though my bank offers free banking if I use my card, I still draw cash out from the ATM. To buy my first house, I saved and paid in full and in cash. Same with all purchases.”

USE OF COMPUTERS

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“When the first desktop computers appeared at work, all the older employees lost their minds. They couldn’t believe this could do all this stuff and were extremely intimidated by it.”

BEATLES HAIR CUT

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“My father said that his father and their generation panicked about the Beatles’ haircuts.”

SYSTEMIC RACISM

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Not just Vietnam but neocolonialist adventures all over the world. Poverty here. Women were legal second-class citizens (discrimination was legal). Canned music. Canned food. Jello molds with mayonnaise in them.”

HOMOSEXUALITY, AIDS, AND FAMILY SECRECY

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“My thing was homosexuality and the aids crisis and why it had to be such a secret. My uncle was gay (I found out much later), and he had to ask my parent’s permission to let us call his ‘roommate’ “Uncle D,” but that’s as close as they let us come to learning the big G word. I seriously thought he was my bio uncle.”

NOT HAVING OR HAVING ENOUGH MONEY

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“Their parents bought their houses, clothes, multiple sports cars, five ski-doos, boats, ATVs, camping trailers, apple orchard, cottage, plane tickets for vacations every year, five-story estate, three deep freezers of food

. They consumed it all, and there was nothing left. They all earn over $150k/year, some over $300k, and are all broke.”

MARIJUANA WAS CLASSIFIED AS A DRUG

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“Marijuana was classified as a drug that had no redeeming value. Normal sentences for possession were one or more years in prison plus fines. It has only come to light since the turn of the century that, on the federal level, drug laws, especially marijuana and heroin, were made so strict due to Nixon wanting a way to control those that he felt were his enemies, especially the young, Vietnam Protestors and the African-American community.”

NUCLEAR WEAPONS

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“They were a relatively new thing then and seemed like a stupid idea to me. Still do.”

HOUSING AND FINANCIAL REALITIES

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“My mother was very critical and judgmental. When we were trying to buy our first house, she said, “I paid $50 down and $50 a month. What is your problem?” Of course, it was much more than that then, but it was nothing compared to now for us. I have no idea how millennials manage today.”

CHURCH AND SILENT INJUSTICES

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“My father-in-law talks about the church, Catholic South in the Netherlands. The priest would scold you if you didn’t have enough children. The priest had known about abused wives and children but did nothing about it.”

STOCK MARKET CRASH

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“The previous generation crashed the stock market in 1929 so severely that there were ten years of people starving in the Great Depression, so I’d say that’s probably #1. Americans felt poor and isolationist at the beginning of WWII, not punching drunk like now—also prohibition.”

POLLUTION

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“My parents were uninvolved and unconcerned about pollution. Companies were dumping their industrial waste in rivers and the air with impunity. This was when the Cuyahoga River caught fire, and air pollution (smog) in Southern California hurt my lungs. Acid rain was a significant problem on the East Coast. It wasn’t until I was in college that I participated in the first Earth Day protest. Finally, in 1970, the EPA was established as a cabinet post.”

SMOKING

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“Our parents smoked wherever they wanted: in restaurants, planes, trains, buses, and especially in the office. There was nowhere to escape older people smoking; watching episodes of “Mad Men”, it was exactly like that. Older people were still smoking in my offices through the late 70s.”

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Anika is a CPA and founder of What Anika Says. She shares simple and actionable frugal living, money management and money-saving tips to live a debt-free financially independent life. She has been featured on popular websites like Bankrate, Forbes, Mint ,and Authority Magazine. Byline: MSN