Millennials feel 'abandoned' by parents not available to help raise grandkids: 'Too busy'

Some millennial parents say they feel "abandoned" by their baby boomer parents, who've chosen to travel in their retirement, rather than stay home and help raise their grandchildren, Business Insider found.

Growing up, Kristjana Hillberg remembers being regularly babysat by her grandmother when her parents traveled. But she often has to schedule visits with her parents or in-laws "months" ahead of time, she said.

FILE - Retired couple on vacation. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)

FILE - Retired couple on vacation. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)

Los Angeles-based psychologist and millennial mother Leslie Dobson explained many of her millennial clients develop resentment toward their parents because they feel like their parents have "chosen their life over meeting their grandchildren and building these relationships."

"There's almost like this three-fourth life crisis that they're in," she said of boomers. "And they're really looking at this as, 'Oh, my God, my life's almost over. When is my last day, and how am I going to live my best life?'"


Dobson said she and her sisters were initially put off by their 71-year-old father's decision to move to a luxury resort in Mexico. While they've come around to understand the decision, Dobson said they had hoped their father would be more available to help raise their kids. 

Ted Dobson didn't seem to agree with his daughter's assessment of his life choices. The father told Business Insider that he still makes an effort to see his grandkids, but sometimes they are too busy to fit him into their schedules. He also suggested those in the younger generation live a more comfortable life than he did at the same age.

"They've all got nannies. We didn't have a damn nanny. They drive expensive SUVs. I drove a fricking minivan," he said. "I haven't spent a nickel less on my kids. I just spent some on me," he explained.

FILE - An elderly woman pushes a baby carriage. (Photo by Christoph Soeder/picture alliance via Getty Images)

FILE - An elderly woman pushes a baby carriage. (Photo by Christoph Soeder/picture alliance via Getty Images)

A recent study by the University of Cambridge and others found that millennials were more likely to have debt and less likely to own a home by age 35. However, middle-class millennials in the study had accumulated "substantially more wealth than their boomer counterparts" had by their mid-30s.


Yet a Fortune poll from earlier this year found that 35% of millennials in the United States still rely on their parents to help pay their bills.

Different views on how to spend time and money wasn't the only intergenerational divide described in the report. Dobson said millennials often butt heads with their boomer parents over their different approaches to parenting.

"If you ask a millennial, the boomers are overly harsh and not good at parenting the younger children. And millennials are very aware of what could potentially be traumatizing, what is not gentle parenting," the psychologist said.

Millennials often turn to the internet instead of their parents for child-rearing advice, Daniel Cox, director of the nonprofit Survey Center on American Life, said.

Even if they don't come to the same conclusions on parenting, millennials still want a trusted person to help them raise their family, he argued.

"What millennials want is regular, stable, consistent support, in terms of emotional support. Childcare is super expensive in a way that it has never been, and it feels more necessary than ever because of workplace demands. So I think that is a lot of the frustration," he told Business Insider.

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