Most Millennial parents have dealt with this situation before: you’re out in public with your kids, and an older Boomer comes up and talks to them — without interacting with you first. You could be at a park, grocery shopping, or at a restaurant, and suddenly someone you don’t know and have never seen before is interacting with your child.
Sometimes the interactions are quick and fine, but sometimes they get, well, weird. And the outcome is that your kid is left confused, uncomfortable, or worst case scenario, frightened.
Over on TikTok, mom Kay Kline — @kay.n.zee — has a pretty simple solution to the problem, though it might be insulting to Boomers. Just do not talk to kids you don’t know. At all.
“This is my formal request as a Millennial mom for Boomers to stop talking to children that you don’t know other than simple things like, ‘Hi,’ or ‘I like your shoes,’” she begins her video.
And then she launches into the story about why she’s come to that conclusion.
“My daughter and I were just at Target and this Boomer came up to us — she looked at my daughter and says, ‘You are so pretty!’ And my daughter just looks at her and doesn’t say anything because she doesn’t talk to people she doesn’t know,” Kline starts.
Kline thanks the women, but the Boomer is not stopping there.
She says, “Oh look at those eyes! So pretty!”
The mom says thank you again, but the woman still won’t end the interaction.
Then the older woman says to the little girl, “You don’t think you’re pretty?”
At this point, Kay is not pleased.
“I said, ‘She knows she’s beautiful, she just doesn’t talk to people she doesn’t know.’ Why would you even plant that idea into my daughter’s head? My daughter is two and a half. She doesn’t know what ‘not pretty’ is. She knows that everyone and everything is pretty, beautify, interesting.”
The problem to Kay is that Boomers are trying to continue some of the harmful parenting that they inflicted on Millennials and also offering it up to their kids’ kids.
“Millennial and Gen Z parents are working so hard to break the toxic cycles of self-loathing and self-hatred that Boomers instilled in them,” she concludes. “But it’s like every chance they get to puke it out on an innocent child, they take it. So annoying.”
In the comments, a lot of Millennial parents agreed.
“I’ve had people act like my child’s silence is a challenge to get my child to speak,” one offered.
“My boomer mum always defaults to discussing physical attributes as conversation over any other subject. They’re obsessed with external appearances,” one person wrote.
“A lady at the grocery store was irritated that my daughter didn’t smile at her. As if she’s entitled to that,” another said.
And then one person had the best idea about how to deal with these comments.
“As a millennial mom, what I like to do is turn it around: ‘YOU’RE so pretty TOO!’ Makes them immediately uncomfortable and they leave.”
But some commenters — including younger moms — thought that the idea of never talking to kids was more than a bit harsh and even anti-social.
“I’m a millennial mom and I talk to everyone,” one person wrote. “I don’t think a little peaceful conversation hurts. If anything it makes someone’s day.”
“What do your child’s grandparents think about this?” another asked.
“You’re rude,” another said much more bluntly.
Kay responded to the comments arguing that older people need community and interaction.
“I have no problem with simple interaction. And it happens almost every single time we go out. The problem was my daughter wasn’t responding to her, and rather than just saying, ‘You’re so pretty,’ and walking on, she just kept pushing.”
Really, her point isn’t just about Boomers, Millennials, and Gen Z. It’s about understanding how to talk to others in a public setting and how to treat others in general.
“I think women should understand that compliments are not always wanted and if they’re not wanted, that should be expected,” she said.