Boomers and Gen X Give Teens Life Lessons They Don’t Want To Hear

A popular online forum asking “what are teens today not ready to hear?” attracted over 25,000 comments. The older generations, the Boomers, Gen X, and maybe even the Millennials, are clearly passionate about sharing their opinions and advice with teenagers now. Here are some life lessons the older generations have left for teens to read and roll their eyes at.

1. Treat Your Teachers Better

Many adults realize now the positive impact that great teachers had on them and hope that the younger generations show appreciation to teachers for all of their efforts. 

“treating your teachers like trash isn’t cool, most of the time they really want to help you”

“Anyone who chooses to spend their life dealing with teenagers, (especially the middle school drama) for the purpose of guiding them and being a good role model, is an absolute hero. Most do not hate you, they want to to succeed and be happy.”

2. Your Parents Were Different Before They Had You

Parents didn’t grow up yelling or running around trying to get work done. It’s likely hard for teens to believe that their parents were once more relaxed and carefree.

Your parents were hip and cool before they had to pay your bills and feed you and buy you the cool clothes so you can impress the friends you’ll forget about in 10 years.”

“In 15 years you’re going to think the kids have gone too far and they’re going to think you’re old-fashioned.”

Their advice also came with a warning:

“One day you too will be old and uncool. And it’ll happen faster than you think.”

3. Be Careful About Pictures You Send Online

With phones constantly in hand, many people send pictures without thinking twice about it and some are private pictures that shouldn’t be shared. Kids need to remember, once an image is shared, it can take flight and go a long way. There is no real protection against it. 

“That’s the thing many people fail to understand. I work in IT and have to deal with data security on a regular basis. You can set up all the sharing-protections you want so a restricted digital document can’t be copied, mailed, screen shotted or opened by people who shouldn’t. You still can’t stop authorized people from just photographing their screen or just writing down the sensitive information and sharing it that way. People always find a way if they really want to.”

4. Buy Headphones

Gone are the days when people could sit on public transit (or anywhere really) in silence and not have videos or music blasting on their phones. 

“To the ones who ride the public bus in my city, specifically: nobody else wants to hear whatever TikTok you’re watching. Buy some headphones.”

“I’m 30 and joined the navy fairly recently. Every single 18-20 year old with a TikTok account seems to not know headphones exist.”

5. Life is Nothing Like School

Your behavior and work ethic won’t impact your day to day life in school, but it certainly will in life outside of school.

“School has a system in place to keep you from falling behind, life doesn’t.”

“Real life only cares about what you can give it. It’s not so much that it doesn’t want you to succeed, versus it just being harsh. It’s not all doom and gloom though.”

“If you’re valuable to other people, they’ll give you opportunities. If not, it’s a lot of work to change that. That’s the battle of a lot of people’s 20’s.”

6. Success Requires Sacrifice

Many readers agree, being successful requires hard work and sacrifice. But don’t forget you need to hustle too. Some people will have things handed to them, but they will likely be the lucky minority.

“In order to meet your goals, you sometimes need to do something you dislike doing and maybe don’t want to do. You have to decide whether what you want is worth it.”

“If you avoid everything unpleasant, you’re setting yourself back.”

“I came to say, you are going to have to work really (extremely) hard for the things you want!”

7. Take Care of Your Health Now

Many comments advised teens to start being health conscious as early as possible. 

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

“Cut back on the sugary stuff now. Take care of your teeth now. Start working out now. You don’t have to be a bodybuilder and look like Arnold Schwarzenegger, just be active.”

“Combine exercise with a hobby and only do the 2 together. Your mind will develop a habit of it that way since there’s a tangible reward. I bought a recumbent exercise bike and play video games while on it. Helps the motivation that way.”

8. Careers that Don’t Sound Glamorous Are Still Good Jobs

Don’t dismiss jobs just because they don’t require multiple degrees. Many jobs in the trades are good jobs that people can make good money doing. 

“Not everybody can be an internet sensation, somebody has to drive the dump truck.”

“Yeah don’t believe the guidance counsellor saying you have to go to college and then saying something like “You don’t want to be a garbage man/plumber do you?”

“Also plumbers make more money than school counsellors.”

9. There is More to Life Than Social Media

Many young people have a life online and a life outside that. But a significant amount of social interactions are online, and platforms like TikTok and Instagram start becoming the center of their lives. Older generations can see this and understand that its excessive.

“Social media is not reality and your entire life should not revolve around it.”

“You spend too much time on social media, and it will negatively impact you in life.”

“10 years from now, no one will care about how many viewers you had on tiktok.”

“Also, mistakes or anything put on social media can certainly follow you along for the rest of your life.”

“Life lived mostly offline is really worthwhile.”

11. Don’t Dwell on Your Mistakes

This comment “As you get older you just keep realizing how dumb you were last year” garnered 51.7k upvotes. 

“Everyday I realize how stupid I was the day before.”

Some readers summed their thoughts about making mistake up nicely.

“Everything in your life right now is a trial run. High school is meant to teach you how to learn, how to communicate, and how to deal with other people. That’s it. High school doesn’t last forever and it doesn’t really mean anything. You most likely won’t marry whoever you’re dating right now. And that’s ok. Most romantic relationships you have will probably fail because you are young and you are both learning how to communicate, and figuring out what you what/need in a relationship. Enjoy this time of awkward growth – it’s the last time you’ll be able to be “a kid” and not have to worry about adult issues (unless you’re unlucky and were dealt a stiff hand in life). Be humble, patient, and kind. I’m rootin’ for ya.”

“That heartache you’re going through? It consumes everything now but it will be nothing but a footnote in the future. You’ll rarely think about it later – & when you do, it won’t hurt you.”

12. Avoid Fights at All Costs

“In the adult world, getting into fights doesn’t make you look cool, it just makes you look stupid.”

“Nothing makes me cringe harder than someone using the excuse “He disrespected me”.

“I’ll add to this. Even if you’re a good kid if you hang out with people that are getting into trouble, you will get trouble as a side effect. An example would be if you’re with friends and they like to fight at some point the people your friends are fighting with will come after you. Cops just see everyone was fighting and now you have a record.”

13. Time Flies

“Yesterday, I was you. Tomorrow, you’ll be me. One day you’ll wake up and wonder where that “plenty of time to do X” went.”

“Pink floyd said it perfect. “Tired of lying in the sunshine, staying home to watch the rain You are young and life is long, and there is time to kill today And then one day you find ten years have got behind you No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.”

14. Adults are Always Learning

“We adults are mostly just winging it, hopefully learning from the TONS of mistakes we make, but still winging it.”

15. You Didn’t Invent that Style

“A girl walked past me today in coloured, baggy, mid/high rise jeans and I was like … 1993? Is that you?”

“My high school age daughter and her entire School look just like my high school did in the mid-90s. They are even listening to the same music.”

16. You Don’t Know Everything 

No, you don’t know everything and that’s ok. You may think you have collected a lot of wisdom already, but really you’re not even close. 

“It’s kinda liberating to realize this. So many more possibilities open up. The smartest people and highest achievers I know, regardless of the field they are in have curiosity as a trait and that’s why they do well.”

“Learn everything you can from your parents, grandparent and elders while you can. They won’t be here forever.”

17. Being Popular Won’t Help Later

It’s great to feel liked and popular in high school, but it doesn’t guarantee that you will be popular in the workplace or anywhere else when you are older. 

“High school popularity could not possibly matter less.”

18. Appreciate Your Looks Now

“Someday you’re going to look back and wish you were as fat as you were when you first started thinking you were fat.”

19. Sometimes You Have to Do Things You Dislike

“Jobs aren’t meant to always be fun/your dream, sometimes you have to work a job you hate to stay afloat.”

Does this have to dictate the rest of your life though? Absolutely not. With the right decisions, the pain will be temporary. 

“On the other hand, imo it’s not good to be somewhere you hate too much for too long. Leads to burnout, and that’s a rough one to deal with. Work somewhere that maybe you don’t love or even like, but maybe doesn’t make you want to put a drill bit through your eye socket. At least for the long term. I’m sure we’ve all had awful survival jobs”

20. Teens from all Generations are Similar

It may be hard to believe but many teens go through the similar emotions and issues, from the Boomer teen years to the Millennials. 

“You’re exactly the same as every other generation since teenagers were invented.”

“This is true. The only difference between me and my grandpa at my age is I have a phone”

This article was produced by This Mom is On Fire.

These comments were curated from the Reddit What are Teens Not Ready to Hear.

Feature Image Credit: © PIKSEL from Getty Images via