12 Millennial And Gen X Parents Reveal What They Think Is Drastically Different For Gen Alpha

We recently asked Millennial parents about the biggest differences between how they grew up and how their Gen Alpha kids are growing up. Here's what they had to say:

1."Our kiddos are 10 and 2. The biggest thing for me is how we actually parent them. Gentle parenting (not to be confused with permissive parenting) has been huge for us. My kids don’t get told to stop crying or that they’re being too sensitive. We don’t use arbitrary punishments; we use natural/logical consequences and connections. We use co-regulation strategies instead of isolation for meltdowns. They know we will never get mad at them for telling the truth. We parent them in ways we wish we had been parented, and it’s been great to break some of those cycles."

—40, Canada

A woman with glasses warmly embraces a young girl in a blue floral dress outdoors
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2."They were impacted by Covid, so their anxiety, social skills, and education have been affected. They are homebodies who prefer to stay inside. Their education is so heavily based on the catch-up curriculum. They don’t watch DVDs or know how to copy and paste."

—Amy, England, UK

3."They don’t want to get their driver’s license! And they don’t want to get a summer job!"

—36, USA

A stressed teenage girl sits in the driver's seat with her hands on her head, while an older woman, possibly her mother or driving instructor, looks at her with concern from the passenger seat
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4."My 9-year-old is the youngest of Gen Z and my 7-year-old is the oldest of Gen Alpha and there will be differences in them based on generational experiences. My 9-year-old started kindergarten in 2020. Her very first year of school was full of tons of rules and regulations based on keeping an outbreak from happening. They had plexiglass between each student. They had to have masks on at all times unless eating. No water fountains could be used, etc. My fearless girl turned into a very anxious girl scared of germs to this day. However, things were mostly back to normal two years later when her little sister started school. She won't really remember COVID, but her big sister always will and has been affected by it."


5."They are climate-conscious and climate champions."

—Amy, England, UK

A young girl holds a cardboard Earth while leading a climate change protest with a diverse crowd behind her, one holding a megaphone
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6."Bullying education and awareness is different. My 7-year-old has had regular life skill lessons, including lessons about bullying at her public school and they are paying off! She was describing an ugly swing-sharing issue she had with another kid. I asked her if it was bullying and if she told a teacher. She said no because it doesn’t happen all the time. She said it was more of a friendship problem and the kid regularly gets help with their sharing issues already. Just. Wow."

—38, Oregon

7."My kids can watch whatever they want, wherever they want at the press of a button. I, on the other hand — who grew up in the '90s — would have to watch what was on TV at the time, and I'd have to wait a week for the next episode of my favorite program."


Child with long hair wearing headphones, lying on a bed while looking at a tablet
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8."The kids are so hooked on technology. I get that technology has its perks for sure, but I will say growing up in a time when technology was just starting to come about as I got older was so perfect. It’s so weird to me now to see little kids under ten with their own phones and iPads. I love it when I see kids in my neighborhood playing outside. I had that in my childhood, and I feel bad for kids who spend all their time with devices and not playing outside. I’ve also seen kids who get addicted and dependent on these screens. It’s so bad."


9."It has NOT been my experience that Gen Alpha is tech-savvy. Growing up in the smartphone and touchscreen era has made these kids less tech-savvy. They may know their way around apps or where to find a specific piece of content on the internet, but setting up a home network? They are hopelessly lost."

—38, USA

A woman under a desk, troubleshooting and organizing cables, holding a network switch. A small plant and an apple are on the desk above
Westend61 / Getty Images/Westend61

10."They don’t know how to use a home phone, download songs into an mp3 player, clean a CD, or save physical money in a money box."

—Amy, England, UK

11."All of the skincare and Sephora kid stuff. I see my nieces at ages eight and nine, and they wear pricey makeup and use so much skincare. When I started skincare at about 14, it was just soap and water. Little kids don't need these fancy Drunk Elephant products!"

—46, Utah

A parent and child enjoy a spa day at home, both wearing bathrobes and towels on their heads with cucumber slices on their eyes
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12."I'm Gen X. My 10-year-old Gen Alpha watches a lot of YouTube shorts and is only interested in things he's seen there. Also, he doesn't want to go anywhere or try new things unless a YouTube influencer makes it seem cool. Sussy baka (suspicious fool) is his favorite phrase."

—46, Oregon

Let us know any other differences you've noticed between Millennials and Gen Alpha in the comments!

Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.