The GEM Debate:
Have Baby Boomers
Messed Up Their Kids’ Lives?
Here are some words you may have heard about the generation of Americans born roughly between 1980 and 2000—better known as Millennials: narcissistic, spoiled, lazy, pampered, impatient, distracted.
This is the generation of people whose mere presence on a soccer team guaranteed awards and commendations. Winning and actual participation not required.
This is the generation who suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder at rates three times as high as their grandparents.
This is the generation who wants to go from the mail room to the board room in two weeks and can’t figure out why their bosses don’t agree.
Gross generalizations or generally true?
This article from Salon was excerpted from Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t. In it, the author discusses how Baby Boomers’ good intentions with their kids have resulted in some not-so-good outcomes. He argues that the “destructive abundance” that we are experiencing in this country is the fault of Millennials’ parents and grandparents.
Most parents want their children to have more, be more, and do more than they did. The author is says that Boomers’ parents—the Greatest Generation—raised Boomers to believe that they didn’t need to go without. After all, the Greatest Generation went without a lot during the Depression. Boomers, in turn, raised their children the same way. So, where did they go wrong? They gave too much.
I don’t have much patience for the “kids these days” narrative where people from one generation deride those from the following generation or assign blame for the way things are now. Each generation has its strengths and weaknesses. Each generation was raised in the best way possible based on the information that people had at the time.
Boomers haven’t messed up Millennials. They should actually be proud that they’ve raised a generation of people who are taking the lead in leaving sexism, racism, classism, and homophobia behind; who are more adept at global thinking; who are looking for ways to solve problems instead of fight about them. Congress could learn something from Millennials.
What do you think about this? Have Baby Boomers messed up their kids? Share your thoughts.
Alexis Trass Walker lives in Gary, Indiana, with her husband and four children. She is managing editor of Good Enough Mother. Read more about Alexis on her blog www.lilliebelle.org or follow her on Twitter @LillieBelle5. You can email her at alexis [at] goodenoughmother [dot] com.