COMMENTARY | Baby boomer parents with pensions are the reason for our angry, unemployed youth. That is the premise of a parenting article in the Washington Post. But while the baby boomers have had their luxury of lifetime careers, Social Security and pensions, are they to blame for their children’s over-dependence and unrest? I say yes, but not because baby boomers have hogged the jobs or optimism; they have over- babied their babies.
The article admits that adult children nowadays can be too dependent on their parents, but is attributing this phenomenon to the prosperity that was promised to, and enjoyed by, the baby boomer generation correct? Readers are saying that the children of this prosperous generation are suffering a “comparatively Third World existence.”
While it is true that my generation is feeling the economical crunch and must sacrifice some luxuries our parents enjoyed — like healthcare — the problem cannot be found in the assumption that our parents have hogged all of our resources. We haven’t been held as accountable as our parents were.
It is quite fair to say there are some social and moral issues at work here.
My generation has heard the hallmark stories of how our grandparents started working when they were 8 or 9 years old. Well, these were the parents our parents were held accountable to. Laziness was not tolerated as it is now, and there was a bigger emphasis on family and supporting your family during the baby boomer generation.
According to divorcereform.org, the divorce rate has gone up from 4.3 million people being divorced in 1970 to 18.3 million in 1996. The baby boomers felt the pressure from their parents to earn their own keep and support their families. While the baby boomer generation spent their teenage years working, their children spent theirs playing video games.
Another cause of today’s social unrest and perceived economical shun is that today’s youth feel they “need” so much in their lives, when in fact it is “wants” breaking their piggy banks. It costs nearly $40 for a family of four to have burgers and fries at a fast food restaurant. A pack of hamburger, buns, and potatoes for fries cost $15 if you make the same meal at home. My parents were baby boomers and made a decent income, but we rarely ate out. My mother always cooked at home.
My parents drove the same station wagon for years until it finally died before they bought a new car. The youth of today think they have to have a $40,000 vehicle every five years and a $250,000 home. We don’t have to have nearly as many luxuries as we think. Whatever happened to the notion our parents had of building up what you have? The children of baby boomers want what their parents spent their entire working lives acquiring right out the door when they turn 18.
Laziness is rampant among today’s youth and it is a fact that nowadays there are just as many grandparents raising children as parents. The problem with today’s youth and social unrest is not that the baby boomers have hogged all of the treasure to be had in life. The problem is they want too much and don’t want to work for it.