PJ Media

Youth, self-esteem and the recession

Over at span style=”font-style:italic;”The Atlantic/span,a href=”http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/print/201003/jobless-america-future” there is an interesting article/a entitled, “How a New Jobless Era Will Transform America” (via a href=”http://pjmedia.com/instapundit/94328/”Instapundit/a). In a section on the recession and American youth, the author makes some really good points about young people, self-esteem and the recession:br /br /blockquoteMany of today’s young adults seem temperamentally unprepared for the circumstances in which they now find themselves. Jean Twenge, an associate professor of psychology at San Diego State University, has carefully compared the attitudes of today’s young adults to those of previous generations when they were the same age. Using national survey data, she’s found that to an unprecedented degree, people who graduated from high school in the 2000s dislike the idea of work for work’s sake, and expect jobs and career to be tailored to their interests and lifestyle. Yet they also have much higher material expectations than previous generations, and believe financial success is extremely important. “There’s this idea that, ‘Yeah, I don’t want to work, but I’m still going to get all the stuff I want,’” Twenge told me. “It’s a generation in which every kid has been told, ‘You can be anything you want. You’re special.’”br /br /In her 2006 book, a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0743276981?ie=UTF8tag=wwwviolentkicomlinkCode=as2camp=1789creative=9325creativeASIN=0743276981″Generation Me,/aimg src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=wwwviolentkicoml=as2o=1a=0743276981″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” / Twenge notes that self-esteem in children began rising sharply around 1980, and hasn’t stopped since. By 1999, according to one survey, 91 percent of teens described themselves as responsible, 74 percent as physically attractive, and 79 percent as very intelligent. (More than 40 percent of teens also expected that they would be earning $75,000 a year or more by age 30; the median salary made by a 30-year-old was $27,000 that year.) Twenge attributes the shift to broad changes in parenting styles and teaching methods, in response to the growing belief that children should always feel good about themselves, no matter what. As the years have passed, efforts to boost self-esteem—and to decouple it from performance—have become widespread.br //blockquotebr /br /The article points out that fewer young people know how to be entrepreneurs these days. Hence, they may not do as well as previous generations who knew more about how to make their way in the world. Sure, as the article points out, some are moving back home with Mom and Dad, but what happens when they are gone? And should parents really be using their income to pay for their kids when they need to pay for their own retirement?br /br /This is what happens when you have useless social programs that promote PC feel good ideas as opposed to useful practical ones. People suffer from some of these idiotic ideas but at least they feel good about themselves while they do.