It used to be that kids graduated from high school, went to a four year college, perhaps carried on to earn a masters, graduated, landed a job, and moved out to struggle on their own, building lives for themselves. As a parent, it’s part of my job to ensure that my kids have the skills to make it in the world and that they are prepared for the joys and hardships that come along with their newfound freedom. So why are so many millennials still living in their parents’ basements well into their late 20s? Has the playing field changed so much for millennials in society that it’s nearly impossible for them to begin their lives?
Millennials are very passionate about lot of things, but are they confused about where to direct that passion. An article called “Millennials Are Totally Mixed Up About What They Believe In” discusses how this generation contradicts themselves. They essentially talk out of both sides of their mouths regarding pertinent issues. According to young twin brothers Jack and David Cahn who authored “When Millennials Rule: The Reshaping of America,” many millennials are more centrist when it comes to the political spectrum and their beliefs.
For example, they are in favor of the Second Amendment, but would support universal background checks. Many of them are in love with socialism (explaining why Bernie Sanders was so popular) but a large portion don’t even know what real socialism is—and they are opposed to the government taking over the economy.
Perhaps one of the biggest fears that this bewildered group has is student loan debt, and rightfully so. With the cost of college and many parents having no nest egg prepared for their children’s education, many are forced to embrace the reality of taking out loans to pay for schooling. With the decline of high paying jobs and the increase in illegal aliens jockeying for the lower paying jobs, the future looks grim to these kids facing a lifetime of paying back upwards of $120,000. Bernie Sanders made this fact a focal point of his campaign, speaking directly to young adults about making college tuition free.
In reality, a myriad of issues explain why this generation may be the first that won’t do better than their parents did. Yes, many of these “Generation iY” kids have had it much easier than my generation and our parents before us. They have been raised in the age of vast technology, communicating artificially in relationships with texting and social media and a real lack of focus on human interaction. Any answer they seek is at their fingertips, with Google one click away. (My generation actually had to use an encyclopedia or the card catalog at the library if we needed an answer.)
Many don’t have coping skills for handling the real world. They have been sheltered from anything that may seem “dangerous,” wearing helmets when riding bikes. They have everything handed to them without learning the responsibility and consequences that come with handling money, and because of the predatory nature of our society, may never have been given the confidence to go somewhere alone. Depression, obesity, and suicide are at an all time high for them.
The “everybody wins” society that parents and administrators have created for young children takes away the natural need for competition. In the real world, not everyone wins. It’s feast or famine and only the best and brightest will succeed in the ever shrinking workforce, so prepare your children. Their idea of being a “special snowflake” will end with a shock to the system and possible failure if parents don’t guide their narcissism in healthy ways.
Kids need to experience failures and disappointments so they know how to handle them in the real world. No, it doesn’t “take a village” to raise a child. Parents need to be the constant and strongest staples in their children’s lives. Unfortunately, many aren’t. As Dr. Tim Elmore writes in his book Generation iY (that every parent should own), be a “velvet-covered brick.” Balance toughness with tenderness when disciplining your child. As I have said many times over, making a commitment to raising a confident, responsible adult begins at home from the day they are born.