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The Boring Generation
July 14, 2014 11:52 PM   Subscribe

The staid young: Oh! you pretty things. The Economist on how young people are not the alcohol ridden hooligans they were thought to be (and how changing parenting styles, amongst other factors, may have contributed).
posted by tavegyl (56 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's hip to be square.
posted by crapmatic at 12:54 AM on July 15


Buried in the article:
The amount of time parents devote to child care has increased significantly (see chart 4). Today, working mothers spend almost as much time on child care as stay-at-home mothers did a generation before. Data from the Multinational Time Use Study—a collection of surveys from 20 countries—shows that in 1974, mothers without jobs typically spent just 77 minutes with their young children each day, while employed mothers spent about 25 minutes. By 2000 that had risen to 161 minutes and 74 minutes respectively.
So while the article talks about parenting, its figures seem to suggest that it's actually mothering.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:02 AM on July 15


Also, it buried the lede: todays youth are neoliberal and skeptical about voting and other traditional ways of political organising, prefering to work individually or commercially to change things; gee I wonder why.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:03 AM on July 15


Also, it buried the lede: todays youth are neoliberal and skeptical about voting and other traditional ways of political organising, prefering to work individually or commercially to change things; gee I wonder why.

I tend to take this sort of assertion from The Economist with a grain of salt. I used to read it regularly when I was a student because the news coverage was so good, and there was stuff you wouldn't find mentioned in most news outlets, but at the end of the day it's still The Economist.

It must be jarring to be a journalist there and labor over some detailed piece for weeks only to make sure you include the proper laissez-faire obeisance to satisfy the editors.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 1:27 AM on July 15 [23 favorites]


Also, it buried the lede: todays youth are neoliberal and skeptical about voting and other traditional ways of political organising, prefering to work individually or commercially to change things; gee I wonder why.

In the U.S. at least, the "millennials don't vote!" meme seems to be a lazy bit of "common knowledge" held over from from the '96 and '00 elections (when most of the people the article profiles were still in grade school.) Turnout of people 18-24 in elections 2004, 2008, and 2012 is essentially where it was in the late 1970s (every age group, except for people >65, had a marked downturn in turnout after Watergate that's never quite reversed.)
posted by kagredon at 1:37 AM on July 15 [3 favorites]


So while the article talks about parenting, its figures seem to suggest that it's actually mothering.

The "Quality Time" chart further down the page suggests that fathers are spending a lot more time on childcare than 50 years ago as well (at least in the US), although the burden still falls predominantly on mothers.
posted by rory at 2:19 AM on July 15 [3 favorites]


Turnout of people 18-24 ... had a marked downturn in turnout after Watergate that's never quite reversed

The 26th Amendment was passed around that time, meaning that before 1971 that line on the graph is only charting those 21-24. It'd be nice if it showed 18-20 and 21-24 separately to see if the younger group is responsible for dragging down that bottom line.
posted by zsazsa at 2:20 AM on July 15 [2 favorites]


I would imagine today's "quality time" involves fewer beatings than it used to.
posted by el io at 2:29 AM on July 15 [5 favorites]


As a millenial, I've never understood why the general wisdom is that things are just now going to shit. The broad stroke of my life so far have been witnessing the internet change our societies so much for the better. When I was a kid, everyone we knew sat on their asses every single night for five hours at a time staring at the boob tube. Today, we read and write all day, we go to meetups based on obscure interests, and we crowdsource massive cultural achievements like Wikipedia. Kids today have so many ways to express themselves positively that were not possible when I was very young. Being born in 1985, I watched the change happen as I rode that cusp to adulthood.

Generally speaking, I can't take someone seriously if they say the phrase "these days" to describe something that sucks.

Frankly I'm actually a little concerned that the kids younger than me are not doing enough drugs... rebellion is important
posted by malapropist at 2:52 AM on July 15 [44 favorites]


My pet theory came late in the article, which is it's all about the internet and video games. When I was growing up, kids just hung around outside "looking for trouble". Now, there are no roving packs of kids because they are all indoors online. You want to punish a kid in the 70's, ground him/her inside. You want to punish a kid now, make them go outside without their cell phone.
posted by Didymium at 3:26 AM on July 15 [10 favorites]


In France and Spain bars and cafés have been closing in huge numbers, especially in provincial towns. In Faliraki, a Greek island resort where locals once so despaired of young drunk northern Europeans vomiting everywhere that they banned pub crawls, some are now desperate for the tourists to come back.

For a magazine called The Economist, they are rather eager to overlook the crisis of 2008 and its anemic 'recovery'. The bit about Faliraki would be a blip if it's true (tourism was up 18% in Greece last year) and as for the higher binge drinking rates in Greece and Cyprus (together with higher suicide rates), no wonder considering the prospects (or lack of), disposable income (or lack of) etc. But yeah, Spain has 25% unemployment but bars are probably closing because young'uns suddenly decided to become straight edge and not go out. Wirtschaftswissenschaftlerfremdscham.
posted by ersatz at 3:32 AM on July 15 [7 favorites]


You want to punish a kid in the 70's, ground him/her inside. You want to punish a kid now, make them go outside without their cell phone.

We said "punish", not "indirectly murder"!
posted by ominous_paws at 3:43 AM on July 15 [8 favorites]


Is it me, or was this... not the best-written article? The whole thing read to me kind of like a freshman research paper: just a linear string of HERE ARE SOME GRAPHS AND QUOTES I FOUND ON GOOGLE, with entirely mechanical transitions and no particular attempt at in-depth research or analysis.

Not that I ever had much respect for The Economist, but if this is the best they can do these days... eesh.
posted by Bardolph at 3:59 AM on July 15 [1 favorite]


Good for them, but if I were a kid these days, staring down the barrels of environmental catastrophe, ongoing economic malaise, entire industries (white collar too, this time!) and ways of life being automated out of existence, and unlimited state/corporate surveillance I'd do all the drinking.
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:24 AM on July 15


As a millenial, I've never understood why the general wisdom is that things are just now going to shit.

When you have lived in the past and compare it to the future, we have gone a long way back.

The rot is still being masked, of course, and the more positive spin people use, the worse it is. Never in my life have I heard so many parents essentially brag that their children are jobless, penniless, and even homeless, and the face-saving measure makes everyone think everything is all right when it isn't. People are retreating and that's not the strategy for economic progress. No one wants to admit they aren't doing great; so they put the sunniest spin on what little they have. By the time millenials realize that they have been sold a bill a goods, the slap to reality is not going to be pretty, but as long as the toys deflect attention from the big picture, complacency will ensure that too few people will do what it truly takes to make things good today for a better tomorrow...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 5:03 AM on July 15 [6 favorites]


> Never in my life have I heard so many parents essentially brag that their children are jobless, penniless, and even homeless

I can imagine contexts or mindsets in which people would do this but still: people do this?
posted by postcommunism at 5:12 AM on July 15 [4 favorites]


My kids are 18 and 20, and they and their friends seem to be way less prone to mischief and stupidity than I was at their age. Maybe I'm just a clueless parent, but I don't hear about parties and underage drinking all that much. I'm sure it goes on, but its either reduced fairly significantly since I was that age, or today's kids are way, way better at not getting caught.
posted by COD at 5:21 AM on July 15


I fundamentally disagree with you, Alexandra Kitty. Our economic system is revealing its failings, but that's basically just people not working well with each other, not evidence of a downward trend. Kids have so many more ways to connect to society at large in productive and safe ways than even I did, growing up in the 90s. The increasingly prevalent economic malaise is a different issue (IMO, automation), it's not because of some fundamental character trait of the generations that exist today, whether the boomers who run society or the millenials who are coming of age in it.

Also, I almost agreed with you, Bardolph, because I detected a lot of weasel words and elided descriptions of surveys and studies, but then I remembered this:

Bardolph: Not that I ever had much respect for The Economist, but if this is the best they can do these days... eesh.

malapropist: Generally speaking, I can't take someone seriously if they say the phrase "these days" to describe something that sucks.
posted by malapropist at 5:40 AM on July 15 [2 favorites]


Maybe I'm just a clueless parent, but I don't hear about parties and underage drinking all that much.

I teach in college. 18- and 20-year-old kids still party and drink a lot.
posted by escabeche at 5:40 AM on July 15 [2 favorites]


Never in my life have I heard so many parents essentially brag that their children are jobless, penniless, and even homeless

I've never heard this exactly, but I do hear a lot of discussions about adult children moving home, from not allowing it to welcoming it to a range of strategies for shortening those moves back into the basement. I guess it's possible that this was a major discussion point when I was 20, but almost no one I knew moved back for more than a few months directly after college or during a divorce, so it just wasn't much of a Thing then like it clearly is now.

I also hear a lot of denial about basic realities -- people saying "my parents didn't help me with college so I won't help my kids" without acknowledging that the local state college has lost almost all of its public funding (because of assholes like them voting for low taxes, ahem) and that there is no way for their kid to pay for college debt free with a part time job like they could in the good old days.

I don't work at the 7-11 so I don't know about underaged drinking going up or down, but I see groups of teenagers smoking weed in the bushes just like we did when I was that age, so they can't all be duds.

but at the end of the day it's still The Economist.

I keep going through a cycle for more than a decade of subscribing because their news coverage is so good and then letting my subscription lapse because indeed, at the end of the day it's still the Economist. You'd think even a little bit of ideological flexibility wouldn't hurt them too much, and would make the magazine so much more interesting to read.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:44 AM on July 15 [5 favorites]


I think we're seeing neoliberalism reduce political ideology to the level of marketing niches and subcultures, which is pretty cool.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 5:46 AM on July 15


Young people! They are rejecting car culture! No! They are rolling coal! They are buying cross-overs! No! They are taking the bus! They are drunks! No! They are staying home watching Netflix sober as judges!

Those young people. Such hot messes.
posted by clvrmnky at 6:04 AM on July 15 [16 favorites]


So while the article talks about parenting, its figures seem to suggest that it's actually mothering

From the table, the amount of time the father dedicates to parenting has also increased. Way to go, dads!
posted by francesca too at 6:16 AM on July 15


German kids seem to want to grow up to make money, one father suggests, looking slightly unnerved.

It's like they want security or something.
posted by postcommunism at 6:16 AM on July 15 [3 favorites]


or today's kids are way, way better at not getting caught.

Panopticon natives.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:26 AM on July 15 [8 favorites]


people saying "my parents didn't help me with college so I won't help my kids"

As a person without kids, I honestly can't comprehend how to save enough to send your kids to school - a simple calculator suggests saving over $500 a month, per child, starting at birth, for a state-school level tuition.
posted by fermezporte at 6:34 AM on July 15


Generally speaking, I can't take someone seriously if they say the phrase "these days" to describe something that sucks.

That's a silly thing to say because some things really do suck more--especially for people who are in more economically precarious positions post financial crisis--"these days."

One hand gives, the other takes. Not only have we not reached the techno-promised land yet, there are political, cultural and social developments still emerging right now that threaten to keep us from ever getting there, and I say that as someone who has cheered about and sought to develop the culturally enriching potential of the internet practically since its beginning.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:40 AM on July 15 [1 favorite]


They are drunks! No! They are staying home watching Netflix sober as judges!

Drunk at home watching Netflix is the standard I think.
posted by pan at 6:42 AM on July 15 [2 favorites]


As a person without kids, I honestly can't comprehend how to save enough to send your kids to school - a simple calculator suggests saving over $500 a month, per child, starting at birth, for a state-school level tuition.

Full-time day care in Boston costs over $1000/month easy, so my plan is to just start saving that money for college when she starts preschool.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 6:53 AM on July 15 [1 favorite]


Three words: No disposable income.
posted by GrammarMoses at 6:54 AM on July 15 [6 favorites]


I want to be straight
I want to be straight
I'm sick and tired of taking drugs and staying up late
I want to confirm
I want to conform
I want to be safe and I want to be snug and I want to be warm
posted by charlie don't surf at 7:07 AM on July 15


[witnesses the crushing of social-democratic ideology, the economic stagnation of all but the obscenely rich, and the destruction of a climate suitable for human life on the present scale] I'm optimistic, thanks to my phone
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 7:14 AM on July 15 [10 favorites]


One hand gives, the other takes. Not only have we not reached the techno-promised land yet, there are political, cultural and social developments still emerging right now that threaten to keep us from ever getting there, and I say that as someone who has cheered about and sought to develop the culturally enriching potential of the internet practically since its beginning.

Slso if you look at the upsides v the downsides.

Upsides:
Cheap air travel
Essentially free music, film, TV
Vastly better communications inc instant messaging and video chat
More social + sexual freedom, better rights for minorities

Downsides:
Skyrocketing house prices where the jobs are (here in Ireland, from 3.5x average income to 9x in a few years although has dropped back a bit now; crazy markets in London/SF/NY etc)
Increased university tuition fees (in Ireland, fees brought back via the back door after being abolished in the 90's, loan fuelled increases in US + UK too)
More jobs needing unpaid internships, limiting access to those from poor backgrounds
Workfare - do unpaid work for companies, inc big corporations who could afford to pay you, or lose your welfare payments - JobBridge in Ireland, similar in the UK

Also the downsides are mostly stacked against young people. Disclaimer - lists may be pessimistic, let me know if I've left anything big out.
posted by kersplunk at 7:16 AM on July 15 [2 favorites]


If I remember rightly people used to say this kind of thing about the youth of today back in the 1980s. I wonder whether they got wilder again for a couple of decades; or has it been a long slow slide toward ever straiter lacing?
posted by Segundus at 7:22 AM on July 15 [2 favorites]


Millenials: they may be young, but I'm reasonably sure they're neither loud nor snotty.
posted by Existential Dread at 7:26 AM on July 15


This whole millenial thing is starting to get really confusing. I'm nearly 30. I'm the same generation as a teenager? Really? Some media type really needs to get on with naming the cohort born after about 1995, stat.
posted by breakin' the law at 7:30 AM on July 15 [3 favorites]


This whole millenial thing is starting to get really confusing. I'm nearly 30. I'm the same generation as a teenager?

According to some of the definitions I've seen tossed out, I'm a millenial, and I was born in 1978. Others claim that puts me in Generation X, with whom I don't feel a particular kinship.

But speaking as a parent to a teenager, I can confirm that kids are basically the same as when I was a kid: sure, more connected, but they get into trouble, they disappoint, they make you proud, they make mistakes and they surprise you with their resilience.

Same as it ever was.
posted by rocketman at 7:36 AM on July 15 [2 favorites]


I'm nearly 30. I'm the same generation as a teenager?

Well, just mathing it out, if a generation runs 20 years, and you were born at the start of it, then... The tail end is nearly 10 now.

people saying "my parents didn't help me with college so I won't help my kids"

It's less won't and more can't. I'd love to pay for my son's college. But, I'd also like to not eat cat food through what little retirement I am likely to enjoy.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:38 AM on July 15


Two things occur to me reading OP:

Firstly, that many articles of this type present a trend as the amalgamation of individual choices made in a vacuum, and those choices as somehow inexplicable except as a reflection (usually shameful or unflattering) of the character or integrity of those individuals. So props to OP for proposing an actual cause: increased social pressure to parent like crazy, and a corresponding increase in time and effort spent parenting a smaller number of children.

The second is that I wonder how much of this could also be explained by increased institutional precarity throughout young adulthood (either in fact or perception) re: getting into a good college and thereby securing a future (at least among middle class college-bound folks, the scent of whom is all over the OP). I don't have a ton of personal experience there and no frame of reference outside of the US, but the impression I get of institutionalized child-rearing in the United States is of an extend series of opportunities for catastrophic failure by slim margins: miss the honor roll too many times, fall down in your extracurriculars, SAT, APs, etc., and *boop*, you get knocked off the track. And of course there's the grand finale of college applications, the significance of which is freighted by what is for a young person a mountainous amount money against which to indenture oneself.

At least in the US, there is very little popular presentation of alternatives to that path, and a good deal of shame for failing at it. Yeah, the comment section of any local news site might chorus "stop being so highfalutin and learn a trade!" Which yeah, sure. But isn't a STEM program approached as a trade school 95% of the time?

All of which I suppose is maybe packed into one line in the OP: "What this adds up to is a generation that is more closely watched and less free to screw up. "

But I don't know how well that actually ties into, say, the UK. And it was not my own pre-college experience.
posted by postcommunism at 7:46 AM on July 15 [1 favorite]


In Praise Of The Millennials, Ctd - "Not to minimize how well the Millennials are doing at building a better society. But, as with all social constructions, the foundations were laid by those who went before. It's all too easy to forget that."

There Are More 23-Year-Olds Than Any Other Age (and They're Going to Save the World)
By now we're all familiar with the plight of the millennial generation, those born after 1980. They owe the bulk of America's $1 trillion in student debt. They have little or no savings. A third still live at home with their parents. Those with jobs are often underemployed and underpaid. Not only have they delayed the typical trappings of adulthood—marriage, home, kids—they may be stuck in perpetual adolescence.

Millennials do have one big thing going for them: numbers. At 4.3 million, 23-year-olds are now the single largest age group in the U.S. According to U.S. Census data, there are more people in their twenties (44.5 million) than in their thirties (41 million), forties (41.7 million), or fifties (43.8 million). This is good news for twenty-somethings, who will benefit from their overall size through the economic growth they'll create. It's even better news for the economy, which will need every penny of taxes they pay and consumer demand they generate to offset the impact of 70 million baby boomers entering retirement. "The tragedy is that these young people will have to carry the enormous burden of the retiring Baby Boom for the bulk of their working lives," says Milton Ezrati, senior economic strategist at the investment management firm Lord Abbett. Without them, though, the future would be dire. "They will mitigate what would otherwise be a much greater strain on the economy."
We're On The Verge Of The Greatest Transfer Of Wealth In The History Of The World
We are currently witnessing the 'Great Transfer' of wealth from the Greatest Generation to the baby boomers, according to Bank of America's Sarbjit Nahal and Beijia Ma. The Greatest Generation refers to the generation in the U.S. that experienced the Great Depression and then fought in World War II, and was coined by Tom Brokaw.

But Nahal and Ma point out that "a second and even larger wealth transfer from the Boomers to their heirs is starting now and will continue over the next 30 to 40 years."

The great transfer will see a handover of about $12 trillion from those born in 1920s and 30s to the boomers. But the boomers are expected to transfer some $30 trillion in assets to their heirs over the next 30-40 years in just the U.S., they write.
also btw...
  • Census Bureau: Largest 5-year Population Cohort is now the "20 to 24" Age Group - "Baby Boomers lose title as largest 5-year cohort... by 2028 of the top 10 cohorts will be under 40 (the Boomers will be fading away), and by 2030 the top 11 cohorts will be the youngest 11 cohorts (the reason I included 11 cohorts)."
  • Millennials are about to have a big impact on the housing market. But what will it look like? - "For all of these reasons, many Millennials may chose — or be forced to — rent rather than own. Or, if they do buy, many may have the resources and the credit for smaller or different kinds of homes than what previous generations could afford. If their preferences for where they want to live ultimately differ from their parents, too — choosing cities over the suburbs, apartments over detached homes — Millennials could change the housing market even more."
  • Millennials Seen Surging as Homeowners in U.S. - "Dustin Taylor, who's burdened with $50,000 of student debt after getting his master's degree in government at Johns Hopkins University, is waiting tables at a comedy club to pay the rent."
  • Starter Homes in Demand With Builder LGI Shares Soaring - "Cheryl Pate-Yow rushed to LGI Homes Inc.'s sales office south of Houston the day after receiving a mailer that said she could own a new home for $689 a month, only $24 more than rent on her one-bedroom apartment."
  • Tiny Houses Are Big With U.S. Owners Seeking Economic Freedom - "Doug Immel recently completed his custom-built dream home, sparing no expense on details like cherry-wood floors, cathedral ceilings and stained-glass windows -- in just 164 square feet of living space including a loft. The 57-year-old schoolteacher's tiny house near Providence, Rhode Island, cost $28,000 -- a seventh of the median price of single-family residences in his state... His home, which has a façade that’s 20 percent glass, doesn't feel claustrophobic, he said, and heating it through the harsh winter was next to free. With total expenses about $900 a year, including about $112 for propane and the rest for electricity, his $40,000-plus salary easily sustains him -- and his savings account. The best thing about his little house, he said, is how it gave him 'complete peace of mind.' "
posted by kliuless at 7:49 AM on July 15 [6 favorites]


Also , the secondhand impression I get in terms of institutional precarity is very, very different from the secondhand impression I get of institutional opposition that comes out of something like the draft or the civil rights movement. I don't mean to conflate those.

> In Praise Of The Millennials, Ctd

Sullivan's right to be heartened by the improvements in civil rights and social acceptance of gay people, but he's doing that thing where you take an individual or group of individuals and credit/blame them for the social trends to which they are subject. That's especially silly when the folks in question are like 23 and no matter what expected social agency may be (rich white folks amirite) have had neither the time, opportunity, or wherewithal to really inflict themselves back on the world a little bit. It's great that they're gay friendly; maybe soon people will also be more women-in-general-as-people friendly. But that's not a conclusion they independently reasoned themselves into.

I don't want to downplay too much the idea of individual decisions in aggregate because yeah, that does make a trend (if not perhaps explain it). But it seems so silly in this case.

I did like that reader response, though, however rustled that reader may be.
posted by postcommunism at 8:21 AM on July 15 [1 favorite]


The amount of time parents devote to child care has increased significantly (see chart 4). Today, working mothers spend almost as much time on child care as stay-at-home mothers did a generation before. Data from the Multinational Time Use Study—a collection of surveys from 20 countries—shows that in 1974, mothers without jobs typically spent just 77 minutes with their young children each day, while employed mothers spent about 25 minutes. By 2000 that had risen to 161 minutes and 74 minutes respectively.

it's amazing how both parents can work full-time jobs and spend *more* time parenting. Anything is possible through the power of bullshit academic studies and statistics.
posted by ennui.bz at 8:23 AM on July 15


As a millenial, I've never understood why the general wisdom is that things are just now going to shit.

Because you used to be able to support a family of 4 on a highschool education and have a pension to retire on at the end of your working life.

That was, in retrospect, something of an aberration from historical trends, probably only the case in the US for so long because we had an open frontier that we could exploit, followed pretty quickly by a World War that fucked up Europe and gave us a market for our industrial production, followed by another World War... But people got used to that. It was nice.

But things aren't "just now" going to shit. They went to shit in the mid-70s, by most metrics, and just never recovered. That's when the wheels basically fell off the industrial economy. There was a lot of papering-over that was done to disguise the rot that's finally falling off in the last few years though.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:24 AM on July 15 [4 favorites]




malapropist: "As a millenial, I've never understood why the general wisdom is that things are just now going to shit. The broad stroke of my life so far have been witnessing the internet change our societies so much for the better. When I was a kid, everyone we knew sat on their asses every single night for five hours at a time staring at the boob tube. Today, we read and write all day, we go to meetups based on obscure interests, and we crowdsource massive cultural achievements like Wikipedia. Kids today have so many ways to express themselves positively that were not possible when I was very young. Being born in 1985, I watched the change happen as I rode that cusp to adulthood.

Generally speaking, I can't take someone seriously if they say the phrase "these days" to describe something that sucks.

Frankly I'm actually a little concerned that the kids younger than me are not doing enough drugs... rebellion is important
"

Hey! Come over here and sit on my lawn!
posted by chavenet at 8:33 AM on July 15 [4 favorites]


Now, there are no roving packs of kids because they are all indoors online

There are now online roving packs of kids. Not sure if that's better or worse.

When I was a kid, everyone we knew sat on their asses every single night for five hours at a time staring at the boob tube. Today, we read and write all day, we go to meetups based on obscure interests, and we crowdsource massive cultural achievements like Wikipedia

This seems overstated in a lot of ways.
posted by Hoopo at 8:34 AM on July 15 [1 favorite]


As a person without kids, I honestly can't comprehend how to save enough to send your kids to school - a simple calculator suggests saving over $500 a month, per child, starting at birth, for a state-school level tuition.

If you're investing wisely, with 8% annual interest, that gets you to about $250k after 18 years. Mean public university tuition is about $9k. Call rent for the year $6k. Food, incidentals, textbooks.. Another $6k? Walking around money, $6k? Round it up to $30k a year. What on earth is your kid doing with the other hundred grand?
posted by one_bean at 8:54 AM on July 15


Just realized I could have saved myself a lot of typing above and said that I'm generally suspicious of anything that presents generational trends as active rather than reactive.
posted by postcommunism at 8:55 AM on July 15 [1 favorite]


Trend articles... yeah.

I'm a Gen Xer raising teenagers. Plenty of drinking and drugs in their world, don't worry.

I'll also say I was at the Firefly festival in Delaware a few weeks ago, with a majority GenY/millennial crowd. The kids were polite, reasonably well behaved, and delightfully goofy. I can't be grumpy about a generation that totes around giant full-color pictures of pop culture heroes (Morgan Freeman! Tim Tebow!) and uses them as ad hoc meeting points with their friends.

You kids are welcome on my lawn.
posted by sockshaveholes at 8:58 AM on July 15 [2 favorites]


Mean public university tuition is about $9k.

Good thing I went to Mean State!
GO MEANERS!
posted by overeducated_alligator at 9:15 AM on July 15 [1 favorite]


chavenet: Hey! Come over here and sit on my lawn!

You don't know how long I've been waiting to hear this.
posted by malapropist at 9:19 AM on July 15


The second is that I wonder how much of this could also be explained by increased institutional precarity throughout young adulthood (either in fact or perception) re: getting into a good college and thereby securing a future (at least among middle class college-bound folks, the scent of whom is all over the OP). I don't have a ton of personal experience there and no frame of reference outside of the US, but the impression I get of institutionalized child-rearing in the United States is of an extend series of opportunities for catastrophic failure by slim margins: miss the honor roll too many times, fall down in your extracurriculars, SAT, APs, etc., and *boop*, you get knocked off the track. And of course there's the grand finale of college applications, the significance of which is freighted by what is for a young person a mountainous amount money against which to indenture oneself.


Speaking as one such Millennial I can say this was absolutely the thought process at play for me, and probably the majority of my friends at the time. My parents emphasized two things in raising me:
1) College was NOT OPTIONAL, and
2) I was on my own, as far as paying went, because they had zero dollars.

I was pretty much the best kid evar. Nobody ever had to tell me to do my homework, nobody had to breathe down my neck about the SATs or the ACTs, nobody had to nag me about college apps and scholarships. When I got into college, I drank mostly pretty reasonably and experimented with drugs in an impossibly nerdly, focused way. In no way was I about to endanger that full-ride scholarship.

Hahaha but then I graduated and once I was off the achievement treadmill, I pretty much lived on whiskey and weed for 10 years, and then got a job where I never have to put on pants.

Just give the millennials some time. They'll catch up to the rest of the world, debauchery-wise, just as soon as they get a little breathing room.
posted by like_a_friend at 10:02 AM on July 15 [6 favorites]


like_a_friend: "I pretty much lived on whiskey and weed for 10 years, and then got a job where I never have to put on pants. "

Am I wrong to think this sounds like the origin story of a Metafilter mod?!?
posted by chavenet at 4:53 PM on July 15


Full-time day care in Boston costs over $1000/month easy

Fark, I wish. Here in Australia we're paying $380/week even with government rebates.
posted by Wantok at 8:40 PM on July 15


If you're investing wisely, with 8% annual interest

I think I should hire you as my accountant.

I think looking at an outcome: children involved in less criminal activities, and then pointing at a cause: increased parenting time may be somewhat oversimplifying things. And by somewhat I actually mean massively. Outcomes like this really do require some actual analysis rather than just finding a graph that goes up at the same time as the thing you are measuring.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 3:25 AM on July 16


Fark, I wish. Here in Australia we're paying $380/week even with government rebates.

As someone married to a former daycare director, I'll say that is probably closer to the actual market rate necessary to support the business model of hiring college educated teachers for daycare. It's pretty much a requirement in many US states, yet they want to pay them barely over minimum wage, and kind if have to if they are going to charge only $200 a week.
posted by COD at 5:13 AM on July 16


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