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Generation X: Most Devoted Parents in History Create Rude Kids

Susan Gregory Thomas, a contributing writer for, had an article published online yesterday that puts a hefty portion of responsibility for today’s “rude kids” square on the shoulders of Generation X.

In summary, experts agree that kids today (Generation Z, born 1997 to present) are ruder than ever. In her article, Thomas challenges that their bad behavior is a consequence of Generation X over-parenting. She writes that Generation X, “left to Scooby,” home alone and neglected, wanted life to be different for their own children. Thus, they became overprotective and “enmeshed” with their children emotionally. They (we) became unable to separate their own feelings from their children’s.

This sounds an awful lot like what I copped to in a post yesterday about being bullied on the school bus and never wanting my kids to go through that.

Here is an excerpt from Thomas’s article:

Many researchers consider members of Generation X to have been among the least nurtured children in American history with half coming from split families, 40 percent raised as latchkey kids — literally, home alone.

“They are trying to heal the wounds from their own childhoods through their children, says…”

She went on to deliver this smack-down on Generation Y from a managerial science professor in New York:

…We may be starting to see some of the effects in Generation Y, those born between 1980 and 1996, whose self-centered — if not downright arrogant — workplace behavior has been well-documented in the popular press since the mid-2000s.

“They’ve grown up questioning their parents, and now they’re questioning their employers. They don’t know how to shut up, which is great, but that’s aggravating to the 50-year-old manager who says, ‘Do it and do it now,'”

Gen X Blog Jennifer Chronicles

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  1. jen

    @KRISTIN/DOTT – I feel your pain, dear. Sometimes, I wonder if the problem doesn’t center on the fact we have so many more choices for our children than parents in previous generations. Life becomes this virtual buffet. If you don’t like what you get, scrap that plate, get a new one, fill it high and then poo-poo it. It’s exhausting. Generation Z: Zippity-doo-it-my-way all. the. time. Hang in there. You’re not alone!

  2. Kristin...though some still call me Dott...

    i’m a gen Y’er and yes, i think that my generation is self-centered and arrogant and that my younger brother (he was born in ’97. there’s 13 years between us) and his classmates are in general spoiled rotten babies who expect their parents to swoop in and “fix” anything unpleasant in their lives, even if it is a deserved consequence- and the parents usually do! i have three children of my own, ages 4, 3, and 9 months, and i am definitely seeing the struggle of parents, myself included, to be compassionate and understanding of their children’s stages and needs, but at the same time not be a slave to the ever changing whims of whatever they are feeling at that moment. it’s hard trying to be patient and understanding, but not taking it to the point where your kids think the son rises and sets with them.

  3. T.R.

    I think her point might have some validity. Very interesting article. Over nurtured, under natured perhaps?

  4. Naomi Munn

    I think, and don’t quote me, that it was Plato who was the original kvetcher (whiner) about “kids today.” *smile* Every generation thinks that the young people don’t respect their parents or the establishment. I think it’s a right of passage for my GenX husband to finally stand out on our porch and yell, “You kids get off our lawn!” *lol* Yes, we’re protective. Yes, we want to give our children the attention we didn’t receive. But I don’t think my children, or those around me, are especially more rude than the previous generation. Respect has to be taught AND earned.

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