News Flash! Boomers Did A Horrible Job Raising Kids
No, the author of the study you are citing is not blaming boomer parents, or their child-rearing techniques, for his finding that, "Today’s teenagers are more materialistic and less interested in working hard than the baby boomers were in their teens." She's saying that these teens are "a product of the times they grew up in, " meaning they have been influenced by a culture that's been shaped by more than just their parents, or their parents' generation.
The study makes a case for the high schoolers’ attitudes being a product of the times they grew up in. (This is where the blame gets passed to the older generations.) Growing up, the teens' values are influenced by the dominant social ideologies, family structures, economic situations, media, political and business messages, the researchers argue.
Also, this "study" is apparently based on 12th graders responses to a questionnaire, one ostensibly designed to measure attitudes. But do these attitudes reflect actual behaviors? Are more teens in this generation actually unwilling to work hard as adults, or unwilling to work as hard as previous generations, or is this, for whatever reason, just their transient attitude while in high school? And, what exactly, does "work hard" mean to these teens? Put in long hours? Do physically demanding work? Work for little pay?
And, if these teens aren't already working hard in the 12th grade--working to get good grades, working to get into a good college, working to play well at a sport or on a team, or to do well at another activity, or just working to get that high school diploma---if they aren't already"working" to achieve something that requires determination and effort, and persistence, by the time they're in the 12th grade, I'd hardly lay the blame for that exclusively on their parents.
When were teens not enmeshed in "a culture that breeds narcissism and entitlement"--that's almost the very definition of teen culture, the psychological world teens live in. Adolescents do tend to be narcissistic and to have a sense of entitlement, it's almost part and parcel of that stage of development, and it's not exclusively due to the culture of the times, it's part of that phase of life.
What we increasingly have in our young is lazy entitled twits.
Where does that article, or the author of that study, even imply that?
We are also talking about a generation that grew up in a culture which was increasingly shaped and dominated by electronic media--mainly computers and digital devices--in addition to TV-- media which transmit hefty materialistic messages, both overt and covert, and media which delivers all sorts of instant gratifications to relatively passive users/consumers with very little "hard work" on their part. Should boomer parents not have bought their children those PC's or video games or TVs for their bedrooms? Is that where they did "a horrible job of raising kids"?
There is nothing inherently wrong with being materialistic, particularly in the context of other values--that's part of how we define a "good life" in a capitalistic culture, by our material goods and possessions. And teens who want the goodies, without having to work for them, will get a rude awakening once they are adults--there is no free lunch. Whether motivated by ambition, or pride, or a need for personal fulfillment, most people do develop the capacity to work for what they want, and to adjust their expectations to what they can afford, and that will be true of this generation as well. And even those raised on a heavy dose of individualism, will find that there is often a need to be a team player in order to succeed.
It is also important to note that others in the field do not agree with Twenge or her conclusions.
“There’s a self-fulfilling prophecy,” said Kali H. Trzesniewski, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Western Ontario. Ms. Trzesniewski, along with colleagues at the University of California, Davis, and Michigan State University, will publish research in the journal Psychological Science next month showing there have been very few changes in the thoughts, feelings and behaviors of youth over the last 30 years. In other words, the minute-by-minute Twitter broadcasts of today are the navel-gazing est seminars of 1978.
Ms. Trzesniewski said her study is a response to widely publicized research by Jean Twenge, an associate professor of psychology at San Diego State University, who along with colleagues has found that narcissism is much more prevalent among people born in the 1980s than in earlier generations. Ms. Twenge’s book title summarizes the research: “Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled — and More Miserable Than Ever Before” (2006, Free Press)...
However, some scholars argue that a spike in selfishness among young people is, like the story of Narcissus, a myth.
“It’s like a cottage industry of putting them down and complaining about them and whining about why they don’t grow up,” said Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, a developmental psychologist, referring to young Americans. Mr. Arnett, the author of “Emerging Adulthood: The Winding Road From the Late Teens through the Twenties” (2004, Oxford University Press), has written a critique of Ms. Twenge’s book, which is to be published in the American Journal of Psychology.
Scholars including Mr. Arnett suggest several reasons why the young may be perceived as having increased narcissistic traits. These include the personal biases of older adults, the lack of nuance in the Narcissistic Personality Inventory, changing social norms, the news media’s emphasis on celebrity, and the rise of social networking sites that encourage egocentricity.
Richard P. Eibach, an assistant professor of psychology at Yale, has found that exaggerated beliefs in social decline are widespread — largely because people tend to mistake changes in themselves for changes in the external world. “Our automatic assumption is something real has changed,” Mr. Eibach said. “It takes extra thought to realize that something about your own perspective or the information you’re receiving may have changed.”
Ms. Trzesniewski gave as an example of this bias a scene from the film “Knocked Up,” in which new parents drive their baby home from the hospital at a snail’s pace. The road, of course, is no more or less dangerous than before the couple became mother and father. But once they make that life transition, they perceive the journey as perilous.
Indeed, the transition to parenthood, increased responsibility and physical aging are examples of changes in individuals that tend to be the real sources of people’s perceptions of the moral decline of others, write Mr. Eibach and Lisa K. Libby of Ohio State University in a psychology book chapter exploring the “ideology of the Good Old Days,” to be published by Oxford University Press later this year. (They also report that perceptions of social decline tend to be associated with conservative attitudes.)
Ms. Twenge and Ms. Trzesniewski used the inventory in their studies, though they chose different data sets and had opposite conclusions. Each said their data sets were better than the other’s for a host of reasons — all good, but far too long to list here. Ms. Twenge, who has read Ms. Trzesniewski’s critique, said she stands by her own nationwide analysis and has a comprehensive response, along with another paper, forthcoming in the Journal of Personality. It reads in part, “their critique ultimately strengthens our case that narcissism has risen over the generations among college students.”
Mr. Arnett dismisses tests like the inventory. “They have very limited validity,” he said. “They don’t really get at the complexity of peoples’ personality.” Some of the test choices (“I see myself as a good leader”) “sound like pretty normal personality features,” he said...
Test or no test, Mr. Arnett worries that “youth bashing” has become so common that accomplishments tend to be forgotten, like the fact that young people today have a closer relationship with their parents than existed between children and their parents in the 1960s (“They really understand things from their parents’ perspective,” Mr. Arnett said), or that they popularized the alternative spring break in which a student opts to spend a vacation helping people in a third world country instead of chugging 40s in Cancún.
“It’s the development of a new life stage between adolescence and adulthood,” Mr. Arnett said. “It’s a temporary condition of being self-focused, not a permanent generational characteristic.”
You have a distressing penchant for distorting data so that it supports your preconceived ideas. You always seem to think that the younger generation is going to hell in a hand-basket, and you'll jump on anything you think supports that, no matter how insubstantial or flimsy, and no matter how much you have to over-generalize, and no matter how much contradictory data you have to ignore. You sound like every other old geezer, from time immemorial. whose decried what's happening to "today's youth".