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Has generation y become the "generation ME"?
By YumYumDoughnutPremium member
On Sun Jan 31, 2010 06:33 PM

www.csmonitor.com . . .

www.msnbc.msn.com . . .

NEW YORK - Today’s college students are more narcissistic and self-centered than their predecessors, according to a comprehensive new study by five psychologists who worry that the trend could be harmful to personal relationships and American society.

“We need to stop endlessly repeating ‘You’re special’ and having children repeat that back,” said the study’s lead author, Professor Jean Twenge of San Diego State University. “Kids are self-centered enough already.”

Twenge and her colleagues, in findings to be presented at a workshop Tuesday in San Diego on the generation gap, examined the responses of 16,475 college students nationwide who completed an evaluation called the Narcissistic Personality Inventory between 1982 and 2006.
he standardized inventory, known as the NPI, asks for responses to such statements as “If I ruled the world, it would be a better place,” “I think I am a special person” and “I can live my life any way I want to.”

The researchers describe their study as the largest ever of its type and say students’ NPI scores have risen steadily since the current test was introduced in 1982. By 2006, they said, two-thirds of the students had above-average scores, 30 percent more than in 1982.

We're all above average!
Narcissism can have benefits, said study co-author W. Keith Campbell of the University of Georgia, suggesting it could be useful in meeting new people “or auditioning on ‘American Idol.”’

“Unfortunately, narcissism can also have very negative consequences for society, including the breakdown of close relationships with others,” he said.

The study asserts that narcissists “are more likely to have romantic relationships that are short-lived, at risk for infidelity, lack emotional warmth, and to exhibit game-playing, dishonesty, and over-controlling and violent behaviors.”

Twenge, the author of “Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled — and More Miserable Than Ever Before,” said narcissists tend to lack empathy, react aggressively to criticism and favor self-promotion over helping others.

The researchers traced the phenomenon back to what they called the “self-esteem movement” that emerged in the 1980s, asserting that the effort to build self-confidence had gone too far.

39 Replies to Has generation y become the "generation ME"?

re: Has generation y become the "generation ME"?
By maureensiobhan
On Mon Feb 01, 2010 09:05 AM
I think that "generation y" has become "generation me" in the sense that few people today seem to understand that high self-esteem comes from feeling good about yourself that you've performed a task well or that you've made a positive difference in other people's lives. Too many people of today convey the message of "I want this expensive car or this expensive car, etc.". They use plastic to try to pay for the material things. Then they wonder why they're in huge credit card debt. The reward you get of people's appreciation for your having made a positive difference is going to be more lasting than the number of material possessions you have.
re: Has generation y become the "generation ME"? (karma: 2)
By kandykanePremium member
On Mon Feb 01, 2010 11:00 PM
“We need to stop endlessly repeating ‘You’re special’ and having children repeat that back,”


Lol, this brings back a memory. I used to volunteer at the local schools. I had a kid ask me once to break the rules for him. I declined. He said "but, I'm special". My response - "Honey, we're ALL special!"

kk~
re: Has generation y become the "generation ME"?
By Kekoamember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Mon Feb 01, 2010 11:13 PM
I agree with MaureenS...the problem is that instead of defining our self-worth by how we help others or by putting in a hard day of work, we define it by the house, the cars, the clothes, the stuff.
re: Has generation y become the "generation ME"? (karma: 2)
By webstArmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Tue Feb 02, 2010 12:38 AM
This is the generation of the "participation trophy" where everyone succeeds just because they showed up and tried. I don't even think it has anything to do with being materialistic at all. It's a generation of entitlement, where everyone thinks they deserve something, anything.

I also feel like this is a generation of quick fixes. I think people are way to quick to medicate anything and everything. I don't feel as though the majority of kids are taught proper coping mechanisms and are completely overwhelmed with stress and anxiety, which they medicate almost immediately.

There's a dance convention in Vancouver that is invite-only. It was specifically created to weed out studios that do well in competition, to give the other kids a chance at winning. But how good can you possibly feel about winning, when you know that you weren't even competing against the best?

Sorry, my thoughts are all over the place. I don't have a very popular opinion on this, but it's something I feel pretty strongly about.
re: Has generation y become the "generation ME"?
By Sumayah
On Tue Feb 02, 2010 01:09 AM
webstAr wrote:

I also feel like this is a generation of quick fixes. I think people are way to quick to medicate anything and everything. I don't feel as though the majority of kids are taught proper coping mechanisms and are completely overwhelmed with stress and anxiety, which they medicate almost immediately.


It's interesting, my friend has a daughter in grade school and they're just now realizing she might be ADD or ADHD. No one picked up on it because she's been taught to sit still. From the time she was little in church, she had to sit quietly through the service, so once she got to school, she had developed the ability to be still when she was supposed to. However because she didn't exhibit the same fidgety behavioral as most other ADD/ADHD kids they never thought that might be the cause for her learning issues. So now they're exploring the possibility that that might be what her issues stem from.

It makes me sad, because her parents have raised her very lovingly and to have respect for teachers and other members of authority and to be a "good girl" and because they actually bothered to put effort into raising their child, she hasn't gotten the help she needs. Instead kids who can't sit still because they've never been made to sit still and don't have ADD or ADHD get medicated because obviously they're too strung out and need help.

I don't know what that proves or has to do with anything, but I do think it's a result of this all inclusive everybody wins here have a cookie for placing 18th out of 18 - it doesn't matter so long as you tried your best! Stop taking away consequences. Stop letting three year olds be the boss in the house. Discipline your children when they do something wrong - don't tell them it's alright. Be loving, but good grief take responsibility and teach your kids how to take responsibility for their actions. It's okay for someone to be better than you. It's okay for someone to not be as good as you and be a good sport in dealing with them. No one knows how to have pride about something and not be braggart.

Grrrr. This post is all over the place but I just get my feathers all ruffled when I think about how people are screwing their kids up because they're so concerned about everyone being equal - to the point that there is no excelling or friendly competition. Stop coddling your kids and grow-up a little. For as much as I joke about being 10, I do know how to be a productive member of society and not just drain our resources. But then again, I'm not a gen y'er.
re: Has generation y become the "generation ME"? (karma: 1)
By CaffeinePremium member
On Tue Feb 02, 2010 01:48 AM
What do you mean "has become"? Like WebstAr and Sumayah posted (much more coherently) above, this is the generation that was raised not to know what losing/failing/missing out on special treat as a consequence of actions feels like, because it "hurts feelings" and "is bad for self esteem".

This generation was raised to be entitled: expecting success, popularity, material possessions, a high-paying career straight out of school, and a get-out-of-jail-free card to be handed to them. They're taught a lack of respect for their elders, for authority, because we (general) are too busy trying to be their BFFs to discipline them. We're rewarding bad behavior as well as the good, and as a consequence, creating little me-me-me monsters. It's our (GenX/Baby Boomer) own fault.

I overheard some kids on the train this morning lamenting that it "wasn't fair" that they were banned for life from certain venues because of their actions. Consequences: learn deal with them.



~ A GenX-er.
re: Has generation y become the "generation ME"? (karma: 2)
By Incarnadinemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Tue Feb 02, 2010 01:23 PM
I can’t debate this topic because it’s something that has driven me completely crazy for the last 10+ years (as long as I’ve worked with kids). I just want to say I completely agree with WebStar.

“We can’t have winners because the other kid’s will feel saaaaaad. Everyone gets to be a winner just by participating!”
“You are going to hurt the kid’s feeeelings.”
“You shouldn’t correct/critique/discipline a child because it hurts their self esteeeeem.”
“Bobby’s answer for 2+4 was 8. He didn’t get the math problem right, but we have him ½ the points because he triiiiied!”
“You shouldn’t use words like ‘right or wrong’ because that’s being judgmentaaaaal.”


*Shudder*
Every time I hear someone say any of the following; my eyeballs twitch and a part of me dies inside.

This belief system is the same one that also promoted: being your child’s friend, not using discipline (because it stifles a child’s identity and independence), letting children make all their own choices (because directing children or providing guidance stifles creativity), etc.

It was a big movement in the 1980s and 1990s
I think pretty much ALL reputable psychology/child development experts have completely refuted these child rearing tactics as being wholly irresponsible and ridiculous; but a lot of people haven’t gotten this memo and still use these sorts of beliefs.

Basically, it makes children douche bags and horrible people as adults.
(Please see Generation ME for ample examples.)

Most likely, that’s all I’m really going to say on the matter because this topic makes me insane.
re: Has generation y become the "generation ME"?
By d4jmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Tue Feb 02, 2010 02:01 PM
Edited by d4j (104724) on 2010-02-02 14:04:27 clarification...
Edited by d4j (104724) on 2010-02-02 14:07:11 more clarification...
Edited by d4j (104724) on 2010-02-02 14:12:38 even more clarification...
I do get really tired with all the whining from this generation and do see them as generally narcissistic. Generally speaking, I see an inordinate amount of young people get disproportionately upset when confronted with a problem. I don't see much in the way of coping skills. It's almost as if they are shocked and dismayed to find that not everything goes their way, not everything turns out the way they want. I also observe a lot of unrealistic expectations. The college years are when you're SUPPOSED TO be basically broke, not have a lot of job prospects and maybe have a number of relationship break-ups. Yet I hear kids saying all the time that their lives are really terrible because of these things. But it's a stage of life, not a disaster. Finally, I see so, so much cynicism, like what's with being 21 and so bitter and pissed off? It's like every time an inconvenient thing happens there is this response of an eye-rolling, "It figures" and a slump of the shoulders. Finally, I see a lot of social confusion with this age group when it comes to relationships. When you basically only know how to relate to yourself and your own needs you have difficulty relating to others. Even on ddn I see tons of people who don't even know whether they are even IN a relationship or not and what that means.

BUT, BUT BUT, lest you think my post and this thread is turning into a 'let's complain about young people' rant, I would like to end with the positives that I see in this generation: You guys are wicked funny, sharp as tacks, loyal to your friends, well-informed on issues and passionate about them too. I think you are very creative as well. And if I didn't like young people I wouldn't spend so much time around here! :)
re: Has generation y become the "generation ME"?
By Sumayah
On Tue Feb 02, 2010 08:22 PM
^ I'd just like to add "GET OFF MY LAWN!!!!"

*shakes cane*

Stupid kids and their stupid lack of respect... I wonder is I could embed shock collars in all the neighborhood children and then put an invisible fence around my yard. Let the games begin!
re: Has generation y become the "generation ME"? (karma: 3)
By TheMidlakeMusemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Feb 03, 2010 08:38 AM
I think Kekoa's onto something about the "stuff". I think it ties back into the whole "I'm special" attitude and the conclusions we draw about it.

"I'm special" so I deserve more than this entry-level position after college and should immediately enter into my "dream job" without putting in the sweat equity to work my way up.

"I'm special" so I should be able to spend my money without any consequences, and never say "no, I can't afford that".

"I'm special" so I should be able to enjoy the same standard of living as my parents, though they worked thirty years before they acheived it.

"I'm special" so I should work hard, but only at impressing all these people that I don't know or like with money I don't have.

Though it's the complete end of the spectrum and I don't EXACTLY believe it, I'm reminded of a quote from Fight Club:

You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You're the same decaying organic matter as everything else.

I'd add that you have to play by the same rules as everyone else, too. Everybody's been conditioned to think they're the exception, not the rule. Just watch American Idol to see this principle at play. :?

Dani
re: Has generation y become the "generation ME"?
By YumYumDoughnutPremium member
On Wed Feb 03, 2010 09:02 AM
" It is the inside that counts"

Do you think this phrase is adding to this "generation me syndrom"? I've heard this used for people who fail tests. " Its ok that you didn't do so well on the test. It is only the inside that counts. If you learned from your score thats all that matters"

I have also used this for working out. " I don't have to work out. People shouldn't judge me on the outside, it's only the inside that counts".

Is being PC adding to this whole effect?
re: Has generation y become the "generation ME"?
By Incarnadinemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Feb 03, 2010 09:02 AM
www.amazon.com . . .
I wanted to HIGHLY recommend this book.
“Nobody Wants Your Child” by Milton Creagh.

It’s a short read, I read it in an afternoon, but it’s about this topic exactly and it’s so succinct, yet comprehensive and detailed all at once. He basically lays out why this generation is full of suck- the entitlement attitude paired with being lazy, the materialism and superficial focus on “stuff” and appearance, the “Me me me, I’m special!” stuff- all of it.

I’ve never read anything that even comes close to nailing this topic the way this book does.

No joke- I think this should be mandatory reading for anyone who: has kids, wants kids, works with kids, knows a kid, etc.

Here’s the description from Amazon:
Product Description
Parenting in the new millennium! We spend more money on our kids than ever before. They tend to do less work around the house than ever. Add to that the fact that they have more freedom of movement and we end up with a situation where jobs that historically went to young people are being given to senior citizens and even the mentally challenged. The perception is that our children are lazy and have low work ethic. Alarmingly, the federal government says more and more of them will be living at home with their parents longer.

Nobody Wants Your Child explains to parents, in a common sense way, how we got into this situation and more importantly, how to make sure that our kids will be wanted in the workplace. Milton L. Creagh’s anecdotes from a myriad of real-life work scenarios will help parents feel they are not alone in dealing with the challenges of raising work-ready and life-ready kids. The practical advice will point parents toward simple solutions that can be implemented immediately in their day-to-day routine. At times funny and at others a little hard-hitting, Nobody Wants Your Child is the definitive resource for today’s parents trying to raise today’s youth.

From the Publisher
More than eight million youth and their parents have heard Milton Creagh speak on the tough issues that kids face: drug abuse, teen pregnancy, gangs, and the list goes on. In Nobody Wants Your Child, Milton turns his attention to the global workforce and what absolutely must be done to prepare kids for it.

Nobody Wants Your Child is very practical, and is written in a clear, conversational style. It is designed for busy parents and professionals who need this information but don’t have the time to be bogged down with a lot of jargon. It also designed for kids who are ready to take their future seriously and are ready to take that first step.
re: Has generation y become the "generation ME"?
By sjerosemember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:38 AM
So, I just skimmed through everyone's replies to this, and all I could think of was the quote from the bad guy from The Incredibles:

When everybody's special... no one is.


Very interesting topic to bring up, Jazzy.
re: Has generation y become the "generation ME"?
By Shortgirl75member has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:51 AM
I give a what-what to all the above. And I also want to add, and they may be unpopular, it doesn't help that gen. me is also the "positive-buddy" generation when they was kids.

Here's my examples:
*Let's not keep score because that will lower self-esteem. Everyone's a winner.
*No need to refer to adults as Mr, Mrs, Ms, or Miss. Call me by my first name. I'm your friend!
*No more negative punishment. Rather then having a timeout for not following rules, let's have you reset and try again. And really be positive to the child. All the friggin time.

There's the extreme where you treat them like military recruits, and then where everything they do is hearts and flowers and ponies farting butterflies. Middle of the road folks. Middle of the road!
re: Has generation y become the "generation ME"?
By webstArmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Wed Feb 03, 2010 11:52 AM
" It is the inside that counts"

Do you think this phrase is adding to this "generation me syndrom"? I've heard this used for people who fail tests. " Its ok that you didn't do so well on the test. It is only the inside that counts. If you learned from your score thats all that matters"


That's a really strange application of that saying that I can't say I've ever heard. There's nothing wrong with instilling in people that your appearance isn't the be-all-end-all of your existance. Teaching people to value their morals and character over their good looks is never really a bad thing, is it? I guess I'm trying to say that no, I don't think encouraging inner beauty is adding to the problem. Except when people take it as you did in your example.. that's just plain dumb.
re: Has generation y become the "generation ME"?
By smileywomanmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Feb 03, 2010 05:06 PM
A lot of valid points have been made.

One thing I see, is because technology is so much faster and there are so many more immediate 'fixes' etc. than when we were younger. Can you say LOTS of electronics, on-line shopping and desires for immediate gratification being catered to so readily?

What happened to EARNING things and WAITING for something? Entitlement is quite common place and many are just spoiled.
The comment about everyone being above average made me snort.
Unless one is a genius by nature, the only way I envision someone being above average is through lots of hard work.

I'm probably not making much sense.
re: Has generation y become the "generation ME"?
By YumYumDoughnutPremium member
On Wed Feb 03, 2010 05:39 PM
Edited by jazz_lover (99333) on 2010-02-03 17:51:09
"Teaching people to value their morals and character over their good looks is never really a bad thing, is it?"

I agree with this to an extent. What is happening now is that they don't reward the people who work hard to be in good physical shape. When I used to go to elementary school the people who could complete all the requirments would get an A in PE. At my brothers middle school the kids who can't do PE very well are getting the same grade as people who train hard. This is because a parent went and complained about her overweight daughter. The teacher gave her a C because she didn't try very hard and she couldn't run a mile. ( Which was one of the requirments). Basically the mother came into the gym (during a PE class!) and yelled at the coach. She said " It is the inner beauty that counts in a girl, you shouldn't judge her for being overweight. It isn't her fault that she can't run the mile. I demand you give her an A".

I think people are sometimes taking the "inner beauty" thing a bit too far. At my college there was a girl who wore the tightest pair of pants with a huge muffin top. ( I would have gotten a muffin top in those pants too! They were about 3 sizes too tight). She also wore a belly shirt with the word " B****" on it. A boy made a comment on her apperance. She said " It's the inner beauty that counts. Stop judging".

I like the idea of "inner beauty" but I hate the extent that it has been taken. Inner beauty isn't an excuse to dress in sloppy manner.
re: Has generation y become the "generation ME"?
By Cienmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Feb 03, 2010 07:29 PM
^That's a whole different ballgame, though. I thought we were talking more about the generation's sense of entitlement and the idea that we (as a generation, not that every one of us actually thinks this) believe we deserve things when, in reality, that's not always true. Entitlement and deserving things is different from justifying the way we look.
re: Has generation y become the "generation ME"?
By Meganmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Feb 03, 2010 07:41 PM
Edited by Megan (87282) on 2010-02-03 19:48:22
www.amazon.ca . . .

That book. I read it last year and I think it applies really well in this case. Recommended.

EDIT: Haha, that would make sense because Dr. Twenge is the author of the book as well as a researcher in the study.
re: Has generation y become the "generation ME"?
By majeremember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Feb 03, 2010 08:06 PM
Edited by majere (186163) on 2010-02-03 21:28:13 stuff
Well, I think I'm generation Y, I'm not positive about that, though - I was born in 1990.

I was not raised the way you guys are describing. The whole "I'm special" thing is almost the complete opposite of how I was raised. I was raised to be realistic. I was encouraged to go after my dreams but my parents made it clear they probably won't happen and if they do I'll have to work for it.

However, I do get the sense that most of the people at my school and the people I know outside of school my age do have the "I'm special" mentality. It's very annoying.

Would the age group of the parents have anything to do with this? My parents are quite a bit younger than most of my peers' parents. My mom was born in '69 and my dad in '66.

Edit - I do realize that this post may come off as a bit "I'm Special." I just think it has to do with how you're raised.
re: Has generation y become the "generation ME"?
By YumYumDoughnutPremium member
On Wed Feb 03, 2010 09:04 PM
Cein I was talking about how people think they deserve things without making an effort. They don't make the effort to look good ( not dressing well, keeping a healthy weight etc) and they feel that they deserve not to be judged.
I say this not only for looks. People who don't work very hard feels that they shouldn't be judged. " I majored in underwater basketweaving. I am special so you can't judge me" kind of thing.
Looking healthy, getting good grades, getting a paycheck, becoming talented at a hobby all take some effort. People feel that they are "special" when they didn't make an effort .

Did anyone else see the Tyra Banks show where they had 4 people who wanted to be famous? She asked them what their talents were, and they said that they didn't have any. They felt that everyone would want to watch them without any specific talent. She set them straight! She told them to go for another goal because there was no way [in her judgment] that they were going to be able to model or act.
re: Has generation y become the "generation ME"? (karma: 1)
By Snuffymember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu Feb 04, 2010 05:05 AM
Frankly, I get sick of all the generation bashing. There's always one generation bashing another... and I don't think it's constructive.

I mean, we can criticise particular generations all we like, and the funny thing is that often the people doing it are none other than the generation that brought up the kids they're whining about.

I realise that this is kind of going off topic... but I just think it's kind of dumb. I think there is so much more to all of these issues than creating a silly name for a group of people who were born around the same time, and then criticising them.

Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of attitudes that are common these days which I think are uncool, but I am just so unimpressed by the concept of generation this and generation that.

Heh, but I did have to have a little chuckle about the "everyone gets a trophy just for turning up" thing - clearly Irish dance should be [b]the[/i] sport for Gen Y's, then! :D
re: Has generation y become the "generation ME"?
By Munkensteinmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu Feb 04, 2010 08:52 AM
Did anyone else see the Tyra Banks show where they had 4 people who wanted to be famous? She asked them what their talents were, and they said that they didn't have any. They felt that everyone would want to watch them without any specific talent. She set them straight! She told them to go for another goal because there was no way [in her judgment] that they were going to be able to model or act.

And of course those idiots "Spencer and Heidi" tell these tools that they could try out for some upcoming reality show...

It's weird how I can actually see things change down the line because I know people of varying ages...of course there are exceptions, but the overall attitude of this "next generation" does seem to be pretty wimpy. So what if you did poorly on an exam or something? So what if you didn't win a sporting event? Maybe you'll do better next time or maybe it's just not where your talents lie. The sense of entitlement is just astounding sometimes...I see and hear things on a daily basis that are ridiculous, heh.
re: Has generation y become the "generation ME"?
By TheMidlakeMusemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu Feb 04, 2010 09:02 AM
^ I think that attitude also begins with the parents much of the time. You sadly hear this a lot in the dance world--"Susie didn't place because the judges were awful! It was fixed! That teacher doesn't know what she's doing!" It shifts the blame so that little Susie has absolutely no responsibility for her own actions. If you messed up, it's someone else's fault.

Dani
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