The Generation of Entitlement
The youth are today referred to as the Millennials or the entitlement Generation. This means that this group consists of people born from the 80s to date. However, there are no specific dates as to when this generation begins. The term entitled has been used to describe the generation’s belief that they have the right to have everything that has been given to them. It has been said that this mindset will be the doom of the world. The entitled generation forgets that they have to earn what they need so that the world can be saved. The title, Entitlement Generation, is not a positive description of this generation, but it may bear some truth. It portrays this generation as being incapable of being productive. A lot has been said about this generation and the entitlement attitudes. It is important to make the generation aware of the fact that an entitlement attitude is an unsure and wrong path to success, and it may even be destructive.
Take the case of Academic entitlement. A student believes that they deserve a better grade than they got because they attend class (Sparks). If everyone thought like that, then everyone would be qualified to become anything without actually putting any effort to understanding what education entails. It is not right to blame the learners; teachers may also be enabling academic entitlement mindset among the students (Singleton et al 231). A student’s sense of entitlement is a disadvantage to the teaching process since the students reduce their efforts when it comes to learning (Sparks). A student comes to class thinking that knowledge is a right without putting any effort to the acquiring process. Teachers therefore give learners all the required knowledge an in turn enabling a serious their entitlement nature. A high grade should be the result of hard work and proven mastery of content, not the fact that a student went to class, or that the parents of the students pay taxes that contribute to the teachers’ salary.
The 1980s saw a rise in a philosophy in child rearing that advocated for self-esteem (Crappell 15). This meant that the children would be appreciated and loved unconditionally. This philosophy involved the constant praise of children and not criticizing children in circumstances. It also ensured that a child’s ability could not be considered superior to another. In the end, all children would be named as being the best and awarded despite the fact that, in truth, there was only one best student (Roosevelt). In this sense, students would not be held back because it would affect their self-esteem. The resultant generation is one that has an inflated sense of entitlement, those who believe that they should be handed everything they want. The rational outcome of every child having a high sense of self-esteem is that they believe they can achieve anything. However, this notion does not tally with reality.
Therapists who work with trouble teenagers have found that their sense of entitlement is a significant impediment to helping them (Manning 35). Teenagers, it seems, feel entitled to their way of life despite the fact that their choice of lifestyle could be destructive. Parents have moved to the notion that they do not want to annoy their children and, as such, leave them to do whatever they please. This is even causing a financial strain for parents, where children insist on having the latest designs in clothing and other materialistic tendencies. This generation continues to be given all that they want, and it therefore becomes increasingly problematic for them to go past issues of substance abuse, alcoholism, anger issues, promiscuity, compulsive shopping tendencies and so on. The demands of the children exceed what many parents can afford. This has led to many parents going into credit card debt in the hope of maintaining their children’s needs. It is necessary for this trend stop to ensure that the future is worth waiting.
Some people have countered these arguments and believe that the Millennials are growing responsible for their lives. The tough economic times do not allow one to heavily luxurious life. In this sense, the youth are taking whatever jobs they can get. The high levels of unemployment in America, for example, are pushing graduates to jobs that do not even require a degree. They believe that it is better to have a job than remain without income. This is a sense of responsibility that is being seen among this group that has been considered irresponsible, spoilt and lazy. This generation is believed to be very charitable. The youth are becoming more involved in politics and are concerned about the welfare of their countries. For example, in 2008 during the American elections, more youth came out to vote than was ever expected.
The generation between born between 1979 and 1995 are believed to love themselves more than is necessary. They are more attached to their need than the needs of others. However, this generation has been the most innovative in terms of technological advancements that have revolutionized the way of life. A good example is the advent of the social media sites that have come up. These innovations have been developed by the youth and are used by the youth for productive ends. While the older generation thinks less of the social media. This avenue has played a crucial role in discussing issues that have been of benefit to the communities around the world. What is more, this generation is more technologically savvy hence able to manipulate it to their advantage by earning income. For example, more youth are undertaking online options for income generating activities. It is the belief that unemployment is not an excuse for remaining without a source of income. Self-esteem is essential since it helps an individual to become a free thinker and be innovative (Halpern).
There are certain individuals who understand that as much as they want all the good things in life, they do not expect them to be handed to them (Lessard et al 528). They believe in hard work to accomplish what they set out to do. This is still a narcissistic point of view, but this cannot be viewed in a negative light. One who wants to work hard should be left to do it even if it is for their selfish needs. Hard work is good, but the motives behind reasons for work should be for the benefit of the society and the self. If people continue to think of the self at all times, it is scary to think of what the society will become if it is not already. It is expected that this generation will be willing to forgo the needs of others as long as theirs are met. The world in this regard is moving to a difficult future.
The actions and nature of Generation Y cannot only be pegged on them. This generation was created when parents decided to spoil their children. There is no clear solution to the problem, but it has to begin with Generation Y. Their parenting skills should involve teaching their children that they have to work for what they want. However, breaking the cycle will mean that this generation realizes that there is something wrong. The feeling of entitlement should come from a deserved point of view and not from baseless facts such as in academic entitlement. The feeling of self-love is vital, but it should be coupled with love for others. This will make Generation Y understand that they have a responsibility for a better tomorrow and that starts with concern for others before the self.
Crappell, Courtney. “Members Of Generation Me Can Do Anything! Or Can They?” American Music Teacher 62.1 (2012): 14-17. Academic Search Complete. Web. 4 Nov. 2012.
Halpern, Jake. “The New Me Generation.” Boston Globe. New York Times Company, 30 Sept. 2007. Web.4 Nov. 2012.
Lessard, Jared, Ellen Greenberg, Chuansheng Chen, and Susan Farruggia. “Are Youth’s Feelings of Entitlement Always ‘Bad’?: Evidence for a Distinction between Exploitive and Non-Exploitive Dimensions of Entitlement.” Journal of Adolescence 34.3 (2011): 521-529. Science Direct. Web.4 Nov. 2012.
Manning, Elizabeth H. “It’s Y Time.” Officer 83.6 (2007): 37-41. Proquest. Web. 4 Nov. 2012.
Roosevelt, Max. “Student Expectations Seen as Causing Grade Disputes.” New York Times. New York Times, 17 Feb. 2009. Web. 4 Nov. 2012.
Singleton-Jackson, Jill A., Dennis L. Jackson, and Jeffrey Reinhardt. “Academic Entitlement: Exploring Definitions And Dimensions Of Entitled Students.” International Journal Of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences 5.9 (2011): 229-236. Academic Search Complete. Web. 4 Nov. 2012.
Sparks, Sarah D. “Are You Enabling ‘Academic Entitlement’ in Students.” Education Week. Editorial Projects in Education, 27 May 2012. Web. 4 Nov. 2012.