In 2013, the New York-based best-selling TIME magazine featured a cover story titled ‘The Me, Me, Me Generation’ signaling the arrival of the millennial generation, i.e, individuals born after 1980. It described them as “lazy, entitled narcissists, who still live with their parents”. The story cited “cold data” to argue that the millennials were more selfish and entitled than any other preceding generation. “The incidence of narcissistic personality disorder is nearly three times as high for people in their 20s as for the generation that’s now 65 or older, according to the National Institutes of Health. Millennials got so many participation trophies growing up that a recent study showed that 40 percent believe they should be promoted every two years, regardless of performance,” wrote the authors of the TIME cover story.
The millennials that TIME wrote about are latter day parents and they are raising children who are even more greedy and selfish than themselves — self-absorbed, self-involved, glued to digital screens with overweening sense of entitlement. In India as well, in a large number of newly affluent households, parents are conceding to every whim and demand of their progeny, and a new generation of I-me-myself children and youth is running amok countrywide. Moreover with strict patriarchal parenting widely disparaged, parents are over-indulging and mollycoddling princelings who believe they are entitled to special privileges and preferential treatment at home, school and workplaces.
In our cover story this month, we turn a searchlight on the new Me, Me, Me generation and advise parents to balance progressive with responsible parenting. The onus is on parents to kindly but firmly correct spoilt brats. The multiplication of the Me, Me, Me generation has dangerous implications for society which is steadily becoming unequal and divided. It’s imperative that parents learn to draw the line between providing material comfort, emotional warmth and encouragement and over-indulging and over-valuing children. Good manners, empathy, social responsibility, patience and the ability to accept failure and rejection are essential virtues required for personal and professional success and building egalitarian societies.
There’s much else in this issue of ParentsWorld. Check out our Early Childhood feature on why preschool children tell lies; useful guidelines to help children with homework; benefits of dance and a child-friendly natural vitamins chart.