Skip to comments.Gen X keen on the ABCs of raising gen Y
Posted on 07/23/2004 8:50:51 AM PDT by qam1
Remember when all that generation Xers wanted was the key to the car? Well, now they need booster seats; generation Xers are parents. In the US, 51 per cent of children now have parents who were born between 1965 and 1979.
Frightening, no? Well, no. According to some recent studies, generation X - many of whom grew up on Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit - is doing just fine when it comes to raising generation Y.
Gen-X parents may even be doing a better job than their parents - the baby boomers - did.
"We see big gaps between how the boomers raise kids and how gen X does it," says James Chung of the Boston-based Reach Advisors, which last month released a study called Generation X Parents: From Grunge to Grown Up.
"With boomers, the focus was on making money and creating quality time for the kids. But generation X just wants to be around their kids while they are growing up. And gen-X dads, in particular, say they want to do more than bring home a pay cheque."
To compile its report, Reach Advisors, a market research firm, surveyed 3000 parents of young children. Half the group were baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1965) and half were from generation X.
It found that gen-X parents were more likely to say that family was their priority. Gen-X fathers were also more likely to lend a hand around the house. While boomer fathers said they spent about zero to three hours a day on child-rearing activities, including taking care of the children and cleaning, gen-X fathers spent twice as much time - between three and six hours - on similar tasks.
Gen-X dads weren't happy about it, either. They wanted more time on the home front.
"Among boomer parents, 38 per cent said they were happy with the work-life balance in their home," Chung says, "But only 26 per cent of gen-X parents felt the same. The boomers were much more likely to say they felt satisfied with the amount of time they spend on child rearing, even though it was less."
Boomer parents were more likely to define "having it all" as having a career, a family and "literally having a lot of stuff".
"Gen-X parents, however, appear less interested in having it all. Instead of trying to fit a family into their work life, they are more likely to try to fit work into their family life," Chung says. While wealthy boomers might brag about how much they paid for something, gen-X likes to talk about how much they saved.
Separate studies suggest that children who are old enough to see a difference appreciate it. A recent Mood of American Youth survey, conducted by the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, found that 80 per cent of young people report "no family problems", up from 40 per cent in the 1970s. Another study, State of Our Nation's Youth 2002, rejected the belief that children do not get on with their parents.
Half of the young people surveyed said they wanted to spend more time with their family. Three-quarters said they got on with their parents "very well" or "extremely well". Half picked a parent as their main role model.
Kay Hymowitz, of think tank the Manhattan Institute, has also studied the differences between gen-X and boomers, and says: "Married generation Xers are the most traditional, conservative group in the country. They are much more traditional than their boomer parents. I think we are seeing a backlash against the boomers, who raised their kids in an era where there was a lot of divorce. A lot of gen Xers suffered during that period and they are determined to do it differently for their own kids."
Hymowitz agrees there is no evidence that divorce rates are falling, "maybe because it's too soon. We have to wait and see. "We are talking about attitudes here, and there definitely has been a big shift in attitudes . . . when you talk to young mothers today, their issues are very different from boomer feminists.
"They aren't talking about how to get ahead. They take it for granted that they will work. But they know they can't take kids for granted and, when they have them, they are happier to work part-time, to be with them."
Hymowitz cites an American Demographics report that showed gen-X parents were nostalgic for the childhood that boomers supposedly had. By 2000, the number of women with infants under one in the workforce had dropped from 59 per cent to 55 per cent, the first decline in decades.
Mainstream media have noted the change: The New York Times Magazine this year published a hotly debated cover story on highly educated women who quit work while their children were young. Time magazine ran a cover story called "The Case for Staying Home".
It seems that gen-X adults resemble their Silent Generation grandparents more than their boomer parents.
Reach Advisors' James Chung is 37, and therefore "on the cusp" of generation X. His children are aged one and three. "I know when I started having kids, I felt frustrated, not being able to spend time with them," he says. "I thought, I don't want to spend all my time at the office."
But he notes some selfishness, in his approach.
"I know it's good for my wife and good for the kids," he says. "But let's be fair. It's good for me, too."
I work in a large corporation full of gen xer parents who all drop the kids off at day care and pick em up on the way home, starting when they are infants.
Ping list for the discussion of the politics and social aspects that directly effects Gen-Reagan/Generation-X (Those born from 1965-1981) including all the spending previous generations (i.e. The Baby Boomers) are doing that Gen-X and Y will end up paying for.
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Well, this article describes my family, and several of my neighbors' families, to a T.
I have noticed amoung my peers (1962) and among those younger that a 3-kid family is now the norm (if you can afford it).
I am gen x, I guess (1966). Raising a family and the wife stays home, which is tough, but good. What amazes me about the boomers, my parents, my in-laws is their absolutely horrible parenting skills. It is a very self centered generation. Not bitching about my parents directly but I can definetly see a difference in attitude, its like they expect everything to be handed to them on a silver platter...very self centered.
Ya', darn right. This description fits my wife and I precisely. I am sure that this is true. And, I'm sure that it is worrying the dems. I think the Gen X group is the group that is coming into their own and starting to vote. This is the "youth vote" that the parties should be trying to capture all of the time. The demoSTUPIDs focus on the "youth vote" for the Gen Y or even younger generations. Newsflash! Most don't (or even can't) vote.
Most of my friends that have gotten married and, most, had kids totally get it. It is about SECURITY, stupid!
Many parents that I know are supportive of Bush, even if they disagree with him on most issues. All most of these young parents want is a future for their kids. Because Gen Xers have a certain practical (maybe, even perhaps skeptical) side --no doubt broought on by the divorce and "fending for yourself" growing up-- they don't believe words. The demoLIARs operate and deal, almost exclusively, in words. Gen Xers have seen George W put his foot down regarding terrorism and he is doing something about it.
Gen Xers see this. Gen Xers see that he is doing the 1 thing that they are most concerned about: providing the essential security for our nation to survive.
A health care plan doesn't matter if our cities are being bombed. Get it!?
Well, Gen Xers do.
I have been coming to this conclusion gradually over the past few years. I look up at elders and realize they don;t take the same consequences as I do. They are very protected from hard knocks. And they usually choose easy solutions, no looking forward.
Thats sad...My wife is a SAHM, she enjoys staying at home with our little guy, she has a diploma in early childhood education, so my son ends up with his mom as his pre-school teacher...He's one sharp little guy for a 2 year old...
It'd be difficult not to.
I'm an X (1976), grew up on Nirvana and am raising two girls. I'm a stay at home mom and although it ain't easy - I wouldn't have it any other way!
This confirms a bit of what I've sort of been seeing anecdotally. I think it's a good trend.
How much of a difference is there in the divorce rate between the Boomers and Gen-x?
I'm an X-er, currently with a toddler son and working. I'd rather be at home, but supposedly I'm needed to safeguard the Republic. (rolling my eyes here)
Both my wife and I are Gen-X (1970 for me, '66 for her), we have 2 little girls, and a third child on the way. She's stayed home, so far, but just recently got a job in teaching (again).
Not being "sexist", but I have told her 100 ways to Sunday that I'd rather her stay home and take care of the house and kids. Or, if she gets a job that pays all the bills, I'll stay home and do it. I personally just think it's very important for our children to have one of us home and with them in the young formative years.
My mom worked (out of necessity), but when she married my (step) dad, she didn't have to - and didn't until my sister and I were in junior high and high school, and could fend for ourselves a bit.
My wife's mom never really worked "outside the home", until the kids were in high school, as well. Personally, that's the way it should be. ONE parent at home, because the kids won't listen to a babysitter/day care worker nearly as well, and won't learn as well, in my opinion.
"Gen-X parents may even be doing a better job than their parents - the baby boomers"
MY PARENTS ARE *NOT* BABY BOOMERS!!!!!
GEEESSH, I'm tired of that!
And I agree, I don't think there're a whole lot of "Xers" raising "Yers". FGS, I thought Y began some 10 years ago or more!
do more than bring home a pay cheque."
do not get on with their parents
Is this an English site or study? (Sorry, picky, but it said Boston-based yet English-isms keep popping up. ;-) )
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