the spoiled generation

The End of the World Will be Thanks to GenX

I am a GenX -er and I would like to apologize to all of humanity for the rest of my generation. Or at least a good portion of it. For the spoiled generationyou see, these are the people who gave birth to, and are raising, GenZ. Myself included. I used to be proud to be a proud, card-carrying member of the Gen-X society, but not so much these days and here’s why.

First, let’s start with defining GenX:

Generation X (1966-1976) (info courtesy of

  • Also known as the GenX is the first generation to follow the Baby boomers.
  • This is also the first generation to be named and defined by marketers.
  • Many of its members are aware of their generational title.
  • Came of age in the ’80s and ’90s with the Reagan era, Challenger explosion, fall of Berlin Wall, Persian Gulf War, economic recession.
  • The all-knowing spoiled kids of the Baby Boomers yet with fewer ambitions and less driven to change the world.
  • The generation X kids are called the “latchkey” kids, exposed to daycare and family instability and this has probably shaped how they regard their family life and how the next generation, Y, is being educated. – The best educated with 29% obtaining a bachelor’s degree or higher (6% higher than the previous generation).

Note the two lines that I italicized in bold.. I used to take great offense to the The all-knowing spoiled kids of the Baby Boomers yet with fewer ambitions and less driven to change the world line and still do. I think our generation is VERY driven.. maybe not the same way our parents were, but driven to start our own companies.. driven to know that “the man” is not going to take care of us so we do it ourselves.

Our parents raised us that we had to work for what we got. Not everyone could win the game but everyone should be a good player. You didn’t lie, cheat or steal and you respected your elders. You said please and thank you, yes sir, no sir and you knew exactly how many days you had to write (yes, with your HANDS) a Thank-You note to your Great Aunt Loyce.

We dressed based on what Seventeen magazine said and obsessed over The Preppy Handbook to make sure we were living like the Buffy’s of the world where. Nothing came between our Calvin’s or Gloria Vanderbilt’s, we had every color of Izod and Polo known to mankind and said things like “fer sure” and “totally” while we cruised the streets listening to Bananarama and Van Halen. We were the generation that started playing soccer and, unlike most of our parents, 85% of us went to college where we joined sororities and fraternities getting our law degrees and becoming doctors or high level executives. We were the first generation to move away from our hometowns with many ever coming back.

Similar -   Ch-ch-ch-Changes... Why Things Look a Little Different Here

And fellow Gen-Xers,  I honestly think this is where we as a generation have derailed. I don’t know what we’re trying to make up for in our childhood but judging the way many are raising their kids, we have lost our cotton-picking minds.

I have watched in awe at how over-indulged my kids friends are and how many of my own peers stand there with the stain from the ink of cash on their own hands. These kids are wearing Tori Burch shoes, carrying Michael Kors purses and getting brand new cars like Mercedes and BMWs for their 16th birthdays (some even before they turn 16) and Christmas. Manicures, eyebrow waxes and full body massages are expectations, not special treats. Proms have gone from a rite of high school passage to a thousand-dollar venture – complete with “promposals” that make some marriage proposals look lame. Sweet 16 Birthday Party budgets are more than most of us spent on our weddings.

Failing grades are met with their parents threatening to sue the school (because Daddy’s a lawyer, natch), same goes for not making the team. They have no boundaries, open-ended curfews (is it really a curfew then?) and if you want a cocktail, there’s a parent who’s willing to shake it up and pour it over ice. You know..because that parent wants to be the cool one. They won’t think twice to take your kid to a Rated R without first asking permission.

I have yet to meet one kid who “deserved” a $400 handbag or brand new car. I’m sorry but it will be a cold day in hell when one of my kids will have a nicer purse, better shoes or more expensive car than me. Unless, of course, they suddenly become overnight sensations on Tumblr, Vine or SnapChat. And then I will expect the very same thing from them for the same reason they expect it from me. Just because.

This Christmas, after I heard about the 4th or 5th or 10th kid who’d gotten a car for Christmas, I threw it out to my Facebook friends and the responses were what I would expect from my friends. I am imagining the ones who were ‘guilty’ of over-indulging opted not to respond…

I don’t know too many of us that were just handed over a car when we were teens. We had to do something.. pay for half of it.. pay for all of it and I guarantee you only 1% of us got a car nicer than the ones our parents were driving. I am completely perplexed and blown away at the entitled kids that I see on a daily basis. It’s as though their parents can’t see past today.. are you guys not thinking what’s going to happen to your kids when they leave your house? If you’re giving your kids these things at 16, how will you out-do yourself when they’re 18? You know what kills me even more? Is they don’t appreciate it and they expect it. I’ve even heard my own kid say it’s ridiculous.
And it’s not even college that I’m thinking of but after that. When these kids have to finally get a job and stand on their own two feet. Will they know how to do this? I don’t see how they will because even in college you just kept shoveling money at them so they could focus on ‘studying’ (aka socializing). What happens the first time they encounter a conflict with a coworker or don’t like what their boss says. Will you fly to them and march in there? I have to hope and pray that even you, Gen-Xer parent, will say “no way!” but how will your kids handle it if you’ve never put them to task?
Look, I’m not judging you.. I think it’s great that you want to give your kid everything our parents didn’t give us but could you do it a bit more in moderation and perhaps throw in a lesson or two on responsibility? Instead of just giving your kid a 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee, maybe think of a 2010 and having them pay $100 a month to the Bank of Parent? Encourage them to get a part-time job even if it’s “only” babysitting or pet walking? And from the money they earn, maybe encourage them to put half in savings? The one thing that I feel pretty confident in is that while your kid may love the fact that you’re giving them designer things today, one day they’ll wish you had taught them how to budget.
So that’s it,  fellow Gen-Xer.. what say you my parachute-pant-wearing friends?


January 12, 2015 at 9:54 am

I am one of the Gen X’ers with you and I appreciate the references to the things only my generation knows about. A different take, though, as I’m a Gen X’er not raised by a Boomer. I was raised by “old school” parents. Father was in Korean War, mom was first to go to a teacher’s college. I’ve observed that our generation hasn’t been the first to make excess what it is today. I observed Boomer colleagues, siblings and parents of students I taught start this over the last two decades. Students I had in high school 10 years ago had parents who gave them whatever they want. I saw them raised in the McMansions of the 90’s and 2000’s when money was everywhere and kids got everything handed to them. Not that our generation isn’t contributing, I think it’s just so much a part of our culture after those decades that everything is just expected.

On a positive note, I’ve found a back to basics among my peers with kids in high school now that was different when my daughter was a young teen ten years ago. Her peers were from Boomer parents and my younger kids’s parents are Gen X’ers or younger. There’s a little of a change. Gen X’ers who who were raised by “old school” parents, like mine, seem to have similar values. It’s been easier to say “No” to my younger kids because their peers don’t have everything handed to them, which is different from my older kids whose parents were younger boomers. What’s frightening is that entitlement seems to be so much of the culture, that even those of us pushing against it are shocked (myself included) when those entitlement words come out of my child’s mouth. I’ve had to accept this is part of “their world.” My bigger concern are kids in elementary schools nation-wide who already don’t do work and don’t care, yet they get anything handed to them outside of school. It’s epidemic. There is less and less accountability from parents for behavior at younger ages.

I guess as I see the demise of work ethic and character in these kids, I figure the kids you and I are raising to be responsible and have integrity will be the leaders in their generation. It’s a high calling, because there will be fewer. So others can give their kids the cars, but those who have to work for theirs will get their rent paid, live with less debt and be okay with it. I’ve seen someone close to me give their kids everything, as mine work for theirs, but I’ve seen that child not know some things about life that’s been hard for them to learn. As my older kids have gone to college and see what privilege in others looks like, they’ve thanked us for not giving them everything because they see how it truly plays out once kids can’t rely on mom or dad. It’s given me strength.

So I’ll spread the blame – because I still love a good izod, Calvins, loafers, and the BMOC.

    January 12, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    I agree.. our parents generation definitely started it but our generation is perfecting it. And while I don’t see as much “scaling back” as you’re seeing, my kids have learned to not even ask for the high-end things. They’ve also learned how to shop at consignment stores and know how to refinish furniture. All traits that I am hopeful will pay off ten-fold for them when their apartments have awesome furniture that they paid nothing for 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.