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Not Our Parents' Generation? - Parents of The X [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
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Not Our Parents' Generation? [Jul. 24th, 2004|04:01 pm]
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[ladyaubrey]
By way of Free Republic, an article from The Age about Generation X as parents.

Actually, I could never claim that my parents were part of the Baby Boom, what with Dad born in '36 and Mom born in '40. Still, Generation Reagan is moving into the fore of social and cultural changes, continuing to baffle and bewilder the marketing pros who still think GenReagan admire the '60s and '70s attitudes.

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.

I DO wish when the author writes things like this, they go through the trouble of explaining how that conclusion came about! It's like that article of the scientists who talk about the sunspots and the writer has to insert a sentence about how global warming is affecting the sun, without any data to back that statement up. We have an entire article discussing how Generation Reagan wants the more traditional family and then we have to insert an implication that what they really want is to have what the Boomers have...as if Boomers in their childhood were the ones who created the security and stability they knew. GAH!

I guess Generation Reagan is STILL more to be pitied than censured.

</i>
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>

X posted in conservatism
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