Who is to blame for millennials’ angst?

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When the kids were young and I hadn’t messed up parenting too badly, yet.

I watched a video posted on Facebook by one of my children’s former swim coaches about millennials in the workforce and the problems they face. It really made me reflect about my own parenting and kids. There’s an increased number of kids in this age group with depression, committing suicide and overdosing. That’s terrifying, don’t you agree? What can be done about it? And why is it happening?

You can watch the aforementioned video here

Here are the four main points of the video:

ONE
Bad Parenting

I hate that bullet point and know I’m guilty of some bad parenting myself. The main idea is that our kids were told they are special at every turn, whether it’s deserved or not. Consequently, millennials often suffer from low self esteem. While we’re trying to make our kids strong, mentally and physically, we’re doing something very wrong. We have highly educated, competent kids who don’t believe in themselves. Maybe everyone shouldn’t get a participation trophy in tee ball. It’s one of the reasons why I like swimming. Every mili-second dropped and ribbon received is truly earned. The clock doesn’t lie.

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Before the computer and cell phone I thought the The IBM Selectric II was the greatest invention ever.

TWO
Technology

Checking our number of likes, texts, etc. give us a jolt of dopamine. That’s why we get addicted to our phones. Social media and cell phones are not much different than other highly addictive substances like tobacco or alcohol. When teenage brains are exposed to dopamine, they get hooked and their brains get hardwired. Hearing this part of the video makes me want to look at my own cell phone usage and make some changes—a good thing to think about for New Year’s Resolutions (I’ll write more about this later). Social media is preventing our kids from developing personal relationships and may lead to depression and being unable to handle stress.

THREE
Instant Gratification

Our kids have grown up in the world of instant gratification. If they want to watch a movie, they turn on Netflix. If they want to buy something, they click on Amazon and it’s delivered the next day. I interviewed a psychologist, Dr. Nicole Walters, and wrote about instant gratification here. Job satisfaction and relationships aren’t a click away. Instead they are messy and time consuming, but our kids aren’t learning these skills of waiting and working for things.

FOUR
Environment

Maybe our corporate environments aren’t a good fit for young people. Our kids blame themselves when it could partially be the fault of the company they work for. Companies need to work extra hard to build the children’s social skills and work on their lack of confidence. We need to work on interpersonal relationships and one good way to start is to put the phone down.

What are your thoughts about millennials and their angst? Do you think it’s our fault they are suffering from depression and anxiety? Or, does the environment and technology play a bigger role?

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Selfie of Mom and me playing BINGO. She is the best mom and my role model.

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11 thoughts on “Who is to blame for millennials’ angst?

  1. I think some major problems for millennials like me are:

    –socially prescribed perfectionism. you have to do EVERYTHING and you have to do it RIGHT and you have to be the BEST and you have to be PERFECT. of course you never do and you never are, so you’re left with the impression that you’re never good enough. this perfectionism is instilled in us by our competitive culture and our parents’ helicopter parenting: trying so hard to ensure our futures by forcing us into academic and extracurricular excellence. socially prescribed perfectionism has been proven to increase the odds of depression and anxiety. also, our parents constantly hovering over us gives us the impression that they don’t think we can do it on our own. and if they don’t think we’re “good enough” to be independent, we can’t believe it either.

    –the economy. It’s shit, especially for millennials. it leads to terrible overwork and burnout. Here’s a great article on it: https://www.buzzfeednews.com/amphtml/annehelenpetersen/millennials-burnout-generation-debt-work?utm_source=dynamic&utm_campaign=bffbbuzzfeedreader&ref=bffbbuzzfeedreader&__twitter_impression=true&fbclid=IwAR16PhKTywT7auyqo0hPY_PmvJar2vcMWL3IwzmkYlm3qIopgJmCqEG76vI Millennials aren’t just working one solid full-time job with benefits. We’re working multiple part-time jobs and freelancing and running side gigs, so we don’t have financial security, benefits, the ability to save for the future, or actual free time. We are taught to feel guilty whenever we aren’t working, and that our worth as humans is tied to how productive we are. we are also crippled by student loan debt. this leads to stress, burnout, depression, and understandable anxiety about our financial futures. not to mention whether we’ve made enough this month to cover the bills.

    Yep yep yep. Thank you so much for not blaming our angst on our own “laziness” or “entitledness”. It means a lot. 🙂

    • Wow. That’s quite an eye opening reply. I am sorry for all the perfectionism thrown at millennials. I agree that helicopter parents want the best for their kids but make it terrible by expecting perfection and then not allowing their kids to do things on their own. Hopefully, with low unemployment more job opportunities are out there and it will get easier to make ends meet—with benefits. Thanks so much for commenting. I appreciate it!

      • Thank you for your kind reply! I hope so too, but unfortunately, the last I heard, while unemployment rates in general were going down, Millennials had the highest rate of unemployment among adults, and it was something like twice the national average. (I unfortunately can’t find anything on Millennial unemployment rates more recent than 2016 to show you numbers.) There are jobs opening up, but older workers who have had more opportunity to gain skills and experience to put on their resumes are much more likely to get them.

        We’re also widely predicted to become the first generation in U.S. history to do worse than our parents financially, not only because wage increases haven’t kept up with cost of living, but also because every year that we spend unemployed or underemployed is one more year we’re not adding to our savings. (Not to mention all that school debt!)

        What’s REALLY going to be interesting is when Millennials hit retirement age. If things keep going as they are, we’re going to be in some deep doo-doo! We won’t have been able to save up money. Working as freelancers and part-timers, we won’t have retirement benefits. And social security will be used up by then (and even if it isn’t, the gig economy means lots of people won’t be paying into social security every year, and therefore might not be eligible for retirement or disability payments–a problem my disabled butt has already run into!). So we’re either going to work until we’re eighty and literally keel over at our workplaces, or we’ll have a bunch of homeless septuagenarians… Gonna be interesting. lol

        Sorry, I know I’m dumping a lot of pessimism on this thread. Finances are a pretty looming worry for me and a lot of my friends.

      • My kids are millennials so I understand your worries. The good news I’ve seen lately is there are jobs. Ten years ago, my friends with college graduates complained there was nothing out there at all. Their kids were home without any jobs for several years. It’s better now and hopefully, it will continue to get better!

    • As a millennial, I agree it is some combination of this post and Nouseled’s reply. I think there may even be an issue of technology and social media being a major cause of perfectionism… Because for previous generations, people would only be able to compare themselves to those in their immediate community, and chances were, each person would be the best at SOMETHING compared to the people they knew. Now, in the age of Internet we can connect with millions of people, all over the world, and suddenly the comparison pool is much larger. Being the “best” means a lot more. Not only because we’re comparing ourselves to more people, but also because the majority of those people we’re comparing ourselves to are only posting the best aspects of themselves and their lives online, creating the illusion that everyone else is better. (Obviously there are other things, too, but these are my thoughts on socially prescribed perfectionism.)

      • I agree completely! Depression and anxiety in kids is being tied to social media. Young girls look at Instagram, etc. at the perfect bodies, thighs that don’t touch, etc. and feel terrible about their own body image.

        Also, we aren’t free to our private time and downtime. When we’re sitting at home, we can look at our social media and view all the fun people are having — at places or events we weren’t invited to.

        I remember going to the beach with my daughter and a friend and we watched as so many young girls posed and reposed to get that “perfect” shot. Yes, I agree with you on the role social media is playing for everyone to have a perfect looking life.

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