Skip to comments.Another View: Surveys show the 70s are over and kids have changed (Good News About Your Children!)
Posted on 07/12/2004 4:57:18 AM PDT by Between the Lines
EXTRA! EXTRA! The big news of the past decade in America has been largely overlooked, and you'll find it shocking. Young people have become aggressively normal.
Violence, drug use and teen sex have declined. Kids are becoming more conservative politically and socially. They want to get married and have large families. And, get this, they adore their parents.
The Mood of American Youth Survey found that more than 80 percent of teen-agers report no family problems - up from about 40 percent a quarter-century ago. In another poll, two-thirds of daughters said they would "give Mom an 'A.'"
"In the history of polling, we've never seen tweens and teens get along with their parents this well," says William Strauss, referring to kids born since 1982. Strauss is the author, with Neil Howe, of "Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation."
In an article in the latest issue of City Journal (www.city-journal.org), published by the Manhattan Institute, Kay S. Hymowitz writes:
"Wave away the smoke of the Jackson family circus, Paris Hilton and the antics of San Francisco, and you can see how Americans have been self-correcting from a decades-long experiment with 'alternative values.' Slowly, almost imperceptibly during the 1990s, the culture began a lumbering, Titanic turn away from the iceberg."
Adults are changing, but kids seem to have changed most - and they may comprise the new "greatest generation," as Tom Brokaw called the World War II cohort. "What is emerging," writes Hymowitz, "is a vital, optimistic, family-centered, entrepreneurial, and, yes, morally thoughtful citizenry."
That's trouble, I believe, for the Democratic Party, at least in its current anchored-to-the-'60s version. It's possible that John Kerry will win in November because of the war in Iraq (though the smart money is on George Bush), but the long-term trend is clear. College freshmen who call themselves liberals outnumbered conservatives by about three to one in 1971; now the figures are roughly even. "Young voters are also more supportive of President Bush than the public at large," writes Hymowitz.
The changes in politics are rooted in changes in values. Last year, the rate of teen pregnancy dropped to a record low. Better birth control is not the sole explanation; the proportion of teens who had intercourse fell from 56 percent in 1991 to 46 percent in 2001.
Kids don't want casual sex; they want families. Harris Interactive reports that 91 percent plan to marry and, on average, they'd like three children.
Already, Generation X (born between 1965 and 1979) is more traditional than its parents. "The number of married-couple families, after declining in the '70s and '80s," writes Hymowitz, "rose 5.7 percent in the '90s." More brides are taking their husbands' names, and in 2000, the number of women in the workforce with infants dropped for the first time in decades. A study by Yankelovich found that 89 percent of Gen Xers think modern parents let kids get away with too much.
Twice as many Gen-X mothers as baby boomer mothers (born 1946-1964) spent more than 12 hours a day "attending to child-rearing and household responsibilities," according to a new survey by Reach Advisors, and roughly half of Gen-X fathers spent three to six hours daily on such tasks, another big increase.
Meanwhile, student marijuana use, which rose sharply in the 1990s, is on the decline, as is binge drinking. The juvenile murder rate fell 70 percent between 1993 and 2001; burglary is down 66 percent. Schools are safer, too.
What's going on here?
Hymowitz offers four explanations: 1) A "rewrite of the boomer years," with young people reacting critically to the world of sexual experimentation and family breakup and "earnestly knitting up their unraveled culture"; 2) The trauma of 9/11, which has made kids more patriotic and turned them inward toward the comfort of family; 3) The information economy, which has given young people greater faith in their own chances to succeed, especially through self-reliance and entrepreneurship; and 4) Immigration, which has produced what she calls a "fervent work ethic, which can raise the bar for slacker American kids, as any higher schooler with more than three Asian students in his algebra class can attest."
Whatever the reasons, the change in young people and their parents is very, very good news - which is precisely why so much of the media is ignoring it.
This is an interesting and valid point, I believe. Young people will be more positive, and make more responsible decisions, if they believe that they have the ability to shape their futures.
My older children are all planning toward careers that feature self-employment or owning their own businesses. I think it's important for parents to form an attitude of "I can!" in their children ... or as General Jackson put it, "You may be whatever you resolve to be." When any of our children proposes a goal or dream, we make a point of saying, "Great! And here are some steps YOU can take toward making it happen!"
Could you please write a book on raising children?
Until then, you can just send me hints like this through FReepmail!!!!
"[T]he change in young people and their parents is very, very good news - which is precisely why so much of the media is ignoring it."
The leftists in the media can't stand this stuff. To them it is bad news.
Anecdotally my experience confirms these trends. My own daughter is EXTREMELY conservative and, esp. since she is an only child, wants to have several kids. It will take some years to undo the damage done to our society over the many years of cultural "revolution", but I think the bad effects of this mostly and unfortunately fell on the children, and I think those children will ultimately do a lot to repair that damage and, hopefully, restore and maintain American values, like hard work and responsibility.
Yup!My husband and I are on the younger side of the Boomer group, and we have young kids (11 and 8). Consequently we spend a lot of time among younger parents and kids. I've definitely seen this trend. The youngsters are being held to a higher standard by their parents than we saw 10 or 15 years earlier, and their parents are very involved in their kids' daily lives. I'm very encouraged by what I see among the young people in America today. Interestingly, some of the adults don't see themselves as conservatives - yet. They're living it without labelling it. It takes time to change a culture.
Your children have a big advantage over many children these days - they have great parents!
I was born in '65, but I've never considered myself a Gen-Xer. I've always felt as though I was more akin to the Baby-Boomer gen.
I hope this is true about today's kids. I know it is for some. A good friend of mine has a 16 yr.old stepson that doesn't even care if he has a car, does great in school, and doesn't mind staying home on friday nights. He enjoys hanging out with his family.
It surely depends on the parents. It's likely that the smarter kids, with the greater expectations, are those children of parents who work hard and smart, own property, a portfolio, and care about their children's grades, and awards, and capabilities, etc. I still think that those from the affluent middle class background, if they don't descend into brattyness, feel they have been given the most and work most confidently to give something back, their entire lives. I think others find it more difficult. And I think some, those penniless who work at a dead end, might some of them find it even more difficult to even vote Rep, unless they also have the support of a large family where each plays the small role alloted.
But - yeah - you can see how anyone can generalize.
I could tell this from my two boys and their friends. They are very conservative. Part of the reason is that they HATE the 1960's hippy (especially the 55 year old one). They look upon anyone like that as the problem rather than the solution. The only thing that worries me is that they also have libertarian tendencies. I just hope that they don't act too much on that or they will become politically irrelevant.
Sounds like MY kids. My 23 year old son just got engaged June 24. They are my BEST friends now that they are adults.
I keep telling my kids that their generation will have to FIX everything that the Baby Boom Liberals have done to the country. We have become a welfare state womb to tomb.
Rush read this article on the air and I kept nodding as he went through the items. I am with you totally on this generation.
My youngest daughter just turned 20 and all of her friends and most of her classmates are conservative. All you have to do is look around Republican campaigns here in Oklahoma and see a bunch of kids helping out while the Democrat campaigns don't have a lot of young people and when they do they are negative for the most part.
It is totally refreshing to meet these young conservatives -- they are smart, articulate, and they have goals. Told my daughter about this article and she said it sounds like everyone she knows with the exception of one liberal she knows who gets on her nerves.
She was at her brother's fraternity Saturday night and someone mentioned they had seen 9-11 of Michael Moore and she launched at them when they said it was interesting. At that moment someone she liked became history in her life.
As president of my daughter's sorority parent club, I have met a lot of her sorority sisters and every last one of them fits this article -- great girls and it gives me a great hope for the future of this Country as these young people of today pursue their goals and make this Country a better place.
Hint for the day: When your daughters tell you they're going to be princesses when they grow up, make sure you encourage them to learn a marketable skill to use while they're waiting for the Prince. We've suggested to Elen that she could be a florist or orchid grower ... she'll be irresistable among the flowers when the Prince shows up!
Maybe we should get with Grellis to have you add a "Tip of the Day" to our Friday Kitchen table!
Bah, you don't need tips! :)
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