Open Question: Millenials – The Breakdown of Social Responsibility?

generation y responsibilityMillennials (also known as Generation Y) is the generation of people born between the early 1980s and the mid ’90s. This group is currently in their early 20s to mid 30s.

Millenials –myself among them– have been both hailed and criticized. This generation introduced digital technology on a massive scale, yet has also been seen to have a greater sense of entitlement and lack of concern for others than previous generations.

One criticism, which I happen to believe is true of this group, is that it is the Peter Pan Generation. This set, particularly the males, simply does not want to grow up and assume the responsibilities of adulthood such as career, marriage, family, and planning for a future beyond the next few months. It is not uncommon to find a 31 year old who has made little to no headway in establishing a career and still considers themselves “too young” to be tied down with a spouse.

When the eldest segment of Generation Y was in their early 20s, everyone believed they would grow up by their late 20s. Now, in their early 30s, many are still of the mindset that they are young and have much to explore before settling into a boring life of work and family. Some have one without the other — a career but no interest in a settled life of marriage/civil union or family, children but no interest in marriage and no career prospects.

I believe this global lack of responsibility has real consequences for the future. Innovation and individuality is to be embraced. However, the lack of any true concern for the foundations of most societies — home, family, and hard work, can upset the order and welfare of society as a whole, causing a ripple effect which cultures may never recover from. Future generations need a solid base from which to grow and form their own lives as adults, yet it seems that Generation Y may not provide that.

What do you think? Is Generation Y, especially the males of this generation, afflicted with Peter Pan Syndrome? If so, what do you think the causes are and what will the consequences be?

14 thoughts on “Open Question: Millenials – The Breakdown of Social Responsibility?

  1. Do not worry, if generations Y and later do not take responsibility for society, the tail end of generation X will be more than happy to take responsibility and assume all power like a dictator. The generations before X are all aging and becoming senile, can’t hold onto power forever. X will be very glad to order Y and younger around and will think and act on their “behalf”. X will tell Y how to think, when to think, and if to think.

  2. The Peter Pan Syndrome is not only limited to Generation Y. Many in Generation X and some in the earlier generations also did not want responsibility or settle down in what is the acceptable developmental sequence in life.

  3. L,

    Yes, I think Peter Pan Syndrome can affect anyone of any age. I’ve also heard late Gen X referred to as “in betweeners”.

  4. I think a little from column A and B. I think that with society being so open now people do not settle like they did before. You can connect with and date someone on the other side of the world if you really want to and then go set up a life there much easier than you could in the generations before us. However, I think that we get a bad rap, assuming that we are all entitled and want to work as little as possible but have the same or more than our parents had. We, well I just want a decent life, I don’t want to be a reality tv star or famous in any way, I don’t want a million things. I just want a decent place to own and enough money to pay bills and travel when I can. I believe the majority of us want something along those lines but the systems in place are failing us and the generations before us have royally screwed it up. I think we do take responsilbility but I damn sure won’t for for mess that future generations have put us in now. I hope however to in some way help make it better but still acknowledging who steered us on to this path. I wish we’d all (across all gens) wake up and really collectively DO something for the health of the planet and societies. After all if we don’t even have a planet then none of this really matters. Sorry, rant over.

  5. R,

    ‘X will be very glad to order Y and younger around and will think and act on their “behalf”. X will tell Y how to think, when to think, and if to think.’

    Lol, too funny.

    I sure hope so. Early Gen X are the parents of Gen Y and it seems there is a bit of coddling on their end. There’s also the issue that Millenials have a large sense of confidence that everything they do (or not) is fine and don’t readily take advice from others. Some see this as a “New Age” where a lot of the old values on family, career, etc will, and need to be, reinvented.

  6. Melissa,

    I agree. Economically, Gen Y got the short end of the stick. Just at the time we were supposed to be starting our careers, things took a turn. That definitely needs to be taken care of. And of course there are many Millennials who have no interest in being grown children, myself included. It is startling though that many of my peers consider people at our age to be young still and so it “makes sense” that people have jobs and not careers, and want to date with no end goal in sight. I think if you’re nearing 30 and older, the “I’m young and need to live life” mantra is well, old.

  7. I read the Dr. Dan Kiley books The Peter Pan Syndrome and The Wendy Dilemma. They are directly related to this topic. Peter Pan in the male half and Wendy is the female half to dysfunctional relationships. Basically, everyone is just messed up and they can not be fixed easily. A full brainwashing, reprogramming, personality exchange could be the answer? If Humans and animals in general could be rebooted like a computer or other machine, then it would be more simple. Just switch the hard drives and you could have a whole new person.

  8. RL,

    If only such were possible! I don’t think the situation is irreversible but will probably take tons of work and self-awareness.

  9. ….that is, destroying all what my generation achieved and left as a legacy…..

  10. foosrock,

    You lot will survive. Stop winging and get on with it!

    See, that is the sort of initiative Millenials seem to lack. Lol.

    ….that is, destroying all what my generation achieved and left as a legacy…

    Already on it. 🙂

  11. The legacy no longer matters as world civilization is falling apart and will most likely fall someday. Think of the fall as a sort of “reset button” that will restart the building of the next version of civilization. The only things is the vast amounts of pain and destruction during the reset. There are some out there who would cheerfully rub their hands in glee as everything comes crashing down on everyone.

  12. There are some out there who would cheerfully rub their hands in glee as everything comes crashing down on everyone.

    Would that be the evangelists?. I keep hearing from some of them I stupidly used to call friends(they were ‘normal’ crazy once) that the end nigh and some guy’s coming….

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