The millenials, a new generation born between 1980 and 1995, are entering the workforce and changing the rules of corporate America, whether you like it or not.
A 60 Minutes piece that was rebroadcast on Sunday really got us thinking about how the way we parent will affect our own kids' futures. It examined the millennial generation--a breed of workers who've never been told no and have grown up thinking they should be rewarded just for showing up. Today's college graduates won't settle and refuse to put their career above friends and quality of life.
Millennials expert Vanessa Van Petten, herself a member of this generation, says "tea cup parenting" is partly to blame. "So many parents today treat their children like we're delicate tea cups that can only be hand-washed and handled with absolute care," says the author of You're Grounded: How to Stop Fighting and Make the Teenage Years Easier. "But once we get out in the real world, we crumble the first time something doesn't go our way."
Momlogic also spoke with millennials expert and mom of three Bea Fields, author of Millennial Leaders: Success Stories from Today's Most Brilliant Generation Y Leaders, for her insight.
momlogic: Why are the millennials the way they are? Are moms to blame?
Bea Fields: In the early '90s, as a society, we went into a big self-esteem movement. All of the parenting books at the time suggested raising kids with a huge emphasis on praise and self-esteem. Boosting kids' confidence was our number one goal.
Moms did the best we could with the information we were given, but by sending kids the message that they would be number one all the time, we set up an expectation that life would always be that way. School and sports followed suit -- everyone got a blue ribbon, everyone got a trophy just for participating. There was much less emphasis placed on competition or winners and losers. But that attitude hasn't trickled down to the workplace, and that's where millennialls are getting into trouble. Many of them come in expecting a corner office and very high salary, but don't want to pay their dues to get there.
momlogic: What can moms of millennials do now to help?
Bea Fields: They need to step back. The helicopter parenting is crossing over into the workplace now. I've heard many instances of parents going to job interviews with their grown child, and then contacting human resources to negotiate contracts, or even to give HR an earful if their kid didn't get the job. This is popping up a lot. Parents need to take a step back and let their kids fight their own battles.
momlogic: What can moms of younger kids do now to make sure their kids don't act like this later?
Bea Fields: Moms should start kids early on chores and working for pay. But don't be too generous with the allowance. They should be paid basically minimum wage, because that's what they'll be getting once they do enter the workforce. By continuing to give kids things without them having to work for it, we're sending them the message that there's a goldmine back at home they can always tap into, so what's the point of working or paying their dues? Encourage manual labor, like yardwork and washing cars. This reinforces the lesson that not everything is easy. Once kids hit driving age, I strongly recommend they be expected to have a job outside the home. Volunteer work is also good, because it takes the emphasis off them and puts it onto another person. Finally, teaching your child practical skills like how to network with older people will help them once they hit the real world. Because they're so Internet-savvy, many kids are uncomfortable with face-to-face interactions that come so easily to our generation.
Attention, moms of millennials: Do you think the 60 Minutes piece was right on, or was it total BS?