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August 13th, 2009 by Dr. Phil

Generation Me

dollarsI’m reading a book entitled Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled — And More Miserable Than Ever Before, by Jean M. Twenge, Ph.D.  It’s pretty interesting, actually.  It deals with a concept that we’ve talked about on the show in the past; that we seem to have a generation of entitled children.

I find this particularly interesting because we are kind of at a “crash point” right now, because we are in such an economic turndown. Most parents cannot even almost meet the expectations of kids — be they 5 or 25 years of age — because with job loss, housing foreclosures, gas prices through the roof … etc… it’s tough enough just to make ends meet!

But it’s more than just about money. It appears that we’ve lapsed into a phase where we reward children just simply for existing, rather than for achieving or performing.  If you don’t think so, just follow a Little League baseball team or a small fry basketball league, and you’ll see that every kid on the team gets a trophy at the end of the year, regardless of whether they ever won a game or even scored a run or a basket. Now I’m all about building self-esteem, but doesn’t there have to be some connection between conduct and confidence, performance and reward and between choice and consequence?

And I guess the real question is: Is it too late? Or, do we need to shift into some serious “re-parenting,” where we make sure that we instill in our kids an understanding of how the world really works?  You may let your kids get away with murder because they are “absolutely the most precious, wonderful, cute and adorable” little tykes who ever walked the face of the earth, but when they get in the dog-eat-dog real world of competition for grades, jobs and advancement in life, they may be in for a shock.  Is it possible that we are cheating, and in fact, crippling our kids by giving them too much in exchange for too little?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this.  In fact, as I’m writing this, I’m deciding that we need to do a show on this topic, and have a good, honest dialogue among parents.  So if you want to participate, leave a comment, and be sure to share your thoughts here

Maybe you’re someone that recognizes a problem and needs help, or you’re someone who wants to debate the topic. Either way, let’s get together.

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327 Responses to “Generation Me”

  1. Ron says:

    Dr Phil,

    To say I was disturbed by the show on “Entitled Children” would be SO FAR understated as to not even be an option.

    I was glad to see that Erica (?) had made the progress she appears to have made – BUT the other guest Josie (and her Mother) have BOTH left reality behind… about 28yrs ago in Josie’s case, and judging from the look of her mother – I’d say about 70yrs ago in her case !!

    It is absolutely UNBELIEVABLE to me that ANY parent could possibly CHOOSE (as proven by her Mother’s support and defense) to raise their children to be SO out of touch with reality, so unprepared to deal with life in ANY way as adults, and so
    determined to continue following their “fairy tale Jewish Princess” outlook REGARDLESS of the reality that she SHOULD realize looks back at her in the mirror every morning BEFORE she slathers on the makeup and does her best to find the shortest skirt she possibly can to try to show off that “attractive” body of hers.
    Of course, this description is all a waste of time – as she is SO FAR OUT OF TOUCH WITH REALITY that she will without doubt find a way to consider it a compliment. LOL !!!

    I’ve met some of the entitled “Princess” types over the course of my 51 yrs, but listening and watching Josie actually turned my stomach – Hope she can find her “A-List” Director who is rich, handsome, yada, yada AND both BLIND & DEAF – because that’s the ONLY way she will find one who would be interested in waking up to someone who looks like her (especially in those clips that showed what is REALLY under all that makeup) – and he’d HAVE to be totally deaf to put up with that CAUSTIC WHINY PERSONALITY (if you could even call it that)

    Hopefully she will accept some SERIOUS help from you – as it’s OBVIOUSLY not going to be offered by her Mother – and it’s this type of beliefs that likely will lead her to drug, alcohol, or other problems later when she realizes just how screwed up she really has been all her life…That is, if it doesn’t wind up causing her to end her life the way Anna Nicole Smith (who she OBVIOUSLY ALREADY thinks she is) chose to do.

    Best of luck to both girls !!!

    Ron

  2. Sonya Gerch says:

    Dear Josie,
    My name is Sonya and I am also a Jewish woman from former Soviet Union. Now I live in NY. I really think that you are smart and very beautiful Jewish girl. Everything that you said on this show could be related to me when I was your age. You are amazingly brave and I do know how were you able to hold all the pressure from that beach. Your mom Alla was absolutely right about her-a drug abuser her name is. I would like to know more about you and I support you and your mom 100%!!! My e-mail is believeitsonya@yahoo.com Wishing you and your mom all the best and go for your dream, and I believe in you! Sonya

  3. Sarah Stanich says:

    The show with these ladies has been on my mind since I saw it. I don’t remember her name… but the self declared Jewish Princess is the one I want to direct my comments about. If I were to meet her in person, there is no doubt that she is not someone I would be friends with because her energy is so negative. However, I really feel like you guys set her up for failure by having her intern for that lady. That lady was so rude to her on purpose because she wanted to teach her a lesson. She wanted to fire her before she even walked in the door. I feel like you guys totally set up the Princess for failure and … I was shocked that everyone seemed okay with that. You guys talk a lot about bullying and honestly, that’s what you did to the Princess. You just wanted to put her in a place you knew you could knock her down from, and, I thought it was shameful. If the point is to teach that lady something about being a real lady, you didn’t do it. I think the only point was to knock someone down. And the fashion lady who fired her, I bet that she thought that would be much more fun than it was. I would also bet that she still thinks about it. And I bet it actually feels like crap. Because all she did was make that girl feel bad about herself… and how exactly does that help anyone?

  4. Lori says:

    Dr. Phil,
    I also have read “Generation Me” and found it interesting. I teach college freshmen, and so, the read was very relevant. I believe Twenge is totally correct in her assessment of the current generation. I will tell you, my teaching has had to change based on this generation. I am also very interested in the research by Marc Pensky on how the brains of these students function differently due to their constand stimulate as children.
    Fascinating stuff….

  5. Toni Berlingette says:

    Josie is a discrace

  6. Pam Michailakis says:

    Hey Dr. Phil, I can’t believe that Josie really doesn’t think she’s being rude and obnoxious! Unfortunately her mother and father raised her that way, but you’d think that at 28 years old she’d realize that she’s hurting peoples feelings. All I can say is the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!
    Sincerely,
    Pam Michailakis

  7. kevin says:

    this statment is for the current show. Please tell me that this is for show. Not knowing how to fold?? I hope this is for show

  8. Anita Rotella says:

    I feel that they were not told no or disciplined. They grew up with the government telling the parents how to punish their children. Therefore parents just gave them what they wanted for fear of being accused of child abuse. Parent also bought all the toys out there for them so they did not learn to work/earn what you want. I grew up with being punished and I only got toys or things that I needed, not wanted. I had to save money for anything I wanted. Kids are not taught this.

  9. pamela says:

    I think these two girls are a disgrace their parents should be ashamed that they arent preparing these girls for life. I think this is a disgrace. I recently loss my husband he passed away from a stroke and I am struggling to raise my teenage daughter age 15 and young daughter age 11. to be respectful,educated ,girls who can take care of themselves and not be airheads like these girls are. I am very embarrassed for them both..

  10. terry says:

    Well, there is no question, both sets of parents have failed their children miserably, and smile coyly while they are shown that fact on the show. I can’t imagine that it is possible for anyone to be that out of touch with the real world. AND, she probably thinks that all of the comments on this blog today are great, because they put her in the media limelight. I mean, when the commercial came on between segments of the show, the furniture company that advertised was selling an eight piece bedroom set for $799. Does she not watch the commercials in those reality shows she aspires for? Good god!

    These extreme wackos aside, we are definitely raising a society of entitled children, its just that most of them are on a different value scale than these girls. I teach school, and even in the $50,000 a year families, the attitudes of kids have eroded. I teach art, and they are totally indignant if they are required to clean up a speck that was not theirs at the end of class. They have no concept of a group effort. In fact, being required to stay in a seat is an affront to them. This is a problem. Whether they are on a grand scale selfish and self centered, or they will not assist in an effort for the greater good, there are big problems out there. We need to stop giving them the trophies!!!

  11. Mallory says:

    I can not believe what a disservice these parents did to their children. I am the same age as these women which is twenty-seven. Not only do I hold a bachelors degree in education and got married while I was a student. I then decided to go back to school to become a physician’s assistant. I am a full time student, a part time worker in an emergency room, a mother of a thirteen month old child as well as a wife. I think these girls should spend a day in my shoes then they would be able to see the world is looking for people with good work ethics as well as skills. I plan to raise my daughter to earn things in life not by handing them to her!

  12. terry says:

    Good point by Sarah about setting the Princess up for failure, and questioning whether it was bullying, I do think it was. The woman who was there to teach her was a bit too flippant, but Erica had so much to learn, it was so shocking to me I probably would have reacted the same way. And Erica was so unabashed about her lack of knowledge, and proud of her extravagances, I was wondering whether it was fake.

    Josie was just caustic. Ron, love the BLIND and DEAF comment!

    So, this show did not have much to do with the problems and issues surrounding our entitled younger generation, and they are REAL, but it was good entertainment at the expense of two women that were too dumb to realize it. They may have some raw intelligence, but it does not show. Their parents failed them.

  13. maryfrederickson says:

    Dr. Phil I would like to tell you about my Grand Daughter Heather,
    My Daughter and I have raised her. She was born the same day that Grand Dad died of Pancreatic cancer 1991. (Her Dad was a Dead Beat Dad) Who never came around until she was eight years old. Heather started working at Pa Pa Murphy’s Take and bake Pizza when she was a Junior in highschool, She has gone to Blue Mountain Community College Pendleton OR for two years, 23 miles one way where has been an Ambassador for the college, so as to get her tuition paid for. She has worked at the Pizza Store for the last four years. She just quit the Pizza Store to go to work driving a Very large Pea Harvester for a local food processing plant. She gets up at 4:am to be bussed to the Pea fields (no she is not spanish) and works until 7:pm. She is engaged to be married June 2012 To a very nice man that has a Masters Degree in Diesel Engineering working for RDO John Deere Equipment Co. Her former boss discribed her as a leader- not a follower. SHE WAS TAUGHT TO DO FOR HER SELF. If we died she will be able to take care of her self. Do people think of that senario ? Thank You Grandma Mary

  14. Annie says:

    I believe the problem began in the 1980s in the educational system as a result of a theory that a child with a healthy self-esteem is better able to learn and will become a well educated child.
    The theory, once put into practice, created a massive shift in the overall objective in education from a performance based method to a behaviorally based agenda with the emotional experience of school as a focal point.
    Parents were urged to praise the slightest positive behaviors in children and ignor bad behavior as if it never occurred. Competition for academic proficiency was seen as emotionally unhealthy for children. Children were praised equally whether they performed or not. Children with the poorest performance were made to feel equally as good about their school day as the child who worked hard for grades.
    This theory effectively did away with work ethic and cultivated a social nightmare of young adults who are unable to motivate themselves and are completely unprepared to meet the demands of a workplace if they could become motivated.
    I completely disagree with this type of theory. I think it is arrogant to assume that one person can “build” the self esteem of another. Self esteem naturally comes after working hard towards a goal and accomplishing the goal. Second graders have not had the suffucient opportunity in life to accomplish any mastery in education, thus the self esteem is just as immature as the brain is. It cannot and should not be a focal point in early childhood education. I believe we need to bring competition back to the classrooms. Children are by nature competative and it provides a motivating factor which leads to developement of self esteem and the esteem of peers.
    I think the agenda for educators should be helping children learn rather than getting involved in the child’s personal and emotional psyche.
    Annie, Dallas, TX

  15. Kathy says:

    Once upon a time, when I was a young woman, a wise person told me that everyone should have one more child than they can afford. Then the children will be raised with love and not money.

    I feel for these girls who have not learned the true values necessary for a rich and fulfilling life. MONEY is not one of them.

    Perhaps, they should get a reality television show. One that puts them into the real world with only the funds they earn.

  16. Akami Johnson says:

    I believe in todays society it is ok to spoil your children to a certain degree. The guests on the show were way beyond spoiled. The parents were so out of touch with reality they did not even realize that they harmed their children more than help them. God forbid anything tramatic happen in their lives that would cause them to go through financial hardships all of them would probably commit suicide. It does not benefit children to be spoiled and lack basic fundamentals that help average people make it day to day. Let’s be realistic know one lives on fantasy island no matter how much they would like to pretend. You to teach your children to have common sense. As far as the first guest she was just living in dumb blondes ville sad to say. The other guests were truely prejudice the moment they admit it the better people will be able to deal with them. Only a prejudice person keeps track of what kind of race of friends they have. Here is an example when she said I have african american frieands asian friends but only jews should marry jews. Haha I had to laugh they will never know true love if they base it on race or religion. Real love has no color no religion and no boundaries.

  17. Ron says:

    I find it so hard to believe that you said that you will do another show on these girls. Actually you may have promoted them to the point that they should have their own soap opera, easily named “As The Stomach Turns”.
    How do you think that you can help them. The mothers will not allow it. PERIOD.
    Maybe I missed something, but where were the gutless and whipped fathers and husbands at. If you do (and I hope you don’t) another show on these four, please, invite the husbands and/or fathers on the show. Of course that would with the ladies permission. Could make for some interesting script.
    Where does Erica get off wearing the crown? Princess of what country? Pretty woman and that is about it.
    As for Josie. She is hidious in every way. I don’t believe the garbage that came out of her mouth. If she were the last woman on Earth and I were the last man civilization would end. What a waste of air! I could never imagine her going on to become a nurse. Could you just see her emptying a bedpan. OMG That would need to be filmed and put on YouTube. It would probably be hilarious.

  18. Kids, or young adults, have little or no respect for themselves; all be it, anyone else. They lack social skills that are taught at at a very young age for most of us. Not to say that I’m better than others but I understand the meaning of respect. If image is all you have to offer in your life then wait 10 years, suddenly that vanity mirror will be your worst enemy to say the least. If you have to ask someone if they think you are attractive, then you’ve exposed your lack of self-confidence! Trust me, if time or gravity doesn’t make you change the way you think, then I hope you enjoy the time you will be spending alone with yourself.

  19. Joy Muter says:

    I think Josie is one of the most disgusting people I’ve seen. She says she has a mster’s degree but she acts like an uneducated, but extremely entitled person.
    Her Jewish ideology is so against the practice of everyday Judaism. I am Jewish and she has insulted me over and over again.

    She needs to practice Judaism: all people are created equal, respect others and you would have them respect you. I hope never to see a show with her one it again.

  20. I started watching The Bachelor: Rome when Erica was on it and stopped watching it that season because she totally made me nauseous. Everything has to be about her and she needs to spend a week in the REAL WORLD. As for Josie, she’s even worse than Erica and I’d like to teach her a thing or two about life. IF Jewish women act like she does, it’s not wonder that Jewish men look for wives elsewhere! Who would want to have to live with that for the rest of their life, especially if she goes the way of her mother. Sorry Dr. Phil. I had to change channels today because I couldn’t stand to watch spoiled little rich girls who don’t have a clue what the REAL world is like or know how to survive in it.

  21. elli tailor says:

    I can’t believe that an intelligent and sensible person like you will give airtime to spoiled, stupid girls. What a waste of my time watching this spectacle

  22. Val says:

    I totally agree with Tom’s comments above.

    Coincidentally, my son (who is now 30 and an ‘almost’ step-dad – soon to be married) was telling me this morning about some of the younger men in his profession and their opinions and standards…totally entitled. My son calls it the “me” generation.

    It appears the parents of our up-and-coming adults are dismally failing in their parental duties by not teaching the concepts of compassion, consequences and, heaven forbid, respect. When teachers today are having to deal with students telling them to f— off when asked to complete an assignment, etc., no wonder so many are changing their minds about teaching.

    My husband and I had our children later than most, but did our best to instill the values to enable them to be responsible citizens. I am absolutely against corporal punishment in schools, but I have to tell you, I think when the powers that be took away the ’strap’ they did a grave disservice to our future citizens. In elementary and junior high school as well, receiving the strap for serious violations was a most viable threat, one which no one wanted to test out. It was that fear of the strap, the implications, both embarrassing at the time, but most seriously how your parents would deal with it, made you respect its existence and reflected majorly on your behaviour.

    I wish our parents of today would literally smarten up, stop caving at the slightest whine and act like the adults they profess to be.

  23. Vickie says:

    Wow, How sad that there are women in this world that still think that outward features are whats important. I am a Christian and the Josie was a disgrace to the Jewish culture. They are lovely, devoted, and wonderful people and I was embarased by her. We as older women , mothers and grandmothers have a resposibility to younger women, to teach them honor and self esteem,( not narsicism, ) and basic house hold duties, I also think we should teach our son’s the same. Shame on the Mothers that only nurture the superficial side of being a woman.

  24. Paula says:

    Josie: First of all, no Jewish producer is going to want an ex-Playboy bunny for a wife, your image is ruined for life, get real now. Secondly, you are abusive and very disrespectful. You think that everyone should look up to you and you should look down on everyone, you are oh so wrong.

    Your mother should cut off the apron strings and help you grow up and stop enabling you to be so spoiled and snobbish. You are cheap looking, smart-mouthed and trust me, no man is going to want you. You think that you have alot of self-esteem, but actually you are afraid of being less than. You are full of fear and that’s why you criticize everyone else is because you are fearful that you are getting older and will never ever land a “Jewish rich producer”. HA !! Dream on, girly

  25. Tracey says:

    I think it is completely unfair to label an entire generation the “generation me” it is a stereotype and discrimination. I am 25 I am not a member of facebook, bebo, tweeter or any other social network. I do not feel entitled or that others are inferior to me. My dreams are not of fame or wealth but of my own home, a good job, and the love and health of my family and friends. I’ve worked since leaving school and have recently put myself through tertiary study I was able to get a position related to my studies but it was only a maternity cover. Now that the maternity cover has finished I am looking for another job. I have been applying to positions put have not been considered for any because of my lack of experience and I believe part of the reason is no one is willing to take me on is because of the impression that many have of people my age caused by the label “generation me”. I don’t deny that there are “generation me” types of people I’ve worked with them and I know some but I am sure I am not the only hardworking and level-headed 20 something. My message is please keep an open mind to the youth of today we are not all the same.

  26. Marianna says:

    Mel- I can totally unrtdseand. We only have 1 child and I had to “shake the sugar tree” for that one! I got my tubes tied 4 years later after having a miscarriage and I was only 29. I was told by my dr’s not to get pregnant because I am on chemo pill form, and will be for awhile–possibly the rest of my life. I resent the fact that we could have started a family earlier and that a part of me always thinks my hubby got what he truly wanted in the end while I have this devastating disease and now grief from becoming sterile to deal with. I get tired of people telling us we can adopt, my husband and I don’t have the time or money to do that and once you’re sick, they classify you differently for that. Anyways, I’m so sorry and I wish I could hug you! I truly know how heartbreaking it is and I always wonder “what if”. Also, it’s not any easier knowing you can’t have more children because you have a god awful disease either.

  27. Nicki says:

    Come on they have mental isuses. Did God tell them to be Adam and Eve? The older children are being the parents and all the real parents care about is having the next kid.Plus they are making money off the show so, they keep having kids to prove they can and make more money off the show.Anyway they deserve what they get. Life has a way of coming back and biting you in the butt. And it just may do it. Plus when their kids are adults are they going to remember their parents? No, they are going to remember doing their parents job for them.They’re sick in the head.

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