Millennials and Gen Z-ers are often described as lazy, entitled, stupid, selfish, dumb, crazy, lost, ignorant, spoiled, bad, sensitive, snowflake, annoying, and more.
This is according to SUNY psychologist Karla Vermeulen, author of the new book “Generation Disaster: Coming of Age Post 9-11.” The book looks specifically at people born between 1990 and 2001, but her conclusions are broadly relevant to folks under 40.
“I feel like our generation has been handed a bill for a party we didn’t get to attend.”
This statement is one of the main sources of anger at older generations, particularly Baby Boomers.
Raised in Fear: the Impact on Young Americans’ Mental Health
Younger Americans have been raised to believe that their leaders lie about everything, that the entire financial system existed to bail out big banks when they crashed the economy, that endless war is the natural state of things, and that they were about to be blown up by terrorists or shot during school at any moment.
The psychological effect of participating in lockdown drills in kindergarten, for example, has contributed to increased rates of depression, anxiety, and resentment.
Climate Change: the Existential Threat
But the biggest driver of Generation Disaster’s stress and anger, according to Vermeulen, are narratives about how climate change is about to destroy the planet in the very near future.
They talk about not thinking they will be able to have children or not wanting to have children because they don’t want to leave them this planet that they’ve inherited.
It’s hard for them to deal with because they feel like there’s so little they can do about it.
Towards a Productive Dialogue Across Generations
To address the anger and anxiety of Millennials and Gen Z-ers, Vermeulen suggests starting with respect and listening to their concerns, which are often valid.
She also emphasizes the need for fact-based discussions that take into account vast amounts of huge social, economic, and environmental progress that we either take for granted or politicians and the press ignore because it doesn’t fit their agenda.
For example, extreme poverty has been cut from 94% to 10% over the past two centuries, education and literacy have skyrocketed, racism, sexism, and homophobia have all declined, global life expectancy continues to increase and democracy is on the rise.
- Yellow Watermelon: Yes, It’s Real! Here’s Everything You Need to Know
- Japanese Flower Stamp Hand Soap: MyKirei- How $18 Soap Became a Viral Sensation
Davin is a jack-of-all-trades but has professional training and experience in various home and garden subjects. He leans on other experts when needed and edits and fact-checks all articles.