Seventy-one percent of American adults think of 18 to 29 year-olds—millennials, basically—as "selfish," and 65% of us think of them as "entitled." That's according to the latest Reason-Rupe Poll, a quarterly survey of 1,000 representative adult Americans.
If millennials are self-absorbed little monsters who expect the world to come to them and for their parents to clean up their rooms well into their twenties, we've got no one to blame but ourselves—especially the moms and dads among us.
Indeed, the same poll documents the ridiculous level of kid-coddling that has now become the new normal. More than two-thirds of us think there ought to be a law that kids as old as 9 should supervised while playing at a public park, which helps explain (though not justify) the arrest of a South Carolina mother who let her phone-enabled daughter play in a busy park while she worked at a nearby McDonald's. We think on average that kids should be 10 years old before they "are allowed to play in the front yard unsupervised." Unless you live on a traffic island or a war zone, that's just nuts.
That's from my latest piece at Time. After noting various ways in which kid-coddling has become the new normal, I end on this cautionary note:
Whatever the reasons for our insistence that we childproof the world around us, this way madness lies. From King Lear to Mildred Pierce, classic literature (and basic common sense) suggests that coddling kids is no way to raise thriving, much less grateful, offspring. Indeed, quite the opposite. And with 58% of millennials calling themselves "entitled" and more than 70% saying they are "selfish," older Americans may soon be learning that lesson the hard way.