It’s the generation raised on life lessons of Reality Bites’ pizza, deeply wounded by the suicide of Kurt Cobain, empathized immensely with Eraserhead’s “Pare Ko,” and managed to figure out the hidden acronym behind S-a-n M-i-g-u-e-l B-e-e-r P-a-l-e P-i-l-s-e-n.
(If you must know, it’s Sa Amin Nayon May Isang Gwapo Uminom E Lasing Pati Ako Lasing E Pati Ikaw Lasing Sige Enuman Na.)
They’re part of an era that’s been referred to as the bum generation; the age of grunge, a nation of slackers, and all imaginable phrases that best describe an emotional lazybone.
Until recently, with anyone barely noticing, the so-called Generation X have started to enter their 40s. These kids, born between 1965 and 1979, now occupy and are starting to dominate a huge tract of the parent demographic.
The good news is that they tend to overachieve when it comes to parenting. The New York Times, citing a study titled ”Generation X Parents: From Grunge to Grown Up,” said that GenX parents seem to have ingrained a more family-centered set of values than their Baby Boomer predecessors. Today’s moms, for instance, spend more than 12 hours a day to child-rearing and household responsibility, which is almost a throwback to or perhaps a hybrid of the pre-war era of motherhood.
More than half of dads these days devote three to six hours daily to home affairs. Only 39 percent of baby boomer fathers could say they are able to do this.
But there apparently lies the problem. GenXers have become a sort of parents who are constantly consumed with guilt. Their devotion is a reflection of what they wanted to have back when they were growing up with their career-obsessed parents. One can sense that they’re just doing the opposite of what their parents did whenever they put much effort in attending PTA meetings, providing the latest gadgets, and purchasing apps to help their kids learn better. Their measure of being excellent parents lies in their ability to supply the “cool” that kids these days are getting.
How do today’s kids see all these? Celebrity financial adviser Suze Orman gives a rather disturbing imagery. She said children today understand money through the concept of the ATM. For them, whenever they ask for something, all mom and dad have to do is go to that magical machine called the ATM that, like magic, churns out cash to buy the items they want.
The guilty form of parenting many GenXers do could, in fact, be raising a generation of spoiled rotten kids. “I see this a lot with divorced families; both parents are so guilt-ridden they lose the ability to say no to anything their kid asks for. Then when that kid is out in the real world on a low starting salary, she has no sense at all of financial restraint and thinks she still has to have everything right now,” Orman wrote in her blog.
There’s nothing wrong with involved parenting. But doing so within the context of guilt is not exactly being good parents; it’s overcompensating. Orman advised today’s parents to go beyond providing material things and start handing out kids with real life lessons about money. The lesson should start by being good examples.
“Children who watch parents do stuff like ring up huge credit card bills buying goodies and vacations they can’t afford tend to dig the same financial holes themselves as adults,” she said.
Another idea from Orman involves a complete overhaul of the allowance concept. For her, the blind dole out of money represents a missed opportunity for children to understand and appreciate the concept of managing money.
To make kids understand that money is earned and not handed out, parents should start calling allowances as salary. Children should know that the money they’re getting is payment for, say, doing house chores. Younger kids can be paid daily if they do their jobs right.
When they enter their early teens, schedule the payment of “salary” on a weekly basis. Introduce also the concept of taxes by deducting about 10 percent off their stipend. Tell your kids that this is the deduction meant to cover the cost of living in the house.
“Ten percent of their salary isn’t really going to cover much, but the idea here is to teach them what the real world is like,” she explained.
By the time kids turn 16, parents should start adopting a monthly pay period. This should teach lessons about managing bigger amount of money, avoiding being one-day millionaires, and just learning how to budget their expenses.
Are you a GenXer parent who’s also guilty of providing your kids too much? Do you think Suze’s salary system for kids could help them become financially stable when they become adults? Share us your thoughts in the comments.