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The Psychology Behind Generational Conflict

Our flawed memory

Sometimes older people mistakenly remember kids in the past as more accomplished.

And todays youth will likely consider the generation after them to be deficient.

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Defining Millennials
Defining Millennials

Millennials were born between 1981 and 1996.

Similar to how baby boomers were named after an increase in birth rate after World War II, millennials were named beca...

Major characteristics of millennials
  • Millennials are the children of baby boomers and were raised with the mindset of 'We want it to be easier for our children than it was for us.'
  • Millennials were around for the rise of the internet and came to age alongside the internet. A good way to describe millennials is technology-dependent, not technology-savvy.
  • Millennials got hammered by student loan debt, which was then compounded by the Great Recession. The results are years of economic struggle and delayed major milestones such as starting families and buying houses.
  • They were the first to force others to break stereotypes of their generation.
What defines Gen Z

The children of Generation X are known as Generation Z. They were born between 1997 and 2012. Gen X's main parenting goal was to raise their children so they do not end up like millennials.

Gen Z turns to the web for everything, from entertainment to news. They choose the entertainment of YouTube or TikTok over traditional outlets and spend about 50 hours per week on social media.

The two tales about houses

The one story we tell ourselves about homeownership is it is a path to a more stable, equitable future. The idea is that it is a responsible decision that requires commitment and hope. It is center...

Owning a suburban home

The idea of owning a suburban home was fed to Americans by people in power: Suburbia has always been suitable for industry.

Big houses = big appliances. This fed the coal, steel, and automaking industries. With it came cars and oil that made the postwar American suburb possible. It is all as much a creature of government as of the market.

Reconsidering the suburban house 

The climate crisis and carbon dependency make potential homeowners reconsider the effects of suburban sprawl.

The September 11, 2001, terrorist attack and the market crash of 2008 sowed a sense of instability and propagated fears.

Exercise was not necessary until the mid-20th century
Exercise was not necessary until the mid-20th century

Most people didn't see exercise as necessary until the mid-20th century. Food scarcity meant people didn't overeat, and it didn't make sense to try to burn off the calories.

Ho...

The start of the exercise culture

The exercise culture in the U.S. only took off after World War II.

  • After a 1955 report showed that 57.9% of American kids failed one or more of six physical fitness tests - versus about 8 % of European kids - an executive order was issued to create the President's Council on Youth Fitness.
  • In 1960, President-Elect John F. Kennedy wrote that the increasing lack of physical fitness is a menace to society. This push for fitness led to an expansion of the President's Council on Youth Fitness.
Entrepreneurs played a key role in establishing the fitness industry

Some entrepreneurs and trainers played a vital role in the rising exercise culture.

  • Health clubs were popularized by the Vic Tanny Gyms chain.
  • Weight-lifting for women was popularized in the 1930s and 1940s by female-bodybuilder Abby "Pudgy" Stockton.
  • In 1974, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act paved the way for women to go out and sign up for exercise classes on their own.
  • In the '60s and '70s, exercise became a more accepted and celebrated pursuit.
  • The '80s and '90s saw the expansion of a conversation about diet and fitness.