PORTLAND - A new study may have you looking at how the teens in your life measure up. It shows Gen Yer’s - or millennials - are more materialistic and less interested in working hard.
“What I find troubling, is the growing disconnect between wanting all these expensive things but not wanting to work hard to earn them,” remarked psychology professor Jean Twenge.
She analyzed responses from 15,000 high school seniors. The same questions have been asked of students that age for decades.
When they were asked how important it is to have a lot of money, 48 percent answered yes in the mid-1970’s compared to 62 percent in the mid-2000s.
“There’s so much new technology like iPads and smart phones and I think teenagers can get caught up in having the latest and the greatest,” said St. Mary’s Academy student Ellen Patterson.
When shown the statement "I don’t want to work hard," 39 percent of students in the mid-2000s agreed, compared to 30 percent in the mid-70s.
“The teenagers now are less likely to work overtime and less likely to say work is a central part of life,” explained Twenge, who wrote the book "Generation Me."
She also says the hunger for money actually peaked in the late 80s, during the "greed era" portrayed in the movie “Wall Street.”
“It has remained high today, but is not at the level it was back then,” she said.
What can parents take away from the findings?
“It’s a good idea to discuss what big-ticket items like cars and homes cost and discuss what they want to do for a career to support their desires,” advised Twenge.
It’s also helpful to encourage a strong work ethic and to make teens earn what they want.
“I was taught to do my own laundry in second grade,” remembered St. Mary’s student Alexandra Daly, “I wasn’t allowed to just fall back on my parents.”