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Kirsten Cockriel

Introduction to Sociology
February 10, 2014
Generation Gap
A generation gap is defined as the differences between people of a younger generation
and their elders. I was born in 1995, or in Generation Y; I would be considered a Millennial. My
mother was born in 1968, or in Generation X. Since we werent born in the same generation, my
mom and I are very different. Reasons for this are the way that things can change between
generations. However, even though there are many differences between our generations, that
doesn't mean they aren't alike as well.
First, family experience used to be very different than it is now. My mother has told me
stories of how different life was when she was a kid than it is now. For example, Generation X
had strict rules growing up. They didn't have the technology that children do now so they didn't
spend all their time on games or watching TV like children do now. They were also known as
latch-key kids, meaning that when they came home from school as children that their parents
would still be away at work. Both of our generations had mixed types of families such as blended
families, sing parents, and School life was a lot different than it was then, too. In Generation X,
as kids, they got more punishment in school than just detention after school like Generation Y
did more recently. Additionally, it was common for high school students to drop out of school
before they received their diploma in Generation X, but now the students are more expected to
graduate. As they grew up, women were more expected to get jobs in Generation X. In contrast,
the Millennial women have the option to be stay at home moms and it is more accepted. We
Millennial are also expected not to have motivation and to be lacking in work skills. But we are

also supposed to be more experienced and have more skills than previous generations, and we're
expected to be the most educated generation.
Next, the values that my mom believes in and that I am forming are different. Some of
the core values of Generation X are balance, highly educated, independence, self-reliance, life
balance, pragmatism, high job expectations, and they were very skeptical. Additionally, older
generations like Gen X are less likely than the new generation to be open to diversity. Values of
Generation Y that I believe in are things like achievement, tolerance, optimism, realism,
sociability, and diversity. Ultimately, I believe the generation I am in is more open to new things
than my mom's generation. I believe these values led to the attributes of our generations. For
example, Generation X craves independence and are willing to take on a lot of responsibility. On
the other hand, Generation Y, we are too dependent on technology and think that technology will
pave our way through life.
As a result of these values and attributes, our generations are very different in the
workplace and in politics. My mother, like a bunch of others, would say that Generation X has a
better work ethic than my generation. Which I believe is true for the most part. Thirty-seven
percent of Generation Y are unemployed, that is the highest that percent has been in decades. The
Millennial just have contrasting things that we look for in a job. Instead of seeing it as just a
job and a way to make money like Generation X, we want to make a difference. Generation X is
more likely to ask questions and want feedback while Generation Y is more likely to get things
done on their own. An additional result of our values is our political beliefs. Since my
generation is more open to change and new things, we have a varied approach to politics. While
Generation X would prefer for all of the old rules to stay put, Generation Y would probably vote

for the modern ideas. That is why the Millennials were Obama's strongest supporters in 2008,
when older generations were not so enthusiastic about him entering office.
In summary, there's always going to be a generation gap between the new generation and
their elders when new generations are born. The year my mom was born and the year I was born
is what defines us. Things change a lot over the years, and it is expected of us as humans to
change as well. But even though our generations are so different, they are also similar; we are
still one nation and one species, no matter the year we were born.

Works Cited
Barnes, A. Keith. Breaking Through Generational Stereotypes. (Cover Story). T+D 67.6
(2013): 30-33. Academic Search Complete. Web. 7 Feb. 2014.
Generational Differences Chart. West Midland Family Center. PDF File.
"Millennials: Confident. Connected. Open to Change." Pewsocialtrends.org. Pew Research
Center, 24 Feb. 2010. Web. 10 Feb. 2014.