This article originally appeared in The Havok Journal on 2 September 2014.
Before reading the recently-posted article College is Harder with a Princess Complex, I was a little anxious that the author was going to feed into the beliefs of older generations that the younger generations are bratty, spoiled, and over indulgent or better yet, defend that notion. After reading it, I felt the author addressed the internal dialogue she had over her own “princess complex” but didn’t take it any further; no exploration or conclusions were made in regard to said complex.
At first I felt that left the article unfinished but with further thought, it seemed completely appropriate. A college aged girl right smack in the middle of the very dilemma she is addressing; of course the article is unfinished, she isn’t finished experiencing or working through it!
I don’t claim to be an expert on the “princess complex” but I do feel it is a much larger issue that spans beyond college campuses. There tends to be a rift between older generations and younger generations, teenagers and 20-year olds in particular. As highlighted in my article, Teenagers: They’re Not Just Being Lazy, older generations seem to feel that today’s teens & early adults are lazy, lacking intelligence, and self-entitled. Is this accurate or is this just the time honored tradition of older folks and younger folks not seeing eye to eye?
Teenagers and early adults are making headway in the world in ways we’ve not seen previously. Exploring things like how to clean the ocean (which is truly amazing and needed) and making healthier food choices (despite having not necessarily been raised that way and/or educating themselves about the ways in which food itself has changed). Our younger generation is finding a way to take on worldly issues mostly because they have access to world-wide information, are open minded, and believe that they can do anything.
A young mind with the belief that it can do anything should come with a disclaimer though; warning: may seem self-centered and too dream-oriented/out-of-touch with reality. Younger generations are indeed intelligent and willing to work hard just not in the ways we’re used to seeing; spending hours doing research on the computer looks much more effortless than scouring the aisles of the library, but technology advances for a reason.
There is something to be said about the disconnect many teens and early adults seem to have though. I think a finger should be pointed but it is aimed in the wrong direction; teens are not unintelligent, they are, however, becoming emotionally unintelligent.
Emotional intelligence (EQ) is basically the ability to be aware of and manage one’s own feelings as well as have empathy. Sounds simple but many people lack these abilities and technology is making it harder to foster. Each generation seems to fall further into the technology-human interaction gap leaving us with emotionally unintelligent adults.
We aren’t making it easy to decipher what we, as grown adults (30 and up) want either. Be strong and independent but not arrogant. Love your body the way it is but be healthy but have curves. Love yourself enough to show it off but don’t actually do it. Be a boss but not bossy. Dream big but be realistic…you get the idea.
Ok, I’m with you but how does this tie into the “princess complex”?? Well, when we’re sending mixed messages to an entire generation who is lacking EQ, we’re kind of asking for what we’re getting from them. We’re confusing the crap out of them and then being frustrated that they seem so lost.
Having EQ would allow younger generations (or anyone, really) to truly know the difference between how one feels and how one acts. It is not a bad thing to feel that you deserve a great life, whatever you personally picture that to be. It is not wrong for anyone to feel they deserve to be treated a certain way. Emotional maturity is being stunted and as a result, younger generations are unable to tell the difference between feeling worthy and acting entitled.
How can this be remedied? For one, we, as parents, need to focus on our children’s EQ. Parents get caught up in teaching their children the ABC’s and counting to ten in 3 languages but ignore their child’s need to identify his or her own emotions. Emotional intelligence and empathy are not learned in the real world, they are taught and exemplified.
Are we, as parents, really setting a good example though? Again, look through the comments on pretty much any post about teenagers and early adults and you will see mean-spirited, rude, belittling comments filled with lies about “when I was younger I did farm work before and after school without a single complaint!” No; no you didn’t. You may have gotten up to do farm work but you also weren’t taking calculus in high school and you definitely complained about it.
The difference is, it wasn’t posted on the internet BUT just as teenagers are hiding behind a computer screen, so are we. We are expanding the gap by presenting ourselves as completely un-relatable and being as not understanding as possible. Many adults use the excuse of the “real world” for being that way. Is that how the real world is though?
Yes, if you mess up at work you will be held accountable but will it be in the same mean-spirited way with which we are trying to hold younger generations? We are not showing much emotional maturity ourselves yet expecting younger generations to be able to do it…perhaps we are suffering from “King/Queen Complex”.