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We are generation Y!
2004/10/26
Rebellion, openness, aggressiveness, electronic music, avant-garde, dyed-hair and weird wardrobes characterize the Gen-Yers in China. Then who exactly are generation Y guys? It normally refers to people born after the mid 80's.

These postmodern people are mostly pragmatic, creative, strongly independent, self-reliant, and hard-working. They want desperately to believe in something, but have come to distrust almost everything the modern world has deemed important. Traditional notions of knowledge and learning are disdained and exotics are followed.

Well, these stereotypes may be too arbitrary. But this generation growing up in a fast changing and information-overload society does pose some questions to their parents and teachers. The traditional educational methods seem no longer to apply to them - they consciously try to shake off anything stemming from Chinese conventions.

Professor Wu Bing of the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences wrote a book called ‘Generation Y in My Home'. He describes the battles between him and his son Wu Ameng. Professor Wu says disagreement between children and parents is a social problem. Most of his friends quarrel with their children and somehow get frustrated or ruffled one way or another.

Wu Ameng went to Canada to study in 2000. One year later, their parents were excited about their son's return. The couple went to the airport to pick him up. Both of them were unwilling to accept the fact that their son had turned into a complete stranger, with hair dyed yellow with purple beneath. 'It was like,' the father jokes, 'a cake'. He could not believe that the boy now wearing four earrings on one side and colored tattoos all over his two arms was his dear son. Professor Wu was speechless.

So parents find themselves in a miserable, confusing situation: conventional educational ways by which they were brought up are no longer applicable to their children. Media-congested society has fed youngsters with so much information that they have built up their own ways of conduct and value systems, which result from the immense social changes but are often deemed rebellious by the older generation. Parents are having a hard time adjusting to this irreversible trend.

Famous writer Liu Yong from Taiwan said that when the generation gap is unavoidable, mutual understanding and respect should be pursued. Each generation has their own shared experience. Gen-Xers driving on the super-highway while the older generation are on a country road. They have different codes. Parents should show understanding to their children if they have obeyed the codes of the X Generation, which, though, are different from parents'. Gen-Xers' codes can be seen as resulting from peer pressure. If they are just doing something harmless but merely unconventional, parents should let them be.

Professor Hu Yushun from Capital Normal University expressed his understanding. He believes Gen-Xers live in a new environment in which new things keep popping up. In this colorful world, the parents' role is no longer to tell their children what's right and what's wrong. Children are eager to make their own choices, and parents need to teach them to tell right from wrong by themselves.

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