While generational stereotypes don't apply to everyone, there are significant differences between how Baby Boomers (1944 to 1964), Gen X (1965 to 1980), and Millenials (1981 to 1996) were raised.
Baby Boomers tended to grow up in homes where one parent stayed home and the other worked outside of the house. Millennials are known for having over-involved "helicopter" parents.
Then, there's Gen X.
The smaller, cooler generation that, according to a 2004 marketing study "went through its all-important, formative years as one of the least parented, least nurtured generations in U.S. history."
Gen X was the first generation to be born during the divorce boom, so many were raised by single parents or in blended families.
They were the first generation that experienced both parents working outside the home. But, unfortunately, at the same time, childcare centers and afterschool programs had not yet emerged to a significant extent.
"There was a weak support network for children of working mothers," Cathy Sandeen writes in Continuing Higher Education Review. "Many members of Generation X were the infamous 'latch key kids' who stayed home by themselves after school until their parents returned from work.
Many Gen Xers had a feral-style upbringing which is looked down upon by both previous and subsequent generations. But it gave them a unique set of coping skills.
"Generation X were the resilient 'survivors,' who, though somewhat cynical, pessimistic, and suspicious, found a way to successfully negotiate their challenging social environment," Saneen continues.
So as health officials are encouraging people to stay in their homes and practice social distancing, it's Gen X's time to shine.
They were raised improvising after school snacks with what was left in the cupboards, entertaining themselves while unsupervised, and knew the dangers of opening the door to strangers.
Gen Xers on Twitter now feel deputized to show the rest of the world how to social distance with that special brand of Gen-X cool that Millennials could never achieve.
Social isolation? Gen X was born to do it.
Let me explain this is the most #GenX way possible pic.twitter.com/fF0OIkdU35
— NullPointerException (@NPE_0) March 14, 2020
My fellow Gen Xers,
May I suggest we call our rebel alliance-
The Breakfast Club?
No explanations necessary.
“Don't you forget about me...."#genx
— Meredith (@meralee727) March 15, 2020
I am #GenX. We perfected social distancing before it was trendy. I have no problem whatsoever with staying inside all day and entertaining myself and living off of snacks.
— Charles Metcalf Jr 🌹 (@RealCMetcalfJr) March 15, 2020
Where are my fellow Gen X er's at ? We are used to staying home sitting in our rooms listing to the radio . Only group that knows how to use tech but can live with out it. Iv been practicing being in quarantine my whole life . We dont fight boomers or millennial's #genx pic.twitter.com/cXLliuBgxV
— Brent"Big B"Butcher (@Bacongod1977) March 15, 2020
This was TV, online gaming, smart phones, and Netflix for #GenX
We've been waiting to be told to stay home for years. pic.twitter.com/kJQjQ8djBF
— Andrew Tumilty (@AndrewTumilty) March 15, 2020
'Latch key kid' skills are forever.
#GenX Made our lunch, got ourselves to school & home after w/the key around our necks. Did chores. "Helped" make dinner. Did the dishes then homework.
Boomer parents-"I'm so tired! I work all day! Cook for me! Clean for me! Now go away-see & not be seen!"
— WhyGawdWhy (@dismyaccount66) March 15, 2020
We are EXPERTS at being left unattended.
I could live off Flinstone's reruns and dry cat food for months.
— The Hoarse Whisperer (@HoarseWisperer) March 15, 2020
Amen, sister. “I'm goin to London for 3wks. There's some postdated checks on the fridge, some cream chipped beef in the freezer. Your brother's friend will check in on you once a day. Do your homework and stuff. Byeee!" “Whatever, ma." (Plops on couch, watches “Taxi Driver.")
— Chris Orbach (@chrisorbach) March 15, 2020
Another benefit of having been a latchkey kid is knowing how to make snacks out of just about anything. Graham crackers and frosting, anyone? How about canned potatoes with butter and ketchup? Or the old reliable, fried flour tortillas with cinnamon sugar? We got this!
— Lady Hellcat Wash yo paws! (@hellcat_lady) March 15, 2020
I remember when my parents decided I was old enough to leave me home alone for a week while they flew to Mexico in 1982.
I was 14.
— IrishJenn 🌊 🇮🇪🇺🇸 (@Irishjenn2005) March 15, 2020
It's time for the "forgotten generation" to lead.
As an X'er I feel like my whole life has led up to this important moment when my nation will call upon me to do nothing.
— Rob Rainbolt (@Rob_Rainbolt) March 15, 2020
My parents are brainwashed by Fox News. My kids are clueless without WiFi. We must lead the way, it is our time to shine. #GenX
— Fear & Loathing (@ghostaccount7up) March 15, 2020
My people, it's our time to shine! Let's just do what we do best, watch the boomers and millenials go at each other while we sit at home, safe, because honestly we're too fucking exhausted and pessimistic to go out anyway #GenX
— Veronica (@that_vero_girl) March 15, 2020
I see #GenX is trending.
We survived the Pepsi challenge, we got this.
— Ms Grace 🕷️ (@badgraciebabes) March 15, 2020
We are #GenX and we know what's up. pic.twitter.com/wZOSHs50jv
— Pete Cowles (@OpinionatedPete) March 16, 2020
Gen Xers are loving each other right now.
I love my generation #GenX https://t.co/UcmAxXK5pI
— Dina Parker (@RecruiterDina) March 13, 2020
Finally, some recognition 40 years later. Whatever. #GenX pic.twitter.com/MHW9V0Im40
— email@example.com (@Jason) March 15, 2020
When I see #GenX trending & they're all tweets about how fucking awesome & adaptable our generation is pic.twitter.com/r3Sz0lwAop
— ❄️Mikiran❄️ (@iammikiran) March 15, 2020
If you get this, you're Gen X to the core.
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