YspeopleExplore tab

Why are so many young people incompetent?


About Philosophically

I think, therefore I am.


Ever been frustrated by the Millennials in your life? You'll relate to this!

Why are we producing so many incompetent young people? This may just prove to be the most important question of our time.

Lacking basic life skills, but whose fault is it?  Picture: Shutterstock.

Lacking basic life skills, but whose fault is it? Picture: Shutterstock

Of course, the question is underpinned by the notion that we are producing incompetent young people - and more so than in the past. It also requires a definition of incompetent.

Let me address with the second issue first. Setting aside dictionary definitions, I am defining ‘incompetent’ as the ‘inability to function effectively and efficiently in the world, dealing well with the multitude of issues that life throws up, without the support of their parents’.

Read more from Philosophically Yours: Positive self-image, your greatest gift to a child

To the first point, Australian social psychologist Hugh McKay's research suggests that counselling 19-22 year olds through their first and second years away from home is not only one of the fastest growing areas of psychology, it is at almost epidemic proportions.

There is a saying that if a pre-war child was dropped in the bush, 300km from civilisation, they would find their way home, while a post-war Baby Boomer would find their way home from 160km and Generation X adults could navigate 40km, while Millennials would struggle to navigate 3.2km.

Millennials may have mastered the digital environment, but all too many seem to lack the skills to navigate the real world and all the challenges it has to throw at us.

Hugh McKay suggests that Millennials are arguably the least equipped group of adults to ever exist on this planet.

They often stay at home well beyond adulthood, needing the emotional and practical support of their family as well as financial support.

There is a great deal of evidence to demonstrate that they simply lack the skills to deal with everyday life issues, which previous generations never gave a second thought – many still takea parent to the doctors when they go, ask a parent for a lift to and from university, seek parental support in completing simple government forms, and consider any conflict in the work environment as bullying or intimidating.

They are taking more sick days and needing much more emotional support.

Why is this so?

McKay suggests that there are a number of contributing factors, including:

  • Parents, particularly mothers, communicating the view that perpetual happiness is a legitimate and achievable goal, and then doing everything possible to help their child avoid any stress or unhappiness.
  • Parents in general believing the myth that the world is so much more dangerous than it was when they were a child. As a result, they keep their child on a short leash at all times, preventing any danger and most challenges.
  • Parents, particularly mothers, wanting their child to have everything they never had and doing whatever is necessary to ensure this is delivered – taking away any sense of self-sufficiency that the child could develop.
  • Parents who organise every minute of every day of their child's life with sport, dancing, study, music lessons and the rest, leaving nothing to the developing imagination and no room for them to develop personal management skills.
  • To this list, I would add:

  • Schools creating an unrealistic view of the world with their everyone-gets-a-prize mentality. I have been to so many assemblies at so many schools where kids get awards for just breathing, as if this occurs in the real world.
  • The efforts of schools and parents to extract all potential conflict from a child’s life and label such conduct bullying, well before it is. Kids made to expect that life is all sweetness and light, that they can avoid bad things, told the bullshit that they can be whatever they want.
  • Political correctness and creating perceptions in the child that are not reality. A school teacher friend was recently told by a child that a boy in the playground would not share his toys with her – expecting, based on her mother’s comments, that the teacher would fix this. Fortunately, the teacher responded by suggesting that while the boy might not have been behaving well, the toys were his to do with as he pleaseds.
  • Young people are getting wrapped in cotton wool. Parents who think they are protecting their children are being selfish, condemning them to live with incompetence that will damage their quality of life.

    In addition to the issues I have noted above, these young adults are less resistant to illnesses, more likely to have allergies, more likely to have emotional problems, less socially equipped and more likely to suicide.

    When I was at school, I lived in the country. My teacher father used to kick we kids out of the house at 8.30am after breakfast on school holidays and tell us not to come back until lunch time. We would play in the bush and the river, and if we did remember to come back for lunch, we did the same thing in the afternoon.

    What's more, there were no more child fatalities then and there are less child abductions now. The only thing that is different is the competence of our youth as they enter adulthood.

    So tell me, has this been your experience? I'd love to know.

    Banner 2
    | Your rating
    No ratings yet


    Related stories

    Embrace training to stay relevant in an ever-changing workplace.

    How to stay relevant at work

     

    Companies are moving toward automation over human skills. Here's what you need to do to stay relevant at work.

    Money Work
    Expand
    6 months ago
    (Ys Comment)
    That desperation to ''know'' and be right can cause so much unnecessary conflict.

    When 'knowing' is dangerous

     

    Nothing starts more conflict than people ''knowing'' stuff.

    Community Politics Philosophy
    Expand
    9 months ago
    (Ys Comment)
    Do you trust politicians? Picture: Shutterstock.

    Why don’t we trust politicians?

    Here are my top five reasons that politicians are not trusted -- and they all relate to behaviour.

    Social Issues Politics Australia
    Expand
    9 months ago
    (Ys Comment)
    Who is going to make their country better for their children, if they don’t? Picture: Shutterstock.

    The real refugee question

    All three of the common arguments against refugees have ignorance at their root. But there is one question yet to be addressed.

    Social Issues Politics Middle East Australia
    Expand
    9 months ago
    (Ys Comment)
    Lines of people wait to collect natural spring water for drinking during the Cape Town drought.

    Water: a crisis in the making

    Cape Town is about to run out of water -- and 11 other major cities are facing the same plight. Horrifying, isn't it?

    Travel Environment Australia
    Expand
    10 months ago
    (Ys Comment)
    PM Malcolm Turnbull attends another military show of strength.

    Why the obsession with war?

    Why we must rethink our view of the military -- and care more for our returned soldiers.

    Community Politics Australia
    Expand
    10 months ago
    (Ys Comment)
    Finding your mythical purpose.

    Perhaps it's your 'fate' to read this post

    Why it pays to create your own purpose ... and other philosophical musings.

    Community Phhilosophy
    Expand
    10 months ago
    (Ys Comment)
    We have a beautiful country but is our national anthem accurate? (Image: Shutterstock).

    Australia's national anthem a disappointment

     

    As far as national anthems go, Advance Australia Fair fails to mean much to me. Here's why.

    Culture History Australia
    Expand
    10 months ago
    (Ys Comment)
    Boofhead and Moralising.

    F**k boofhead Barnaby and moralising Malcolm

    The grubbiness of the Barnaby Joyce affair shows there is pain ahead for many, including the good voters of Australia.

    Relationships Social Issues Politics Australia
    Expand
    10 months ago
    (Ys Comment)
    Shop safely from the comfort of home by following these simple rules.

    Shop safely online with these simple rules

     

    Wondering what all the fuss is about with online shopping, but scared of being ripped off? Don't worry, we'll steer you right.

    Money Technology
    Expand
    11 months ago
    (Ys Comment)

    Message board

    Derek, 6 months ago:
    I am great
    George, 6 months ago:
    What's up Thomas?
    George, 6 months ago:
    Messages are now updated in real time on other browsers.
    Thomas, 6 months ago:
    Hello
    Thomas, 7 months ago:
    Great!
    DJC, 7 months ago:
    Groovy!
    George, 7 months ago:
    Message board active from June 2018

    Have your say!

    Your Great Australians

    Trending stories
    When it comes to great bloggers you can connect with, this list has you covered.

    20 mature bloggers worth following

    Looking for Australian...

    (Entertainment & Culture) Over 1 year ago
    You could volunteer to help reintegrate elephants back into their natural environment on your next holiday to Thailand.

    Top 5 volunteering adventure holidays

    Are you looking for a...

    (Kindness) Over 1 year ago
    Off the chain.

    Strap yourself in, hang on for the ride

    Strap yourself in, hang on...

    (Pastimes) 9 months ago
    Saying thankyou will brighten two people's day.

    The power of saying thankyou

    There is incredible power...

    (Love & Relationships) 9 months ago
    Sex is as primal an instinct as eating, writes Subversive Sam.

    Sex is like food

    Religions and society are...

    (Love & Relationships) About 2 years ago
    Weekly Poll
    Photographic memories
    Hizgg0vzzqvwc9xicknk
    It's 35 years since the Ash Wednesday bushfires in South Australia and Victoria claimed 75 lives and more than 2500 buildings.