15 Sep Baby Boomers and the Loss of Traditional Values (pt. 2)
The End of American Values and Way of Life
The American way of life as it has been known for centuries is in jeopardy. As a result of the actions of baby boomers and the continuation of the ideas that they have espoused in echo boomers (the children of baby boomers), American traditional values are in danger of becoming an historical afterthought. With the need for definitive social change, baby boomers took the helm of transformation; resulting in reform. But their actions also have had unexpected consequences that are only now being realized. The erosion of traditional values; specifically the demise of the traditional family structure, signals the end of the continuation of the American idea and way of life.
The traditional family structure – the so-called nuclear family – has been an American staple for generations. The nuclear family consists of a mother, father and children. The number of children is insignificant, as the number could be one or ten, or any number in between. The main requirement is that the family unit be able to sustain itself. This has been the traditional structure that constituted American households since the formation of the nation itself. While the roles of the various members have shifted over time, generally as a result of economic pressures, the fundamental structure remained consistent until contemporary times.
In the generations prior to that of the baby boomers, America was primarily an agrarian society. As such, it was common for every member to be involved in providing for the family. Fathers, mothers, and children all contributed to some degree in the maintenance of the family. One could argue that it was an economic and survival imperative for the family unit to be structured and function in this manner. It is instructive to note that whether this argument is accurate or not, the results were successful as America developed into a progressive society.
The industrial age began to change the economic dynamics as the nation shifted away for an agrarian society. With industry and better wages, there was another shift in the gender roles within the family structure. Mothers/wives, no longer needed to provide their labor for the maintenance of the family, and therefore shifted to a domestic role. The Father/husband became the primary provider for the family. The father/husband went to work, the mother/wife stayed home to care for the children. This was the life that was introduced to baby boomers. This is the life that would pass on the values and norms of the previous generations to the baby boomer generation.
Baby boomers grew up in this environment and found it wanting. Indeed, they would come to believe that many of the social injustices that the nation was facing were a direct result of this perceived constraining mindset. Women were saddled, they believed, to a situation that allowed for the continuation of male dominance and a minimization of a woman’s ability. Baby boomers, as time progressed, would actively set out to completely redefine family and its role within society. They were very successful.
A quick look at the empirical data is both insightful and alarming. In 1950, baby boomers were born into very stable homes. At this time, only about 6% of children lived in homes without a father. Baby boomers thus had the benefit of both parents, and subsequently well rounded upbringings. By 2004, the number of children in fatherless homes had mushroomed into as high as 35%! Over one third of today’s Americans are born into single parent homes. These are the children of baby boomers and their children’s children.
The situation for baby boomers and echo boomers is reaching critical proportions. The data is alarming concerning the affects of children being raised outside of a family structure. It is ironic that baby boomers have subjected their children to a lower social standard than that which they themselves had experienced. While boomers and their children have done remarkably well financially, educationally and medically – this house of cards was built on a foundation unable to sustain continued progress.
The psychological Article on Baby Boomers and the Loss of Traditional Values (pt. 2):The End of The American Way of Life?
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