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It Is Not My Fault- The Generational Blame Game

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posted on Feb, 8 2013 @ 01:28 PM
I have seen this happening and decided to make this thread in hopes of helping end this issue. This does not only apply to generations, you could take this and apply it to politics and blaming previous administrations, but the focus here will be on blaming other generations for the state of things today.

Lets start with the obvious - We all perceive the world differently.

Instead of using displacement to shift the blame and point fingers, let us observe and learn.

We are all brought up differently and that poses many different variables to just lump everyone into a category by generation. We all come from different walks of life and were raised with different values and beliefs. For example, I was born in 82 to young parents (18 & 16) who never finished H.S. I was raised to appreciate what you have and if there was something you wanted, well then work hard to attain it (growth mindset, explained later).

You see, the focus should not be on what generation you are labeled as (baby boomer, gen x, etc..), but how you were raised. To break it down further would be to look at how your learning style was reinforced as a kid. This is the area we should focus on, our motivation to learn.

Our motivation to learn can be broken down into two factors according to the Self-Perception Theory: Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation

Some vocab to help those reading to follow along.

Intrinsic Motivation: The desire to engage in an activity because we enjoy it or find it interesting, not because of external rewards or pressures.

Extrinsic Motivation: The desire to engage in an activity because of external rewards or pressures, not because we enjoy the task or find it interesting.

Over Justification Effect: The tendency for people to view their behavior as caused by compelling extrinsic reasons, making them underestimate the extent to which it was caused by intrinsic reasons.

Now let us look at the effects of rewards on motivation and learning. A study by Greene, Sternberg, & Lepper, in 1976 can help us shed light on this.

Here is how the experiment was conducted: Fourth and fifth grade teachers introduced 4 new math games to their students, and during a 13-day baseline period they noted how long each child played each math game. The children initially had some intrinsic interest in the math games, in that they played them for several minutes during this baseline period. For the next several days, a reward program was introduced. Now the children could earn credits toward certificates and trophies by playing the math games. The more time they spent playing the math games, the more credits they earned. It looks like the reward program was effective in increasing the amount of time the children spent on the math games, showing that the rewards were an effective motivator.

This sounds logical, but what happens after the program is over and the kids can no longer earn rewards for playing the games?

As predicted by the overjustification hypothesis, the children spent significantly less time on the math games then they had initially, before the rewards were introduced.

The researchers determined, by comparing these results to those of a control condition, that it was rewards that made people like the games less and not the fact that everyone became bored with the games as time went by.

In short, the rewards destroyed the children’s intrinsic interest in the games; by the end of the study, they were hardly playing the games at all.

What can we do to protect intrinsic motivation from the dangers of society’s reward system? According to my 8th edition Social Psychology book, there are conditions under which overjustification effects can be avoided. Rewards will undermine interest only if interest was initially high. If a child has no interest in reading, then getting him or her to read by offering rewards is not a bad idea, because there is no initial interest to undermine.

The type of reward also makes a difference. There are two types of rewards. A task-contingent reward means that people get them simply for doing a task, regardless of how well they do it. Then we have performance-contingent rewards, whereby the reward depends on how well people perform the task.

Now I refuse to take part of the generational blame game because that is exhibiting a fixed mindset.

A fixed mindset will think that “this is set in stone, I either have what it takes, or I don’t.” Thinking along these lines, people feel they have a fixed amount of intelligence, athletic ability, musical talent, and so on.

Others have what is called a growth mindset, which is the idea that abilities are malleable qualities that they can cultivate and grow.

Continued in next post.

posted on Feb, 8 2013 @ 01:31 PM
reply to post by IntrinsicMotivation

Continued from previous post.

People with a fixed minset are more likely to give up after setbacks and are less likely to work on and hone their skills; after all, if they fail it must be a sign that they simply do not have what it takes. People with growth mindsets view setbacks as opportunities to improve through hard work.

So now we come back to how you were raised. and how we can better raise our children. The subject here is ”How Should Parents Praise Their Children?”

As a parent I was guilty of this until I realized the harm being done. Many adults assume that it is beneficial to praise their children because it makes them feel good about themselves and enhances their intrinsic motivation.

But as I pointed out earlier, sometimes rewards can undermine intrinsic motivation. What can “we” as parents do?

The key is the message that the praise conveys. We do not want children to develop a fixed mindset about their abilities, because if they do they will not react well to setbacks (“I guess this C on my spelling test means I’m a lousy speller”). It is better to focus on the children’s effort (“If you study harder for the next test, I bet you will do better”) to encourage a growth mindset- namely the idea that hard work pays off when the going gets tough.

When children do well, we should not go overboard and praise them too much for their effort, however, because they might infer that this means they are low on ability (like the player on basketball team who gets the Best Effort award instead of MVP).

Along with praise for effort, it is a good idea to make children feel that they have gained competence in the area (“You worked hard on your science project and really learned a lot; you have become quite an expert on plant pesticides”). *Note that this praise avoids conveying a fixed mindset (that there is a set amount of ability in this area that people have or don’t have).

Praise should convey the message that they have gained competence through hard work. We would never have been able to watch Michael Jordan do what he did if he had a fixed mindset. He went from being cut from his H.S. team, to one of the best in the world. What did his mother tell him when he didn’t make the H.S. team? “I told him to go back and discipline himself,” she said- in other words, to work harder, just the right message to foster a growth mindset.

We can see this throughout all generations and is why we should not blame one generation to the next. What we can do is to foster the right mindset in our children today for the best outcome down the road. But before this can happen, we (all generations) must accept responsibility for our actions/ inactions and then change them.

posted on Feb, 8 2013 @ 09:20 PM
Boy you sure do use a lot of discussion to illustrate "Tough love" which is frowned on now. I'm happy to take the blame as I didn't fail MY generation.I did ok with as much as I could do.I take every opportunity to remind everyone who we are as the American people even though some would see the US fall.
I know I'm the programmed product of the nuclear family but even so I have good character and after a fashion honor.
That is almost a dead word.

posted on Feb, 9 2013 @ 09:37 AM
reply to post by cavtrooper7

I think you are confusing what I am trying to say. I am speaking of a form of encouragement that will not take away from the child’s interest in learning and advancing themselves.

“Tough Love” as you seem to reference, is not what I am speaking about. Phyllis and David York were trained family therapists and substance abuse counselors experiencing difficulties in raising their own teenage daughters when they developed "tough love" in 1979.

The idea is to love a troubled teen enough to firmly and consistently set firm, clear limits and boundaries with them. People have gotten away from this original principle of “Tough Love.” Due to the misinterpretation over the years Tough Love is presented in ways that were not intended by its founders. Tough Love was never intended to describe the drill sergeant type of discipline seen in some programs, like the boot camps for troubled teens or scared straight reality shows.

These approaches are not the same as the original approach, which was based on loving your teen enough to take a firm, consistent stance while expecting them to be responsible for the decisions they make.

The whole idea behind tough love was to help shift the power and responsibility in families negatively impacted by out of control teenagers.

With this concept of “tough love” brought to light, can you see the difference now?

posted on Feb, 9 2013 @ 08:26 PM
But effective corporal punishment while of course installing some measure of social hostility is a proven way to raise children.
The act must be without hostility and explained carefully as well as administered with responsable wisdom regarding the child's mental and physical health.
But hand to butt education is a constructive method to align behavior.
This is seen as completely villainous and needs to be revisited.

posted on Feb, 10 2013 @ 10:50 AM
reply to post by cavtrooper7

Once again you are missing the point of the op. I addressed how to not diminish a child’s natural interest in wanting to learn; how to encourage a growth mindset. Nowhere did I mention anything that had to do with punishment.

From a behaviorist perspective, it is true; you can condition people through rewards and punishment with the goal of reducing or increasing a targeted behavior. This approach has many strengths, and its principles explain some behavior well.

But that is still not considering the factors: cognition, thinking, and feeling. All of those are vital to the human social experience, in other words how people interpret their environments. Can you imagine that sometimes depending on the situation that a person is in, may cause them to act a certain way.

Not everyone will respond effectively to corporal punishment and may instead cause a deep hatred and mistrust of authoritative figures.

Wait a second, growing up with this corporal punishment could explain our current mistrust in authoritative figures

posted on Feb, 10 2013 @ 10:57 AM
I'm the same generation as you though a bit younger, I'm a Millennial/Gen Yer born in 1990. I agree that the blame doesn't fall on any one generation. Sure it's easy to point to the Boomers since they were the first generation born into comfort if they were lucky - but I think any member of any generation would have their characteristics if they were born during that time.
edit on 10-2-2013 by lampsalot because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 10 2013 @ 02:00 PM
reply to post by lampsalot

Thank you for pointing that out

The person’s environment plays a big role in this equation, hence the saying “I am a product of my environment.”

The downfall to that saying above is that it displays the “fixed mindset” as in “I can be no better than what I am.” This is simply not true, there are too many success stories of those who have overcome their situation/ environment (raised in the ghetto) to fulfill their dreams.

Why can these individuals do what they do? They maintained a “growth mindset.” There is no peak they can hit, they can always be better through hard work and dedication. It is like that great Witwicky family motto from Transformers- “No Sacrifice, No Victory.”

Life may not seem fair, but we have the choice to change it, “growth mindset,” the question is what are you going to do about it?

It is not so much the cards you are dealt in life, but how you choose to play them.

I say that last line because there are those who are born into better positions than others, and end up wasting their opportunities and advantages that others never got. The cause of this can also be related to them having a “fixed mindset.”

To the parents and grandparents out there, let’s focus on encouraging a growth mindset in our children. We all play a part in shaping the next generation coming up, and if they (in our eyes) fail, it is because we failed them.

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