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To develop intellectually you've got to relate to older people, older things: 17-year-olds never grow up if they're just hanging around other 17-year-olds." Of all the objections to Obamacare, not a lot of people argued against parents' need to cover their kids' health insurance until they're 26.(MORE: I'm Not on Facebook and I Don't Regret It—Yet)Millennials are interacting all day but almost entirely through a screen.You've seen them at bars, sitting next to one another and texting.
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Though they're cocky about their place in the world, millennials are also stunted, having prolonged a life stage between teenager and adult that this magazine once called twixters and will now use once again in an attempt to get that term to catch on.They're so convinced of their own greatness that the National Study of Youth and Religion found the guiding morality of 60% of millennials in any situation is that they'll just be able to feel what's right.Their development is stunted: more people ages 18 to 29 live with their parents than with a spouse, according to the 2012 Clark University Poll of Emerging Adults. In 1992, the nonprofit Families and Work Institute reported that 80% of people under 23 wanted to one day have a job with greater responsibility; 10 years later, only 60% did.(Poll: Who's the Most Influential Millennial?It's just that we've learned later that self-esteem is a result, not a cause." The problem is that when people try to boost self-esteem, they accidentally boost narcissism instead. It's a better message," says Jean Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University, who wrote Generation Me and The Narcissism Epidemic."When they're little it seems cute to tell them they're special or a princess or a rock star or whatever their T-shirt says.They are the most threatening and exciting generation since the baby boomers brought about social revolution, not because they're trying to take over the Establishment but because they're growing up without one. They got this way partly because, in the 1970s, people wanted to improve kids' chances of success by instilling self-esteem.The Industrial Revolution made individuals far more powerful--they could move to a city, start a business, read and form organizations. It turns out that self-esteem is great for getting a job or hooking up at a bar but not so great for keeping a job or a relationship.Even in China, where family history is more important than any individual, the Internet, urbanization and the one-child policy have created a generation as overconfident and self-involved as the Western one. They have less civic engagement and lower political participation than any previous group.And these aren't just rich-kid problems: poor millennials have even higher rates of narcissism, materialism and technology addiction in their ghetto-fabulous lives. This is a generation that would have made Walt Whitman wonder if maybe they should try singing a song of someone else."It is sort of a crisis of unmet expectations."(Income Inequality: It's Not Just for Older People Anymore)What millennials are most famous for besides narcissism is its effect: entitlement.If you want to sell seminars to middle managers, make them about how to deal with young employees who e-mail the CEO directly and beg off projects they find boring.