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The largest generation of young people has come of age. They are called "Echo Boomers" because they are the genetic offspring of their parents, the "Baby Boomers".

Born between 1982 and 1995 some are barely out of college. They are the first to have grown up with computers in their home with a 500 channel universe. The new generation are multi- taskers adept at music downloading and instant messaging on the Internet. They are totally plugged-in citizens of a world wide community.

In the U S of A there are 80 million of them spending $170 billion of their parentís money.

The college students I counsel are into Sony Electronics, The Gap/Club Monaco, gaping holes in their designer jeans, Diesel watches "sweet" trendy Mini cars that move.

The "Helicopter parents"; I love the description, hover over their trophy like children. The super-duper youngsters have learned that they are a precious, protected, fragile commodity.

They have been belted into car seats and driven to organized group activities for ever. Religious, language classes, karate, soccer, football, swimming, tennis, sports camps, ballet and piano lessons are a must for the socially adept parents.

There is barely a day off for the children. Structure and a sense of mission are buzz words for many parents. It is sure hard to tell your child to go outside and play all by themselves. Many parents have been taught by their children that computer games, cell phones are necessary integral part of their daily existence. The folks are obliged to pay for unlimited texting, Canada Wide Calling, 6 GB of data that cost $79.10 per month to try and keep their children connected.

Our children are wired into a complex world of gadgets. Observe a group of teens at the mall and you will discover that they are attached to their umbilical like cell phones.

We have not allowed our children to be bored and simply veg out with nothing to do; Perhaps they dream of the freedom from the rigidity that their parents/society has imposed upon them.

This is a generation of pleasers. They want to please their parents, friends and teachers. What a difference to the defiant attitude of the students in the sixties; Long haired young people at Kent State chanting, "Hell no we wonít go" has been replaced by a generation of compliant youngsters who follow along and do not question.

The Echo generation are very different to their parents. Individualism has been replaced by conformity and adhering to the group norm. "Donít rock the boat baby." Team work is the name of the game, team teaching, group projects etc . Leadership and diverse thinking that may challenge the status quo is not often encouraged.

Instant gratification is the name of the game for too many teens. Everything has to be immediate- like a video game. The vast majority have trouble thinking and planning for long-range future goals. They think that they will be immediate heroes and heroines.

Many young people that I see are stressed out ; Driven to achieve in order to please; to try and fit in to the hopes and impossible aspirations set by their parents. They see themselves as having to be nearly perfect in every way. To survive many young people learn the art of procrastinating, putting off the expectations of their parents to be the star athlete, musician and top students in the school.

Mom/dad please allow your youngsters to be bored, laugh and enjoy their childhood.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com