No matter the generation, young people often want to rebel. They want to rebel against their parents, against school and against anything that even remotely resembles an authority figure.
They want to establish their own personalities and places in the world, and the growing-up process is always a little rough. In short, going against the status quo is what makes a teen a teen, and these days, that rebellious nature might extend far into the 20-something demographic.
But in this case, the Millennials might be "rebelling" in a way we didn't anticipate. They might be starting to become more conservative than Alex P. Keaton.
Well, at least in some ways. Particularly, they are becoming more conservative in the realms of marriage and long-term relationships and the idea of cheating.
All one has to do is check out this Atlantic article from May 2015, and your eyes might start to open. Did you know that 71 percent of Millennials still believe marriage is a totally legit institution?
Teen pregnancy is falling, those between the ages of 18 and 35 are starting to become leery of promiscuous lifestyles and there isn't much lenience when it comes to cheating. Commitment of any kind, whether marriage is involved or not, is always a hot topic of debate among those of a certain age, and cheating is another big issue.
But in a world where women are marching for the right to be as sexually active as they please (and still remain above reproach), it seems a lot of women in their 20s are starting to adopt much more conservative views.
Check around social media. You might see a surprising amount of backlash against those dismissing cheating as "no big deal."
For instance, on the site GirlsAskGuys, where male and female opinions are constantly thrown against each other, we find a lot of zero-tolerance views on cheating. Some even say "sexting" qualifies as cheating.
But maybe it all makes sense. After all, if younger people rebel against the status quo, we should acknowledge the current status quo is extremely liberal.
Therefore, if you're young, you don't rebel by treating your body like garbage and refusing to take any responsibility for your actions. You actually rebel by being responsible. These Millennials might be "rebelling" by acting more like their great-grandparents.
In regards to marriage, it remains true that people get married later in life. However, one could argue that this is another act of responsibility, especially considering how different our world is these days.
Now, there is evidence to support the notion that Millennials aren't merely rejecting marriage, they're rejecting just about any long-term commitment. You do see examples of this plastered across social media ("Marriage is jail!" and the like).
It's also no secret that most people today are growing up without the biological mother and father in the same house. Even so, there are rumblings of traditional and conservative views within that young crowd, almost to the point where you start to wonder, in a few years, will marriage rates actually start to rise?
Or, is this "rebellion," like most rebellions, short-lived? Will these kids just revert to the status quo in due time?
I think it's a little tougher to predict than people want to believe.
The bottom line is when we try to pigeonhole a particular group, whether it be Millennials or other generations, we tend to gloss over complexities and intricacies. We just oversimplify the issue and start to make rash generalizations.
What's interesting about this particular topic is there appears to be a growing schism between Millennials, and perhaps it's even more violent than we could've thought. The conservative versus liberal war might be red-hot within the one demographic we often accuse of being apathetic.
And doesn't that warrant even more thought and consideration?