What generation of young people had the best time?

…I’m a parent today. I think kids have it harder. More homework, far less freedom. More likely to not have a stay at home parent. No long summers roaming the world with your friends. Instead stuck at day camp or camp doing regimented stuff. I grew up in the 70’s and we were unsupervised for long periods of time. We managed to survive and not get into to much trouble. I think we were very lucky. I think we also had the best TV in the 70’s. The hight of sitcoms, which as a kid was more important than good dramas.
…I think those that were young enough to enjoy the 60’s as teens & young adults had it even better if they were the lucky ones that happened to be white and not drafted. The had the free love, great hopes for changing the world and some of the most independent music ever commercially produced. On the non-partying side, the 60’s were also great for cheap gas, cheap rents, cheap used cars, cheap insurance or no requirement even and the most affordable time for college. It was probably the decade where the Middle-Class kids had it the best. It also had to be great to watch the space race first hand. From Sputnik to the Apollo Moon Landing in 1969.
…Now as a Yankee Fan, I need to put up a good word for the 1950’s. :wink:


I’m kinda conflicted about this.

Personally, I go with the sixties. Mucho reasons above, I don’t need to repeat them

But I also think about those teens in the fifties. They had less monumental stuff to deal with, and they had the first generation of “cool cars” and drive-ins. I think that they, too, had a pretty cool era to develop in, and in some aspects, I think they may have had it better.

I will say that I do not personally think that any of them had it better into the eighties, though.

I’m too young to provide a historical perspective, but I’m not thinking most black people would say that the 60s were the “best time” to be young. People have romanticized the Civil Rights era, forgetting that real kids were being hosed down streets and living in fear of being lynched or bombed. That time was scary–in some ways scarier than periods before.

Imagine the fear you might feel being shipped off to schools where you aren’t wanted by students and teacher alike, where the threat of fatal violence is very real.

Imagine being among the first black people allowed to sit in the front of the bus, or drink out of non-segregated water fountains, or dance along with white people. You might feel exhiliaration and a sense of achievement–but you might also feel great fear and trepidation. Changes in laws do nothing to change underlying racism and tension. Racism was much more overt back then than it is now

Also, mass culture was still largely segregated during that period. With some exceptions, black kids watched TV and movies shows that ignored them and their lives. Of course, they had the heros of Motown and James Brown to jam to, but they had to deal with the blatant fact that these folks were not given the same platform as white rock n roll stars. “Black” music was still quite villifyed and marginalized. On the other hand, there was no section of the local bookstore devoted to black American writers, most schools did not spend any attention to black historical figures, and it was controversial to be “black and proud”. A lot of older black people still cared about appeasing white people, and felt that appeasement was the only way to get respect and fair treatment. Rebels became estranged from their communities in ways that white people weren’t.

Being witness to all that change was exciting, but it came with huge, non-trivial risks and costs.

I personally would not want to go back to the 60s, unless I could live in an all-black environment where racism wasn’t an issue. I don’t think I’d like dealing with all that stress otherwise.

Personally, I think the 80s marked the best time for young people. That’s because this is the era when I was a youth, and the era I have the most nostalgia for. (It seems to me that most people on this thread are picking on the 60s for that very reason, even if they aren’t aware of it.)

And even with regard to teens, I’m sure many more now live in sprawled out exurbs, and can’t go anywhere without being driven by an adult, since they can’t drive alone.

The 20s seemed pretty gosh-darned swell, for the privileged few. Drinking a few highballs and martinis was no problem, and people would have huge snifters in the office while smoking cheroots. Women started wearing short skirts. Free love was being experimented with to a small extent. Pot was legal, opium was legal. Motor cars had just been invented so one could swan around in them, while drunk and high.

…and don’t forget Vietnam. Ahh good times.
Why not the 80s? Relative affluence. No wars to speak of. Nothing to do but like party man.

Nope. 90s. Cold War over, no real wars, terrorism not yet a real issue. Economy’s good, internet explodes.

I was born in 1948. Kid during the 50s, teen during the 60s.

The best of times in some ways and the worst in others. My parents didn’t have to worry about me, because they knew where I was and they know other parents around were keeping an eye out, the same way they did when I had other kids over. I had a bike. There was a city park near my house, and I practically grew up there.
Carefree times. Then came Kennedy, Vietnam and the 60s.

Our society changed, and not necessarily for the better. An element of violence and disregard for authority entered our existance and has stayed and grown. And that saddens me.

Maybe I’ve seen too much TV, too many movies, but as someone who was born in '67, I think the 50 may have been the best. We had conquered Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. The Great Space Race was beginning; sock-hops, drive ins, and cool cars.

The social shit-storm that was the 60s and 70s was inconceivable. Perhaps it’s that innocence that seems so appealing.

Of course, I’m overlooking The Bomb, Korea, Commies, and McCarthyism.

I have always thought the same thing. Kids born to Depression Era/WW-II parents were raised by people who knew the economic hardship and had to grow up quickly during the war. It was also the last generation of single-income households and mothers who were trained to raise children (and had the luxury of doing it full time).

I was born in 58 in a small town and my early childhood was right out of a Norman Rockwell painting. I walked a half-mile to kindergarten without fear, we all knew our neighbors, and schools turned out well-educated citizens. We had more fun with empty boxes than kids have today with computers and I don’t ever remember hearing about mass murderers in schools. It would be neat to go back in time for just a day and pop hot tar bubbles with my bare feet. If only to remember how we only needed each other to be happy.

Yes, you can still get that kind of childhood today but for all practical purposes the Middle America I grew up in has passed into history.

I’d go with the 60’s too, and I was young then. Mostly it was watching society change on a huge scale, with more freedom for young people. It’s hard to explain, but 1960 and 1970 were so different it was amazing to see a planet change so much in 10 years.

I’d go with the 900’s. The portents for the solstice looked good, the plagues weren’t so bad, and 1 out of 5 kids lived past infancy.

Happy times.

Yeah, but you’re white, right? As monstro pointed out, the segregation era was a whole different ball game from the perspective of different races.

As a child of the '70s and teen of the '80s, the main thing that sucked vs. the '60s and '70s was the STDs that could KILL you (a lot quicker than syphillis, and no penicillin to cure Herpes or HIV). Other than that, it probably was a lot better (no worries of a draft, no oil embargo to make filling up the huge hand-me-down car a problem, etc.).

Yes and no. A very big Yes to segregation. No arguments there. However, the 60’s saw what can only be described as good intentions shoved up someone’s ass. Segregation/discrimination created long term welfare which stripped inner city communities of its social fabric. The loss of parental skills immediately shows up in the collapse of school systems. Children born into this are essentially abandoned by society for fear of “disrupting” family unity.

Don’t you think its a little strange that the one’s praising the 60s and lambasting the current situation are the folks who were kids in the 60s and are currently parents, and generally in control of the power-structure now?

Don’t you think its a little strange that the one’s praising the 60s and lambasting the current situation are the folks who were kids in the 60s and are currently parents, and generally in control of the power-structure now?

The value system that is currently well represented by our current Administration is not the one held by most Dopers. We are not in control of the power structure.

Yes, that whole “fighting ignorance” thing keeps getting in the way. Those who exploit it seem to do better.

Yeah, but that has little to do with what children today go through. The supposed pressures todays kids face have to do with parents, teachers and school boards at a local level. You (your generation) are in control of that.