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Millennials and Boomers may freak out over social distancing, but it's Gen X's time to shine

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May. 13 2020, Updated 9:48 a.m. ET

While generational stereotypes don't apply to everyone, there are significant differences between how Baby Boomers (1944 to 1964), Gen X (1965 to 1980), and Millenials (1981 to 1996) were raised. 

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Baby Boomers tended to grow up in homes where one parent stayed home and the other worked outside of the house. Millennials are known for having over-involved "helicopter" parents.

Then, there's Gen X.

The smaller, cooler generation that, according to a 2004 marketing study "went through its all-important, formative years as one of the least parented, least nurtured generations in U.S. history."

Gen X was the first generation to be born during the divorce boom, so many were raised by single parents or in blended families.

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They were the first generation that experienced both parents working outside the home. But, unfortunately, at the same time, childcare centers and afterschool programs had not yet emerged to a significant extent. 

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Source: SuperBass / Wikimedia Commons
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"There was a weak support network for children of working mothers," Cathy Sandeen writes in Continuing Higher Education Review. "Many members of Generation X were the infamous 'latch key kids' who stayed home by themselves after school until their parents returned from work. 

Many Gen Xers had a feral-style upbringing which is looked down upon by both previous and subsequent generations. But it gave them a unique set of coping skills.

"Generation X were the resilient 'survivors,' who, though somewhat cynical, pessimistic, and suspicious, found a way to successfully negotiate their challenging social environment," Saneen continues.

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So as health officials are encouraging people to stay in their homes and practice social distancing, it's Gen X's time to shine.

They were raised improvising after school snacks with what was left in the cupboards, entertaining themselves while unsupervised, and knew the dangers of opening the door to strangers.

Gen Xers on Twitter now feel deputized to show the rest of the world how to social distance with that special brand of Gen-X cool that Millennials could never achieve.

Social isolation? Gen X was born to do it.

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'Latch key kid' skills are forever.

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It's time for the "forgotten generation" to lead.

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Gen Xers are loving each other right now.

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If you get this, you're Gen X to the core. 

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