We Can Transform the World Through Our Parenting
Contributed by Myrna Lapres
Today, almost one-half the world’s population is 25 years old or younger. Ready or not, they will lead our world into the future. Members of Generation Y (Millennials born between 1984-2000) and Generation Z (Centennials born between 2001-2018) are hungry to change the world and as parents, teachers, and mentors, we can help them.
Both generations are influenced by less than ideal parenting styles (overparenting, paranoid parenting, permissive parenting, etc.) They also are greatly impacted by the advances in technology: immediate access to world events often difficult to process, availability creating distractions & addictions, loss of real conversations and relationships, instant gratification expectations, and so much more. Simon Sinek, British-American author, motivational speaker, and organizational consultant, summarizes how these challenges impact millennials as they enter the workforce in a TedTalk here.
Dr. Tim Elmore, president and found of Growing Leaders, is passionate about understanding the emerging generation and helping adults—parents, teachers, coaches—teach them how to become leaders in their families, schools, communities, and careers. As an author and speaker, Dr. Elmore shares four proven parenting strategies. You can read the whole article here.
Four Strategies for Parenting Generation Z By Dr. Tim Elmore, Growing Leaders Ready for Real Life
So, let me suggest some parenting ideas you might use as you lead your kids:
Don’t freak out.
We need to let our kids take appropriate risks in our “safety first” world. But, when they choose something odd or even crazy, stay calm. Whatever you do—don’t freak out at the seemingly strange decisions teens feel empowered to make today. From tattoos to piercings, to decisions about friends, to gender fluidity—kids growing up today are living in a very new world. If we don’t react emotionally, but talk to them respectfully, we earn the right to help them think through the long-term implications of their choices. This is our role: wise and steady leadership. Equip them to think long-term; think big-picture, and think high road.
Affirm them accurately and specifically.
Generation Z kids are privy to the hyperbolic praise Millennials got from parents. Everything was described as “awesome”—even when it really wasn’t. Adult leaders should be thoughtful with their encouragement, praising teens with words that reflect the genuine performance of the teen. They’ll actually believe us if we do. Also, we must affirm “effort”—which is a controllable—instead of what’s uncontrollable. Instead of saying to a female, “You’re gorgeous,” why not say: “I love the strategy you used when you planned your student council campaign. It was spot on.”
Be clear about their equations.
I discourage having a ton of “rules,” and encourage you to remind kids of life’s “equations.” Equations are simply outcomes for wise or poor behavior: if you do this, that is the benefit; if you do that, this is the consequence. As a result, students begin to learn that life is full of equations. Upon entering adulthood: if you don’t pay your rent, you lose the apartment; if you do pay rent on time, you get to keep it. Such equations will equip Generation Z kids about how the world works. Make the equations clear and be sure to follow up on them.
One of the most conspicuously absent elements in our world today is consistency. Nothing seems to be consistent—except inconsistency. Uncertainty is everywhere. Change is happening all the time: couples divorcing; jobs changing; rules are updated; TV shows are terminated…even our Internet connection can be spotty. Parents and teachers must be consistent in their verbal and visual cues. Kids feel secure when consistent leadership is exemplified.