Gen Z is a generation that questions everything. They thrive on answers and the logic behind everything. They are the ones breaking every stereotype that baby boomers were living on. Unlike previous generations who would listen to their parents without questioning anything, Gen Z is always ready to have a healthy debate on every topic. On the other hand, parental advice received by baby boomers and Gen Xers was to follow what parents said, as a mark of respect. Talking back and asking for explanations were considered signs of bad kids. Those parents took Amitabh Bachan’s dialogue “Keh diya na… bas keh diya” from the movie Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham too seriously. 

Parental advice over the years

Gen Z refuses to take “Because I said so” as an answer. It is important to understand why they need answers for everything. Answering their questions is actually not a bad thing. In fact, it improves the parent-child bond. 

If you have a Gen Z child and want them to listen to you, you need to listen to them as well. One-sided conversations are never fruitful. Gen Z will not understand your intention and resist your ways. Gone are the days when parents would decide everything for their children. Gen Z is a self-sufficient, tech-savvy, and socially active generation that sometimes teach their parents a thing or two about how to operate in the modern world. Parenting pressure on students is a thing of the past, and Gen Z will push for it.

Parenting styles are changing at breakneck speed. Today’s children will see a world that is dramatically different 15 years from now, and they might face similar challenges with their kids.  Good parenting requires the development of an independent spirit in children, the facilitation of learning, and guiding adolescent children to make informed decisions. Parents need to encourage children to be future-oriented, humble, and confident by creating an environment where they feel inspired.

Good parenting tips

Good parenting is a broad concept, encompassing multiple aspects of parent and children’s lives together. Good parenting is an accumulation of actions and interactions that parents have with their child. It is driven with purpose and end goals in mind. It aims to develop character traits in children like independence, self-direction, honesty, self-control, kindness, and cooperation. Here are some good parenting tips that will help you strengthen your bond with your children:  

  • Talk to your child about their concerns and pay attention to changes in their behaviour
  • Show interest in your child’s school and extracurricular interests and activities, and encourage they get involved in sports, music, theater, or art
  • Compliment your child often, celebrating their efforts and accomplishments
  • Respect your child’s opinion. Listen to them without downplaying their concerns
  • Encourage your child to come up with solutions to problems or conflicts.  Help your child learn to make good decisions. Create opportunities for them to use their judgment, and be available for advice and support.

What parents should avoid

Sometimes parents find ways to get their children to stop complaining about certain things by negating their concerns, criticizing them, and demanding they move on. These methods imply dismissing the childs’ complaints by accusing them of being little snowflakes – this is a term that refers to folks who are overly sensitive, weak, timid, cannot handle being teased, or are high maintenance. 

Parents must avoid the following at all costs: 

  • Name calling – children might take these labels too seriously and grow up as unconfident or maladjusted individuals 
  • Ignoring difficult or unruly behaviour for prolonged periods – this might make children defensive or rebellious
  • Blaming children for what is happening to them, for instance being bullied. Parents who fail to provide a safety blanket when a child needs it the most end up raising either aggressive individuals or folks who are completely walled off. 
  • Not believing what a child says, as it will turn them into non-believers and they may not be able to trust anyone

How should Gen Z respond for better communication?

There can be many areas where parents and children may not see eye-to-eye. Parents of growing kids seem to constantly complain that children do not listen. Adolescents are under the impression that no matter what they do, it’s never enough for parents. There is no end to such accusations and if not handled sensitively, the child may become irritable or overly defensive. Sometimes the parenting pressure on students can be way too much. Once that happens, conversations immediately end with someone entering a fight, flight, or freeze response – no problems can get solved then. 

Both you and your parents need to practice active listening for a better understanding of mutual concerns. At times you may feel your parents are being unreasonable, when in reality your parents may have their reasons. Take the time to listen to what they are saying. It is important to remember that parents love their children more than anyone else in the world. 

Here are some do’s and don’ts for Gen Z to foster better lines of communication between you and your parents.  

Some of the Do’s 

  • Do try to listen to what parents are saying with an open mind
  • Do explain your standpoint without being argumentative
  • Do respond with patience
  • If something means a lot to you, do be persistent 
  • Do be open about your needs, and be mindful of your parent’s needs too

Some of the Don’ts

  • Don’t argue with your parents about the frequency or reasonableness of their requests
  • Don’t attack them and tell them they are insensitive or overly critical
  • Don’t defend yourself by pointing out that your life is busy and you cannot always just drop everything to do what they say
  • Don’t defend your feelings without understanding their concerns
  • Don’t throw a temper tantrum every time your demands are not met

How can parents of Gen Z teens improve communication?

Sometimes as a parent you may feel that your Gen Z child is ignoring you, but that is not the case. Due to the generation gap, there are a lot of things that they might not understand. Put yourself in their shoes and you will see they love you as much as you love them. 

Parents need to strike a balance between being supportive, being firm, and being friendly. The one-size-fits-all rule cannot be used at all times because every child and every situation is unique. The style of parenting must mold to a child’s personality, and it should not lead to excessive parenting pressure on students. A blended style of parenting fosters self-esteem and helps in raising confident and successful children in the modern world.

Most disagreements and disturbances occur when children get ready to embark on a career journey. They may want to pursue a career that parents may not be comfortable with, leading to further conflicts. Get in touch with LaunchMyCareer to help strengthen the parent-child relationship, as our expert career advisors help navigate a career path based on the child’s unique personality, skills and interests. The comprehensive counselling sessions help parents and children to align their thought processes while providing guidance to achieve career success.