Dr. Sonali Jadhav – Principal – AISSMS CHMCT
All Parents of Generation Z,
Here is an icebreaker – Maybe your child is not disobedient, maybe he/she just has a different perception.
This might come as an infamous opinion to many of you, but we cannot deny the fact that our child, being a unique individual, can have a totally different perception towards life than what we had.
You might be wondering, why such a statement?
So, before I get into the crux of this humble letter where I wish to highlight the issues that we, as parents, are facing from the current generation, I wish to put forth a few things, which we all have in common but somehow tend to miss out on.
This letter shall also attempt on how we can all, at an individual level, as well as collectively, work towards overcoming this so-called ‘generation gap’ establishing a more conducive bond with our children.
Back in the days when our parents, the first generation, joined any workplace, it was mainly for survival; the sheer objective was earning for the food, shelter and all the other basic necessities of life.
Then the generation post that, which can be called as Gen Y, (Parents in Today’s time), had a slight shift of perception, from earning for survival to improving the standard of living. Maybe they wanted a better car or a better house, as the roof over the head was already secured by the former generation, satisfying all their basic necessities.
Now let me come to today’s generation, fondly called as the Millennial; who fortunately have food, shelter and all other securities along with a certain standard of living ensured. So that is not something this generation is seeking as the purpose of their life!
When they look out to go into the real world, they are looking for a work-life balance; they aspire to give something back to the society, they strive for a meaningful life rather than just taking up a job which will give them monetary benefits. This is the approach of today’s generation, which we misjudge at times as a lack to identity amongst the millennials.
I have seen parents coming up to professional colleges with an ordinary approach where they just pay the fees and expect their child to become a manager immediately after graduation. Such expectations can lead to a lot of pressure to perform, which might be totally unintentional, but at the same time hampering the child’s growth.
We need to understand that every student has their own pace of growing and evolving. We need to give them enough space to find their potential and do something that they are really passionate about.
Another problem that this generation face is the lack of emotional connect.
We as parents, have to accept that we were brought up in a very holistic environment, where we lived in a joint family and collectively faced the ups and downs of our life surrounded by people who genuinely cared about us.
Sadly, this is not the case with the generation today. You might give your child everything he/she wants, materialistically, but unknowingly they are not getting what they truly call for, emotionally.
As a result, we see most of the youngsters today looking at social media for that virtual acceptance to fill the emotional gap. No wonder there is an increase in cases of depression, anxiety and other numerous mental disorders in the youngsters.
This is the absolute reason why I had to write this letter.
It is high time that we take care of this emotional requirement of our children. We need to acknowledge the emotional turbulence they go through and give them a helping hand, rather than shrugging them off with a label of ‘disobedient’.
From years of experience of interacting with teenagers with different backgrounds and ambitions and capabilities, I strongly believe that the following, if done right shall bring out the best in our children.
Start with The Acceptance!
We must accept the fact that due to the variety of channels available to explore, this age group has become a generation with a mind of their own. The child needs to respect you as a parent and that will happen only when we allow them the space to experiment with their life and not just pass on our dreams forcefully on them.
Hear Them Out
Hear your child out every once in a while, and see how they grow into a mature and sensible individuals. You can, and must always, guide them towards a better decision, but at the same time also respect their opinions.
The Collective Effort
Being a parent and an individual with a responsibility to sculpt the citizens of tomorrow, I understand that the educational institutes play a vital role in the child’s upbringing.
But we cannot deny the fact, that it is the responsibility of both parents and the teachers to work collectively to shape our children into great individuals.
I truly believe that if we work together to nurture and grow the potential of our children, this generation has the capability to do wonders no one ever thought were possible.
Concluding, I request you all to cater to your child’s emotional needs when they talk to you about anything that is bothering them and embrace their queries with an open heart. Guide them but have faith in the decisions they take. Make them responsible for themselves.
Let us be friends and guardians to our children!