The Strengths of Today’s Generation

The Strengths of Today's Generation

It took me six months to figure out how to turn on the caps lock on my smartphone.

That probably seems like a very small deal and you would be right. No one cares when writing a text that you use proper capitalization and most the time it will autocorrect for you. Given the atrocious grammar crimes you see on social media these days, being unable to type a capital A in the middle of a sentence hardly seems like much to fuss about.

So why do I bring it up? Because this 17-year-old high school dropout is making millions of dollars a year with an app he created while bored in science class. He lives in an apartment in New York that costs him $5000 per month. He moved from his hometown of Sydney to live in the US entirely on his own income.

It is difficult for me to fathom that level of success in someone so young. But when I look at my own children and I see how quickly they pick up on literally anything technology related, I realize that there is something very special about today’s generation.

Generation Z and the Age of Innovation

I personally believe that every generation has a unique quality that makes it amazing for its time. Generation Z, however, never fails to leave me utterly astounded.

Let’s take a look at some of the differences for those growing up in today’s world. For one thing, they are the first generation that have lived with technology on a modern scale. Many of us remember the early days of the internet when it took an hour to download a 30 second music clip from a fan website. Others still remember the days before the web, or when cellphones were giant bricks, or when there were no phones not attached to a cord in the wall.

Not only have Millennials and Post-Millennials embraced technology, they have made it entirely their own and created a new economy and way of life. Though it started with the kids of the 90’s, the Naughties are quickly taking up the banner and doing amazing things that show the true innovation of their time.

I watch this in my own children. They can get onto a computer and find information on literally any subject. They show me how to protect myself on the web (a turnaround from my obsessive monitoring of their activities in childhood). Most of their school work is online based and they not only have resources I couldn’t have dreamed of when I was their age, but they make their own to share with others.

The Self-Centered Masses

For years I have read articles, opinion pieces and social media rants claiming that the modern generation are self-centered, uncaring and cynical. That their brains are clouded by social media trends and expectations. That is in addition to claims that teenagers today are lazy, unmotivated and a number of other unflattering descriptors.

I will admit I don’t have statistics on this matter. But from what I have seen from my kids and their friends, it seems that the opposite is true. Generation Z is opened to a wider view of the world and more connected to people from all walks of life and cultural backgrounds. There is a deep concern for the state of the world and a desire to take part in the process of bringing it to task.

Perhaps this false impression of their worth is contributing to the rise of depression seen in those under the age of 18, a worry for many of us who watch our children battle it.

Seeing Our Teens For Who (and What) They Are

It seems to me that much of the criticism aimed at Generation Z is due to a lack of understanding of the world they live in. Teenagers today have adapted to a fast paced, competitive and often frightening world. They are bombarded with media, opinions, information and possibilities. Sitting down and speaking to them shows how much they are impacted and how difficult it can be to navigate.

I would encourage anyone reading this to take a moment to really think of the current generation of young people. What have they accomplished? What do they seem set to do? What world do they live in and how is it different than the one we grew up in?

On a more personal level, consider similar questions for your own teenagers. What strengths do you see in them? What are some of the things they are better at than you? Do they recognize these abilities in themselves? Take time to acknowledge the many strengths and abilities that your teens of Generation Z demonstrate. Challenge yourself to find positive attributes and skills within the other generation brackets as well. Most of all, be sure to tell your own children what you notice about their strengths and encourage them to continue building upon those talents.

Through attempting to truly understand our kids and how they may see their lives, we can begin the challenging process of changing our own thinking about who and what they are. That may be one of the most valuable gifts we can give them….really seeing them.


About the Author: Cindy Price

Cindy Price is a Northern Utah wife, mom, and writer. She has 15 years experience writing educational content in the many areas of parenting, with an emphasis on teen-related issues, from which she applies and expounds on her personal experience raising three teenagers. You can find Cindy on Twitter.

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"Be patient. We don’t know what we want to do or who we want to be. That feels really bad sometimes. Just keep reminding us that it’s okay that we don’t have it all figured out yet, and maybe remind yourself sometimes too."
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Would you be more likely to take advice from someone who listened to you first, or someone who insisted they knew best and worked hard to convince you? Our teens are just like us. If we want them to consider our advice and be open to our influence, making sure they feel heard is so important. Being right doesn't count for much at all if we aren't being heard.
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Hear what they think, what they want, why they think they're right, and why it’s important to them. Sometimes we'll want to change our mind, and sometimes we'll want to stand firm. When they feel fully heard, it’s more likely that they’ll be able to trust that our decisions or advice are given fully informed and with all of their needs considered. And we all need that.
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 #positiveparenting #parenting #parenthood #neuronurtured #childdevelopment #adolescence 
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"We’re pretty sure that when you say no to something it’s because you don’t understand why it’s so important to us. Of course you’ll need to say 'no' sometimes, and if you do, let us know that you understand the importance of whatever it is we’re asking for. It will make your ‘no’ much easier to accept. We need to know that you get it. Listen to what we have to say and ask questions to understand, not to prove us wrong. We’re not trying to control you or manipulate you. Some things might not seem important to you but if we’re asking, they’re really important to us.❤️" 
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The move towards brave doesn’t have to be a leap. It can be a shuffle - lots of brave tiny steps, each one more brave than before. What’s important isn’t the size of the step but the direction.

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You know who I love? (Not counting every food delivery person who has delivered takeaway to my home. Or the person who puts the little slots in the sides of the soy sauce packets to make them easier to open. Not counting those people.) You know who? Adolescents. I just love them. 
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Today I spoke with two big groups of secondary school students about managing anxiety. In each talk, as there are in all of my talks with teens, there were questions. Big, open-hearted, thoughtful questions that go right to the heart of it all. 
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Some of the questions they asked were:
- What can I do to help my friend who is feeling big anxiety?
- What can I do to help an adult who has anxiety?
- How can I start the conversation about anxiety with my parents?

Our teens have big, beautiful, open hearts. They won’t always show us that, but they do. They want to be there for their friends and for the adults in their lives. They want to be able to come to us and talk about the things that matter, but sometimes they don’t know how to start. They want to step up and be there for their important people, including their parents, but sometimes they don’t know how. They want to be connected to us, but they don’t want to be controlled, or trapped in conversations that won’t end once they begin. 

Our teens need to know that the way to us is open. The more they can feel their important adults holding on to them - not controlling them - the better. Let them know you won’t cramp them, or intrude, or ask too many questions they don’t want you to ask. Let them know that when they want the conversation to stop, it will stop. But above all else, let them know you’re there. Tell them they don’t need to have all the words. They don’t need to have any words at all. Tell them that if they let you know they want to chat, you can handle anything that comes from there - even if it’s silence, or messy words, or big feelings - you can handle all of it. Our teens are extraordinary and they need us during adolescence more than ever, but this will have to be more on their terms for a while.  They love you and they need you. They won’t always show it, but I promise you, they do.♥️

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