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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Anxiety shows up to check that you’re okay, not to tell you that you’re not. It’s your brain’s way of saying, ‘Not sure - there might be some trouble here, but there might not be, but just in case you should be ready for it if it comes, which it might not – but just in case you’d better be ready to run or fight – but it might be totally fine.’ Brains can be so confusing sometimes! 

You have a brain that is strong, healthy and hardworking. It’s magnificent and it’s doing a brilliant job of doing exactly what brains are meant to do – keep you alive. 

Your brain is fabulous, but it needs you to be the boss. Here’s how. When you feel anxious, ask yourself two questions:

- ‘Do I feel like this because I’m in danger or because there’s something brave or important I need to do?’

- Then, ‘Is this a time for me to be safe (sometimes it might be) or is this a time for me to be brave?

And remember, you will always have ‘brave’ in you, and anxiety doesn’t change that a bit.♥️

#positiveparenting #mindfulparenting #parenting #childanxiety #heywarrior #heywarriorbook
The temptation to fix their big feelings can be seismic. Often this is connected to needing to ease our own discomfort at their discomfort, which is so very normal.

Big feelings in them are meant to raise (sometimes big) feelings in us. This is all a healthy part of the attachment system. It happens to mobilise us to respond to their distress, or to protect them if their distress is in response to danger.

Emotion is energy in motion. We don’t want to bury it, stop it, smother it, and we don’t need to fix it. What we need to do is make a safe passage for it to move through them. 

Think of emotion like a river. Our job is to hold the ground strong and steady at the banks so the river can move safely, without bursting the banks.

However hard that river is racing, they need to know we can be with the river (the emotion), be with them, and handle it. This might feel or look like you aren’t doing anything, but actually it’s everything.

The safety that comes from you being the strong, steady presence that can lovingly contain their big feelings will let the emotional energy move through them and bring the brain back to calm.

Eventually, when they have lots of experience of us doing this with them, they will learn to do it for themselves, but that will take time and experience. The experience happens every time you hold them steady through their feelings. 

This doesn’t mean ignoring big behaviour. For them, this can feel too much like bursting through the banks, which won’t feel safe. Sometimes you might need to recall the boundary and let them know where the edges are, while at the same time letting them see that you can handle the big of the feeling. Its about loving and leading all at once. ‘It’s okay to be angry. It’s not okay to use those words at me.’

Ultimately, big feelings are a call for support. Sometimes support looks like breathing and being with. Sometimes it looks like showing them you can hold the boundary, even when they feel like they’re about to burst through it. And if they’re using spicy words to get us to back off, it might look like respecting their need for space but staying in reaching distance, ‘Ok, I’m right here whenever you need.’♥️
We all need certain things to feel safe enough to put ourselves into the world. Kids with anxiety have magic in them, every one of them, but until they have a felt sense of safety, it will often stay hidden.

‘Safety’ isn’t about what is actually safe or not, but about what they feel. At school, they might have the safest, most loving teacher in the safest, most loving school. This doesn’t mean they will feel enough relational safety straight away that will make it easier for them to do hard things. They can still do those hard things, but those things are going to feel bigger for a while. This is where they’ll need us and their other anchor adult to be patient, gentle, and persistent.

Children aren’t meant to feel safe with and take the lead from every adult. It’s not the adult’s role that makes the difference, but their relationship with the child.

Children are no different to us. Just because an adult tells them they’ll be okay, it doesn’t mean they’ll feel it or believe it. What they need is to be given time to actually experience the person as being safe, supportive and ready to catch them.

Relationship is key. The need for safety through relationship isn’t an ‘anxiety thing’. It’s a ‘human thing’. When we feel closer to the people around us, we can rise above the mountains in our way. When we feel someone really caring about us, we’re more likely to open up to their influence
and learn from them.

But we have to be patient. Even for teachers with big hearts and who undertand the importance of attachment relationships, it can take time.

Any adult at school can play an important part in helping a child feel safe – as long as that adult is loving, warm, and willing to do the work to connect with that child. It might be the librarian, the counsellor, the office person, a teacher aide. It doesn’t matter who, as long as it is someone who can be available for that child at dropoff or when feelings get big during the day and do little check-ins along the way.

A teacher, or any important adult can make a lasting difference by asking, ‘How do I build my relationship with this child so s/he trusts me when I say, ‘I’ve got you, and I know you can do this.’♥️
There is a beautiful ‘everythingness’ in all of us. The key to living well is being able to live flexibly and more deliberately between our edges.

So often though, the ‘shoulds’ and ‘should nots’ we inhale in childhood and as we grow, lead us to abandon some of those precious, needed parts of us. ‘Don’t be angry/ selfish/ shy/ rude. She’s not a maths person.’ ‘Don’t argue.’ Ugh.

Let’s make sure our children don’t cancel parts of themselves. They are everything, but not always all at once. They can be anxious and brave. Strong and soft. Angry and calm. Big and small. Generous and self-ish. Some things they will find hard, and they can do hard things. None of these are wrong ways to be. What trips us up is rigidity, and only ever responding from one side of who we can be.

We all have extremes or parts we favour. This is what makes up the beautiful, complex, individuality of us. We don’t need to change this, but the more we can open our children to the possibility in them, the more options they will have in responding to challenges, the everyday, people, and the world. 

We can do this by validating their ‘is’ without needing them to be different for a while in the moment, and also speaking to the other parts of them when we can. 

‘Yes maths is hard, and I know you can do hard things. How can I help?’

‘I can see how anxious you feel. That’s so okay. I also know you have brave in you.’

‘I love your ‘big’ and the way you make us laugh. You light up the room.’ And then at other times: ‘It can be hard being in a room with new people can’t it. It’s okay to be quiet. I could see you taking it all in.’

‘It’s okay to want space from people. Sometimes you just want your things and yourself for yourself, hey. I feel like that sometimes too. I love the way you know when you need this.’ And then at other times, ‘You looked like you loved being with your friends today. I loved watching you share.’

The are everything, but not all at once. Our job is to help them live flexibly and more deliberately between the full range of who they are and who they can be: anxious/brave; kind/self-ish; focussed inward/outward; angry/calm. This will take time, and there is no hurry.♥️

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