To Generation Z parents, do you find it challenging and much different from the way you grew up? They have technology at their fingertips we never had, a different way of thinking, and a different language. How can we, as parents, connect with Gen Z kids and meet them where they are? Cindy Palen, our iRefresh Partner and professional counselor, leads the conversation with Kelli Portman and Sarah Dilks, bringing understanding and ideas to help raise these amazing Gen Z children.
Generation Z ranges from years 1997-2015
This generation is growing up fast due to technology.
They have an emotional attachment to their phones.
“You have to model for your kids of how you want them to be. But at some point they are going to have to choose if they are going to follow Jesus or not, and that’s their choice. You have to start loosening the reins and it’s really hard to do that as a parent.” -Sarah Dilks
Anxiety raises in kids and teens when they feel like they have no power or control.
Talk with them about family guidelines. Maybe make them together so they feel involved and have some power in that decision making.
As parents you want their heart right and not just have them go through the actions.
“Teenagers need to know that they are complete in Christ, that they are loved. That God created them for a specific purpose, that that is who they are and He has a plan for them. He loves them more than they could even imagine.” -Kelli Portman
“As parents we need to allow our kids to face giants at times, and it’s a scary thing as a parent but it’s so important. It also encourages us as parents to trust God that He has put abilities in our kids so that they can go out and face whatever challenges (giants) that they are facing and know that God is with them.” -Kelli Portman
Stay involved/connected with your kids
Be available with being around your kids even if you think they don't want you around.
Stay intentional with listening but don't interrogate with questions if they don't want to talk.
If you can't beat them then join them with ways to incorporate this technology that they love for good instead of using it for bad.
Have family Dinners
While out to dinner play card game on phone where they connect to each other
Share devotions and then talk about it
Have a family Snapchat and snap each other when out and about to share with the family about the day.
Don't lessen your standards as parents but get involved in your kids lives wherever their lives are.
“A lot of the negative core beliefs that the kids have today is ‘I’m not good enough’. Our children need to know that they are accepted whether they follow God or not, they are loved because that is the love of Christ. He loves us while we are yet sinners, we love them while they are not wanting to go to church.” -Cindy Palen
Kids check their phones 100 times a day.
They want to make sure no one is talking behind their back.
Kids are being bullied so much more no with technology.
“God wants heart change, He doesn’t care if we are moral people. He wants us to be born again believers and that’s what we want in our kids. They can follow all the rules but if they're not living a Holy Spirit filled life with Christ then it’s all actions, it’s not heart.” -Cindy Palen
Key Things to do with Generation Z
1. Respect- It's one of their standards, respect me and I’ll respect you. Parents often think they are due respect and you respect the kids, but parents don't show it the way the kids want it to be shown. So ask, how they want you to respect them. What does that look like? Respect is listening. Respect is non-judgmental listening. If you want your kids to come and tell you of the sin that they've been involved in, you have to have a non-judgmental frame point and that is very hard. Listen and understand that they are from a culture that does not recognize standards. And so how do you get them to see God's word in a respectful way?
2. Communication- Sometimes it's texting with your kids. It's sometimes meeting them where they're at. You may want an eye to eye conversation but they want to text you. You know what, communication is important. How you do it, might just need to be texting once in awhile.
3. Conflict Resolution- How would you resolve conflict with another adult? These teens are mini adults and they want the respect of an adult , they don't want to be treated like an eight year old that parents still see them as in their head
4. Compromise- What are the rules? How can everyone make this happen to where everyone is happy, everyone is meeting the guidelines, the family standards?