As parents and a society, we need to understand Gen Z and be aware of their position as the first true digital natives. Two fathers, share important lessons you need to know about raising Gen Z. They shared this with us at our 7th Annual Parenting Conference, themed Gen Z – Growth and Grit. During the fireside chat with Mr Labi Williams, an investment executive, and Mr Praise Fowowe, the principal consultant for Praise Fowowe International; they discussed their understanding of Gen Z and their traits.
Here, we will give highlights on the discussion from the speakers.
Important Lessons on Gen Z According to Mr Praise Fowowe
Mr Fowowe described Gen Z as the punishment that the divine power has sent to us for the inability to question our parents.
That it is the generation that has been sent to question everything; because there were so many things we, the older generation believed over time that we did not troubleshoot. These things were just slapped on us, installed by our parents that we couldn’t question; and whether those things were right or wrong, we did not know.
When we found out that some of those things were not right, we did not also dare to confront them because the majority of the people practised it.
What Gen Z want
He stated how we use gadgets as opposed to the fact that Gen Z was born with gadgets; therefore, we had to learn but it was somewhat a part of their DNA formation.
Sometimes, Gen Z may come across as a misbehaving generation, but he thinks it’s just a generation that is fearless. He shared that part of the important lessons you need to know about raising GenZ is that they are a generation who want to work as collaborators. In addition, they want to be part of decision making and discussions; from what we eat as a family to the next vacation.
Gen Z tends to wear parents out, and he stated that parents need to understand that you cannot be a child’s teacher, without first becoming a student. So you need to understand them, and realize that they are not being rude; if we embrace what they have come with, we will become better parents, because we will now begin to check what we have believed may not be correct.
And for the first time, they can get to the root of many of the things that had been slapped on us; and begin to embrace what is true and what is right.
[Tweet “Parents need to understand that you cannot be a child’s teacher, without first becoming a student.”]
The Traditional Nigerian Gen Z digital native
He stated that we need to put it in a context that Gen Z is a descriptive word; meaning a typical 15-year-old in Sokoto state, for example, is not a 15 year old in Lagos.
For a child who lives in a village, in the north or south of the country, who has never seen a mobile phone, or made use of the internet; we cannot be talking about some of the things we’re talking about now.
One of the challenges that Nigerian Gen Z is facing in the country is information overload; this in the sense that, a lot of parents have not done the foundational work; because this should have been done before age 7 when the formative years are completed. As a parent, there is a curriculum to follow as your child advances in age.
Age Orientation for Parents Raising Gen Z
There are certainly some important lessons you need to know about raising GenZ based on the age of your child.
From ages 0-3
Parents with children in this age range need to be scouts. You need to observe what your child is doing and pick those signals. Your ability to interpret those signals accurately is key to understanding your child. However, unfortunately, not many of us can do that.
At this age, you are supposed to be a model. This is the age where you model competence, character, and values to your children. Additionally, you need to model to them through your lifestyle, because they learn from what they see you do.
From ages 7-9
At this level, you are to be an instructor. This is the age that you aggressively pump into their mind, the information that will enhance what you have observed from ages 0-3.
You are supposed to be a friend; that is the age many of us lose our children because you think they can take care of themselves. However, this is the age where parents need to be their friends. Where you’re talking about everything and when they should be free to learn things from you and you also learn from them.
From ages 13-18
You are supposed to be a coach; at the level of a coach you are no longer enforcing things, you are balancing perspectives. But if you don’t manage the transition of friendship to coaching, you are going to lose them because they won’t come to you.
From ages 19
The important lesson you need to know by this age is that you are now a cheerleader or technical advisor. At this age, your teenagers are no longer obliged to obey you and it is the past relationships you cultivated that will carry you through.
Important Lessons for Parents with Online Safety
Furthermore, Praise Fowowe stated that parents need to ensure that they instil and teach the right values so that when they go online, they already mastered their identity. This is because everything they find online is a direct attack on their identity; suggesting what is considered the new normal.
So they consistently are judged, and can easily be out of place when the dominant majority of people are doing something else. So, the most important lesson you now need to teach is that everyone is doing something doesn’t make it right. Additionally, because you are the only one doing a certain thing doesn’t make it wrong.
You can encourage your child to create his or her own peer pressure and become the ancestor of the new order peer pressure. This is a democratization of knowledge, and it has been made available to us as parents.
How to Ensure Grit in Gen Z
Furthermore, he described grit in a rather unfamiliar word, which is ‘sticktoitiveness’. It is the staying power, or the ability to stay in there till the goal is achieved.
Gen Z is distracted easily, and parents need to make them understand, that even great people encounter failure and they should learn to stick with their goals. So, grit is their ability to set a goal and stick to it, even when they don’t feel like it. This is because great people are those who have learned to do stick with their goals.
[Tweet “So, grit is their ability to set a goal and stick to it, even when they don’t feel like it. This is because great people are those who have learned to do stick with their goals.”]
It is important for parents to leverage on some people who have become successful and highlight that they also failed several times. Some of such famous people include Thomas Edison, this will help them to understand that failure is not bad.
Mr Labi Williams’ Lessons on Raising Gen Z
He stated that children can see information and see what is happening, but as a parent, we can do so much more to contextualize what they’re seeing.
Help them know how to look at it in judgment, and in the richness of the situation, what history may have permeated to realize the things that they watch come out of nowhere. It places more onus on parents because you may not know so you may also have to go out and do your research.
Although, this gives parents a tighter connection to be able to guide them by showing they take interest in what they take interest in, and at the same time can seek to know more than they do, or as much. Parents can also have similar ways to find that out if they don’t have said knowledge in hand already.
Teaching your child to cope with failure
Also teaching children to handle failure better is so important. Mr Williams incidentally read a book titled ‘Grit’ by Angela Duckworth, and there was a very interesting sort of summary table that she puts about having a growth mindset versus a fixed mindset.
Also, things one can do to undermine a child, a bit more than, promoting and so much of it is around when a child feels rather than only comforting or just saying, “You tried your best”, “Don’t feel bad you can’t do it”, “It’s not your strength, don’t worry”.
Instead of being along those lines and making that primary focus, doing more of, “well what can we try next time”, ” don’t feel bad if you can’t do it yet”. Tacking on that yet in ways such as “sure today maybe not, but tomorrow, it might be possible”, and “why don’t we try for these higher standards and trying to reach them together”; these are the ways to motivate and positively comfort children.
You can catch the replay of the LagosMums Parenting Conference stream here on the LagosMums YouTube Channel