Take Charge! 5 Essential Decisions Parents Can Make to Align and Connect with their Teens
As parents we work so hard focused on the development of children and the education they should be receiving. There’s so much emphasis on grades and academic accomplishments that we don’t always stop and dedicate essential time to where our attention should be focused—understanding the major societal shifts that are happening with Gen Z (teens). Below are 5 essential decisions that will help parents better connect and align with their teenage children as they grow and develop.
Decision 1-Educate: From the minute your child enters school, decide to be an active parent in the school they attend. Don’t leave your child’s education and development to chance. If this is something you have not done, or have allowed life to get in the way, understand this is the utmost important decision you can make. It’s never too late to get involved—even if your child is already in high school.
Decision 2-Communicate: Be transparent—communicate as much as possible. As parents, educators and adults, it is important that when communicating with teens, that we enter into conversations with an open mind. We have a tough time being non-judgmental when listening to what our children are trying to tell us. The more you engage in conversations with your teen the more comfortable they will feel, especially when you express that you love and care about them and have their best interests in mind. You’ll win them over by simply being consistently open and transparent.
Decision 3-Coach: In my parent workshops, I speak a lot about being a parent/coach. First, don’t show up as a parent/coach only when there’s a problem or a specific challenge that your teen is facing. Be consistent in your parenting/coaching and understand it is a 24/7 job. It’s tricky, because as a parent you will always have emotions that can create judgement when conversing, however, the quickest way to alienate your teen is by judging them based on what they are trying to share with you. Be open; give advice; guide…don’t lead. Ultimately it’s critically important to communicate to empower.
Decision 4-Be Mindful: Connect to what is happening around you, and with your teen at this moment. Walk in their shoes, especially at a time where there are so many changes going on in their world. Gen Zers, “are the most connected generation, yet the loneliest generation ever”, according to Cigna Insurance, 2018 research on Millennials and Gen Z. Being open, and being a friend is healthy. Some parents feel that you must be that authoritarian figure; the boss mindset, this doesn’t go over too well with Gen Zers. You must arrive at a win-win, and be prepared to be schooled by your teenager. For certain they are much smarter than we give them credit for. Win their hearts, and you’ll connect better with their brains.
Decision 5-Become the Best Parent: Many parents wrongly believe their job is to be the parent you always imagined you would be, or the parent you wish you had. Your real job is to become the parent your teen needs now! Each child is different, so being a flexible and informed parent is important. Parenting is a process; take head-on the challenges you’ll face, but enjoy the lovely moments your child will almost always give you. Ride those high tides together. Celebrate the victories, don’t just focus on what your teen hasn’t accomplished. Are you expecting them to live your life and fulfill your dreams, or are you there to offer them a safe platform for them to discover their own passions, ambitions and purpose? Finally, be aware that when becoming the best parent, understand that children see, learn, and reflect whatever it is you are trying to model.
In my final series of 3, I’ll be sharing wisdom with educators on the “take-charge” activities they can implement to impact their students.
In my next series, I’ll be focusing on parents and sharing ways they can take charge in making the right decisions that’ll help them align with their Gen Z children.
BIZNOVATOR is a youth empowerment platform that offers a year-round experience for young people interested in entrepreneurship, social innovation and global leadership. Through our seminars, workshops, summer camps and in school Academies, BIZNOVATOR helps young people to DISCOVER their purpose, TRANSFORM their mindset and CONNECT to their future. We have recently launched our Online Learning Platform, www.mybiznovator.com which enables young people from all over the world to experience our unique BIZNOVATOR programs. We invite you to join us!
Juan Pablo Casimiro is Founder and CEO of BIZNOVATOR. With more than 30 years of empowering youth and adults globally, Casimiro never misses a moment to teach, coach and challenge his clients to live their dreams. Casimiro was born in Dominican Republic and grew up in New York City.