Ask Our Gen Z Expert

Posted by Steve Robertson on Mar 13, 2018 1:30:59 PM

Image-1.jpgQ: How can Parenting 2.0 make the difference with your Gen Zers (born 1996-2010)?

A:  The discussion on how to parent well and in so doing give your child the best foundation possible to embrace the future rages continually. Over dinner with other parents we are always inquisitive, listening to see if there is a suggestion about a technique or approach that can help us with what feels like the lifetime pursuit that is parenting. By the time we feel as though we have made any progress, it seems like they will be ready to leave the house.

If we have to take a serious look at how we are doing as parents, I am afraid we may see a number of areas we could do a lot better. We all tend to see the area of improvement and not give ourselves the pat-on-the-back for the fact that we are doing our best to raise good human beings. They seem to be turning out just fine, so far… then pre-teen/teenage years and middle & high school happen! Enter Parenting 2.0, a.k.a. Deliberate Parenting, designed for a generation unlike any we have seen before.

Definition | ParŸentŸing (2.0)

Verb:  1. Deliberate parenting with Gen Z and the digital world in mind.

  1. Parents making a conscious effort to understand Gen Z and the fact they’re not being raised in a vacuum. Rather an integrated digital reality where all technology connect and these digital natives all speak the same Alien language parents need to learn.
  2. Parenting 2.0 is intentionally coaching versus traditional methods

Parenting 2.0 is not usually apparent with elementary school Zers, but quickly becomes more evident with middle/high schoolers. It begins with the realization that many of the many of the assumptions we cling to and techniques used with previous generations just will not bear fruit with Gen Z. Once we understand how they are wired differently, it enables us to engage with them in a more meaningful and productive way.

Middles school, specifically, is where the 2.0 software needs to be initiated. One area that is a high priority is helping Zers learn the soft skills that are a critical part of growing in independence and confidence. We would expect that they practice these skills at school, but the truth is with bullying, building social pressures, and other challenges that have are a reality for a lot ok kids school has not been where we are seeing growth in this area. Collaboration opportunities are an incredibly valuable environment to learn and practice these soft skills. If the setting is outside of school in places where they can gather around a common interest, the learning is surprisingly effective. As Zers spends time in this type of environment, they are also drawn in and look forward to doing it more…all the while lessening the amount of time spent on “bad” screen time. Look for and get your Zer into programs, classes, camps where this kind of collaboration happens.

We live in their world and yes, it’s a digital one. This is maybe the critical important part of the 2.0 parental download where we MUST realize and be deliberate about how we stay relevant in Zers lives, interacting with them as they live and communicate in this space and model behavior without having to lay down “The Law”. Screen time is here to stay and there are many ways we can be a part of this… social media screen time is the one we need to stay most aware of. This is the one that can lead to depression and worse.  So become fluent in their language and try to learn a new app each week, make it interactive and ask them to help get you started. Your acknowledgment and appreciation of their digital skills will help them blossom and potentially help them uncover a passion. 

 “If we do not change the way we teach, 30 years from now, we’re going to be in trouble,” said. The knowledge-based approach of “200 years ago”, would "fail our kids", who would never be able to compete with machines. Children should be taught “soft skills” like independent thinking, values and team-work, he said.”

- Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba Group (Source: World Economic Forum)


IMG_6181[1]-1.jpgSteve Robertson, CEO of Julian Krinsky Camps & Programs (JKCP)

Steve Robertson is the CEO of Julian Krinsky Camps & Programs (JKCP), an organization specializing in youth-to-adult programming that turns curiosity into passion and skill. Steve is also a Gen Z & Millennial expert after working with youth at the company and around the globe for more than 20 years. In this role, his primary responsibility is to cultivate a culture that results in memories lasting a lifetime.

Topics: Pre-Professional Programs, For Parents, Generation Z

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