Gen Zers in the United States will make up the majority of first-time parents in just a couple of years. How quickly time flies. It feels like we were just learning Cheetah Girl lyrics to perform at our talent shows, cruising down the hallway in Heelys and tending to our Tamagotchi’s after school.
Now, some of us will or already have the responsibility of, raising the next generation. Gen Zers are not just kids anymore. Black female leaders of this generation, like Naomi Osaka, are proudly entering parenthood, making this so much more of a reality. Being a mom as a Gen Zer is no longer an abstract thought; based on research, we’re excited to parent.
Each generation has a parenting style they are known for. The parenting style depends on their cultural influences and world events. According to a study by Vice Media Group, Gen Zers’ overall parenting goal ‘is to be the parents we wish we’d had.’ We’re hyper-aware of our upbringing and are determined to be different. Several approaches are being taken to make that a reality.
For one, Gen Z parents are letting their kids guide them. “[Gen Z] extends [children] the same level of consideration they would other adults.” Kids are equals and not treated like property. We’re taking the approach of putting ourselves in the child’s shoes. That approach is most common in China, where 62% of Gen Z parents often ask their children for their input when making plans. We want them to be emotionally invested in a relationship willingly, not just out of obligation.
That is why another approach to Gen Z parenting focuses on building a solid emotional connection with the kids. Intimacy is super important. Gen Zers are committed to displaying affection.
“I’m very open with telling my child I love him,” said Vanessa Ocampo, 25, Air Force/ Airman mother, “We’re big on emotions and feelings in our house.”
Even as a woman who serves, accustomed to being rigid and strict, she makes it a priority to be affectionate. As we delved deeper into a conversation, she revealed her parents weren’t as affectionate. Her parenting style coincides with the theme of our generation, which is to ‘be the parents we wish we’d had.’
Another common approach was looking beyond intimidation as a parenting strategy. Around the globe, parents want to use less physical discipline. “Gen Z overwhelmingly agrees that trust—not discipline—is the strategy they feel is most effective in protecting their kids from the perils of the outside world.” Communication is essential to curate that trust, and our generation prioritizes it.
“The way we discipline is talking, talking through what he did wrong,” Ocampo said. From her explanation, the priority is making sure the child feels safe having a conversation about mistakes. When the goal is progress and not perfection, it takes a lot of pressure off the parent and child.
This leaves more room for communication and processing what was communicated in parenting.
The approaches discussed are just a few ways Gen Zers are committed to redefining parenting. Overall, we have a self-aware generation committed to unlearning destructive behaviors to parent the next generation effectively.
About the author: Shelby Denise Smith is a full-time Social Media Editor and part-time Freelance Writer. She loves writing about news, wellness, and beauty and hosting impactful conversations with influencers and experts on those subjects.