GENERATION RESPECT ME

 

Each generation has it’s title based on their cultural movement. There are the baby boomers, the Gen-X, Y, and Z. My parents are more baby boomers and my children are more Gen Y and Z. My husband and I are Gen Xers.

Baby boomers are influenced by respecting elders and respecting job titles. As we grow older, I see more of the baby boomer mentality ingrained in me which I can feel my children fighting.But, Generation Y and Z see respect differently.

I could see signs of this shift in “what is respect and who is worthy of respect?” in my oldest daughter. But, at that time, I could not grasp it. Now, as I look at my youngest son and my two middle schoolers, I can see the divide a gaping hole.

This generation of children born near the millennium and into a more digital world do not respect relationships as we, Gen Xers were taught. On some level, through our rebellion of baby boomers, we taught our children to challenge the status quo authority.

I have found this generation of children requires constant communication. Where we played outside to have friends, they are connected constantly through technology.

They find it hard to accept “because I said so”. They expect to be respected equally- as adults and want an explanation. This is where it gets sticky. I am an adult and I believe in earned respect. That’s I was taught. That was the influence around me as I was growing up. My children can feel that influence and see it in me and my husband. However,my children expect respect just because. It is not just them but their friends too.

I know there is a careful balance to minimize to this conflict. But to do my part,I am forced to find new tools to maintain and develop a relationship with my children. I could hold on to what my grandparents did and what my parents did but I have discovered the world is functioning different. Different can be good or bad. I am the one who determines if the changes are used for good or evil. I am the teacher( mother). I am the person who will train them to navigate the traditions of family and the realities of a changing world.

This is what I have learned to do differently:

1. I understand and utilize “Teamwork” as part of home. We clean as a team and eat as a team. We support as a team. This is not a new concept. I just present it as a “the way we do things”. I have read over and over again that Gen Y and Z are motivated most when doing team concepts. So that’s what I use. We are a family (a team).

2. I listen and respect their opinion. We have respectful dialogue. We, as a team decide what we want to eat. My husband and I present the choices based on my budget and we go with the majority. I cook everyday and offer everything. But I allow them to decide what goes on their plates. I have one rule: At least one vegetable. I could tell them what to eat and how much but when will they learn to make decisions if I tell them everything? My goal is to empower them to make decisions and understand the consequences of their choices.

3. I am tone specific. I use a tone of mutual respect when I communicate with my children. In return, I get the same thing. I could use give directives, use sarcasm, and anger but I am trying to teach them how to talk to and treat others with respect and maturity. So I must exhibit control over my tone.

Yes, I know….I know…. I could make things very easy and tell them what to do all the time. But what I have discovered is as a mother, trying to teach and train, how can I teach you respect if I respect everyone else and “boss “my children around? I know my power and so do they but, like superman, I don’t use it unless I have to.

Got thoughts, ideas, advice and/or suggestions? Let me know. Leave a comment.

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