Before I sound like an intergenerational study expert, let me disclose that this post is a result of my observation as a mother of two Gen alpha kids, and may or may not reflect the true scenarios or statistics. And before I write further, let me enlighten you about the generation categories in the chart below:
For the first time in life, I realised today that a person of average lifetime gets to meet people born in the years spanning at least a century. If you are a xennial/millennial like me your oldest grandparents may have been people born in the 1920’s or 1930’s. The youngest we might be dealing with today are the Gen alpha kids, and perhaps the farthest of generation we would witness should be our grandchildren to be born in the 2030’s and 2040’s – unless we are fortunate (or unfortunate?) like the Japanese grannies to hit a century to hear the news of our great-grandchildren who are to be born in the 2080’s.
From 1st to 30th April, I will be writing one post a day on The Things that really matter to Children. Scroll to the bottom of this post to see the complete list of posts in the series.
X for Xennials’ and Millennials’ Parenting: What matters to Children of Gen Alpha?
While millennials are the talk of the era today, it wouldn’t be long that we’ll take a back seat, for when the Gen alpha is going to emerge out as young adults, they are sure going to rewrite everything under the sun in a way unimaginable. For now, let’s just cherish the privilege of parenting Gen alphas!
And for some fun and wisdom, here are a few points about the Gen alpha children:
They are doers! They learn by doing and not by being taught
None of our children were taught how to operate the touch screen, yet they navigate through YouTube videos as though they’ve been doing it for years. I’ve been teaching my mom how to arrange the icons on her tab’s screen for years now, yet she doesn’t seem to get it. That defines what kind of learner one is.
Gen alpha children learn by doing. That’s something I’ve been emphasizing throughout the series – give things in your child’s hands, allow them to make mess, encourage them to collect junk. Let their hands do the work because that’s how they are designed to learn.
They want to be involved in the family
I don’t know what makes me to write this, but my gut tells me the alphas are going to be more involved in the family matters than any of the previous generations. One reasoning that strikes me is that we, the millennials have been taking into our minds the need for the involvement of both the dads and moms in home chores, in financial contribution, in school matters, in cooking, in diaper change – even though we may not have succeeded in it. Yet, we have been and are passing the need for this change genetically and subconsciously to their generation. Let’s allow more room for the little ones to be an active part of our families for that makes the foundation for responsible adulthood.
They are independent thinkers and doers
“Amma, I can do it” and “Amma, let me do it,” are common dialogues from my children. Even when my boy doesn’t know how something is to be done, he first wants a chance to explore by himself before he can be instructed what to do. While we lived our childhood mostly in the shadows of our parents, the Gen alpha isn’t going to be puppets. They are going to self-deduce a lot of conceptualizations on their own. They are going to create new careers. They are going to make their own rules of living. Our parents would have labelled them disobedient, but we would understand how independence matters to the alphas.
They are digital native kids who need adult care in their childhood
Gen alpha belongs to a tribe who are born with iPads and digital classrooms. No matter how hard we screen them from screen time today, they are going to make technology a part of their intimate lives in the future. They are going to step into a world of artificial intelligence, 5G communication and robotics. They are going to use social media at half the age we started using and double the pace we do it today. Though it may sound alarming, the fact of the matter is, in their generation it is going to be just the way of life. However, a critical responsibility of the millennial parents today is to educate their Gen alpha kids about cyber safety, tech addiction, social media addiction and virtual world risks before they get deep into the world wide web.
They are going to be luxury lovers unless intervened in the present
My son’s face goes long if we happen to enter a restaurant that doesn’t look like fine dining 🙄 And I will have to prepare him in advance for a non-AC train travel. As millennials, most of us were raised from middle class economical background and grew up to exceeding the financial stature expectations of our parents – buying a house, luxury car, international vacations – at an age far earlier than they did. We’ve been through both roses and thorns of economy in our times.
In contrast, the Gen alpha are born with silver spoons, golden plates and diamond glasses. They might not realize what it means for a 10-year old to wait for an hour in the queue to rent a bicycle for 50p. They can choose the colour and accessories they want on their branded bicycles at age three. And it is a sheer joy for us to provide that kind of luxury to our children. Of course! However, let us be reminded that the values and lifestyle we impart to them in the coming few years is going to help them stay balanced and strong under all circumstances in the long run.
They are competent yet empathetic
As I observe in the children’s play area and at my boy’s school, I am amazed at the innate ability of the Gen alpha children to empathize with their peers when they lose a game or a race, or meet with a fall or fight. Though many millennial moms focus on that extra, extra, extra in everything for their child in the race to make them competent, it is a good sign to foresee their competency skills being not overtaken by apathy.
They are going to be adults tolerant of religions, cultures, races, gender equality and sexual orientation
If you have been a millennial fighting loudly or silently for the inequalities in the world, know that we have half succeeded in our struggles. Let’s believe Gen alpha shall plant the flag of equality across the globe and if there is anything we can do to tread them in the path, in addition to being a role model, let us do.
Xennials and Millennials are gifted to raise a generation that has the potential to imbibe the highest human values and the advancement in technologies all at the same time. What we make out of the Gen alpha partly lies in our hands. Let us do our best!
If you have something to share about the topic, please leave a comment below. I love to hear from all of you.
Header Image Courtesy – Stylus
Parenting Quote – The Wilder Child
List of posts in the Series