Dad: Son, it’s time I gave you the talk about the birds and the bees.
Son: About how they are endangered due to human action and habitat loss? Did you know that without humans the earth would survive, but without bees, entire eco-systems would collapse?
Times are changing and at a rate that can be hard to keep up. No two generations have experienced a bigger gap than Gen X parents and their Gen Z kids. Let’s face it, these kids know way too much and more than their parents will ever know. But does that mean that Gen X should throw their hands up in the air and let their offspring run loose? That’s probably not a great idea. There is wisdom that comes with age that no amount of reading or researching on the net could every bring.
If parents want to bridge the generation gap with their kids however, they need to accept that it’s a two-way street. The older generation has a lot to teach the young ones, but they also have a lot to learn from these kids. One thing for sure that Gen X can learn from their children, is about the fluid world that we live in. Gone are the days of guys and gals or dudes and dudettes. Now everyone is ‘bruh’ and with good reason – gender fluidity.
Being gender fluid?
Being gender-fluid means to have a gender that is not strictly masculine or feminine. For example; There are individuals who might be of one gender but feel like they belong to another or those who identify as either, both or neither genders at different times.
For someone who has grown up in a more binary, black/white world, this can be extremely confusing. Which brings us back to the opening lines of this piece; forget talking about the birds and the bees (we saw how that went), you can’t even talk about ‘boy meets girl’ anymore.
Breaking things down to build the bridge
If you’re a parent and are wondering how to have ‘the talk’ with your teenage kids, here’s something you should consider:
Your kids most likely already know about sex. Instead of expecting to tell them about it, it might be a good idea to ask them if they have any questions, they want to ask you. Be prepared to give open and honest answers. It would also help to understand if your child is having trouble finding their identity. Studies have shown that having supportive parents has not only helped boost teens’ self-esteem but also helped prevent depression and even suicide. Parents don’t need to know it all, they just need their kids to know that they love and accept them no matter what.
Kids who have learned acceptance in the home are also more likely to be accepting of other kids who are different. On the other hand, children who have been forced to conform and fit a certain set of acceptable behaviours, are more prone to become bullies. It’s interesting that in a world where kids know so much, they still need their parents to teach them kindness and compassion for other human beings. Like we said, bridging the gap is a two-way street.
These are confusing times for both teenage kids and their parents. The age of information has armed us with easy access to everything we need to know, and yet dealing with human behaviour can still be a challenge. Perhaps, if parents really want to connect with their kids, then they should take a break from googling How To Raise A Teenager articles and talk to them face to face.