Why are Millennials committing more suicide, have lower self-esteem, are less resilient, and exhibit poorer face-to-face communication skills than previous generations?
Our Millenials want to work with purpose, have a positive impact, and make meaningful contributions.
Sounds good–right? Then why are they committing more suicide, have lower self-esteem, are less resilient, and exhibit poorer face-to-face communication skills than previous generations?
65% of our children today will be working jobs that have not yet been developed. They need skills computers cannot do.
21st century learning and success requires children to be adaptable, content, happy, healthy, caring, confident, collaborative, and creative. They need to be able to listen, right, and think strategically and critically.
“So, what can we do to promote this in our children?” we ask.
Although we live in challenging times, there are actions we can take that can help all of us–from children to grandparents.
The following suggestions are meant to be adapted, modified, or stimulate us to create our own actions that can nurture more happiness and success–for us and our children.
Instant gratification doesn’t allow for the experience of fulfillment that is gained from working hard to accomplish something.
LET THEM EXPERIENCE STRESS
Coming out the other side and being okay can build resilience and coping mechanisms.
CREATE OPPORTUNITIES FOR FACE-TO-FACE INTERACTION
Opportunities for connection and empathy disappear when we are face-to-face with our technology rather than face-to-face with a person–even ourselves.
Some possibilities include: no technology for THE ADULT AND CHILD on walks, in the car (except on long vacations which can be 50-50), during meals, waiting anyplace, or IN THE BEDROOM 1-2 HOURS BEFORE BEDTIME and, yes, DURING THE NIGHT. It may take 10 morning drives to school for one memorable interaction of connection and empathy.
LET THEM EXPERIENCE FAILURE.
No one has said it better than Michael Jordan:
“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
LET THEM FIGHT THEIR OWN BATTLES
The learning and confidence children gain from fighting their own battles builds resilience, a growth mindset, and a sense of competence.
PROMOTE THEM SOLVING THEIR OWN PROBLEMS
Struggling through the often arduous work of problem solving often fosters a sense of accomplishment, competence, success, and contentment in the workplace and in life.
MODEL, MODEL, MODEL
Model everything–this includes character qualities and morals. Grit. Resilience. Persistence. Compassion. Curiosity. Social Communication. Self-regulation. Deep thinking. Kindness. To be learned they need to be taught. They will promote happiness and success more consistently than academic learning.
RE-EVALUATE OUR OWN BEHAVIOR
Sometimes what we think is helpful and supportive may very well inhibit growth and well-being. We may want to ask ourselves whether what we are doing promotes independence, competence, and confidence in their own abilities to solve problems.
Teaching our children to say “Thank you” and “Please” is helpful, and hearing those words is lovely to witness. However, following directions, resisting answering a cell phone or text messaging during an interview, and maintaining eye-contact while speaking is also good manners.
Playing is fun and teaches how to take turns, wait, problem solve, guess, make mistakes–and be okay–fail, and succeed. It can also help our children learn emotional connection and social interaction.
Language is the most important skill we have. We can dialogue with our children about what’s important to them. What’s important to us. What’s happening in the world. Talking in this manner encourages our children to think deeply and develop curiosity while we enjoy their company.
Chores help build character and stimulate teamwork, independence, and responsibility. It is our children’s responsibility to take part in the family’s success without being paid simply because they are a member of the family. Helping feels good–often better than being helped–helps bond a family together.
Our children need to experience limits to handle not getting what they want when they want it. Choosing issues we will immediately and consistently follow through on without anger can be very helpful. If we give in after multiple “beg”, our children know this and will work us.
According to Simon Sinek, a British/American author, motivational speaker and marketing consultant, there are some very compelling reasons and none of them are their faults.
One parent called the following 15 minute video sobering. Take a look.
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*Some of the information in this article was presented at the Learning and the Brain Conference 2017 held in San Francisco by Drs. Golinkoff, Young Zhao, Ferguson, and Sorenson.