When it comes to connecting with someone who is older and younger, there can be some obstacles due to generational changes. Events that were progressive once can seem almost medieval to the newest generation, and older generations watch as things they cared about are almost irreverently overlooked. Generally speaking, it can be difficult for generations to make societal connections that are critical for continued overall prosperity. The same can be said on a more intimate level when it comes Millennials and Generation X/Baby Boomers making connections within the family structure. Every generation rebels in some way against their previous generations, and those previous generations may think, “I wanted to be the parent who could talk to their kids about anything.”
Although the term insanity would define this repeated system – doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result – history suggests it isn’t going to change soon. Granted, communication and relationships have been given more attention as we progress, therefore progress has been made. But, this cycle isn’t likely to die soon. Thusly, continued attempts at better communication are needed. As a parent, it’s your responsibility to connect with your kids on trends and issues through seasoned wisdom, and hopefully impart a lesson that will better future generations.
Your progeny are reflections of yourself, and their comprehension of current trends/issues can be enhanced by your past experiences. The world may change, but the basic principles stay true. Even if it seems like an attack on something you once held in high regard, or awareness of an issue you’ve never considered, you can help your kiddos maintain a few of those principles. The following are a few recent issues that may strike a chord or be a new issue to you that can still be used to connect with your Millennial children.
Perceived Professional Athletic Integrity
Whether it’s new or the media has revealed a long-hidden issue, professional athletes are not seen as the role models they once were. Professional sports, such as the NFL, have suffered a barrage of criticism due to organizational actions. From coaches to players, the spotlight has unearthed uncouth actions or practices that professional sports have claimed they don’t tolerate. These revelations have taken a toll, as 67% of Millennials don’t trust NFL players, and 61% see the NFL as untrustworthy. So how can you respond when your kids claim the NFL is a racket and not what it once was?
Teach them perspective and focus. Although news outlets are uncovering negatives within the NFL – unsportsmanlike conduct and avoidable risks – there are many positives to focus on. There are players with integrity on and off the field that aren’t given the limelight, and many professionals within the organization are pursuing protective research. You can teach them how to research these issues, and find the positives that occur along with the negatives. They don’t need the world to tell them what to focus on.
Alcohol Overindulgence and Societal Pressure
In a 2013 US report, a little over 26% of Millennials claimed they partook in frequent “binge drinking”. Binge drinking is defined as having more than 5 drinks per occasion, which can lead to long-term physical and societal detriments. Alcohol consumption has been an issue plaguing people since its birth, making it one of the few prevalent issues that spans multiple generations. You probably have known someone who suffer/suffered the effects of alcohol overindulgence such as liver disease, relationship isolation or even having to go to seek treatment for substance abuse. Causes can be traced back to addiction, or worse, societal pressures. So how can you breach the topic of alcohol consumption without sounding like a “fuddy-duddy”?
You can discuss moderation and goals. Drinking is a responsibility, not a right. Everyone handles consumption differently, but there are proven dangerous levels to be aware of. It might be what “everyone is doing” and fun to have a few extra, but emphasize that long-term excessive drinking hinders progress towards life goals, relationships, and results in permanent physical damage. You can help them acknowledge life goals, and urge them to partake in healthy activities that replace time spent with a drink.
These are only two of the issues prevalent to your Millennial kid, and there are more that lend themselves to life lessons. If you want a connection, surpass the rhetoric like, “back in my day, we had the best football players”, and acknowledge the dangers of alcoholism. These are things that they have many thoughts on, and, in turn, want to discuss them with you. Every discussion is a moment to pass along your wisdom and core principles; don’t let them go by the wayside.