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4 Reasons American Parents are LOSING the Battle to Save Generation Z

Many of today’s youth are being destroyed in epidemic proportions. The root of this issue is parenting—or the lack of it. America has stopped raising its children and instead has used the indiscretion of TV, social media, celebrities and trends. Here are four key reasons America’s children are out of control and the hands of our educators are tied.

  1. America’s Parents are No Longer Instilling Positive Values

Children learn their values from home first. Many Generation Z parents are losing because they’re not teaching positive values on a consistent basis at home. Instead, music, social media, and celebrities are instilling values in America’s future. When did “It’s popular,” or “It’s trendy,” become synonymous with “It’s right”? Strong core values are the most important aspects  parents can instill in their children. Without strong values, children are like ships without a sail—easily misled; a car without brakes—out of control and bound for disaster.

Values are the foundation children stand on when making decisions. A foundation consisting of positive values will regularly lead to better judgement and decision making. Likewise, a foundation with negative criteria can lead to peril. Many of America’s youth, when faced with a test of character are standing on a weak foundation with shallow values. As a result, we see the conviction of these lame values being played out on our local news each night.

Parents must take time to build positive values and do it on a consistent basis. Values, are critical to enabling children to withstand the quakes and storms destined to visit. If you have children (or work with them) ask yourself: “What are the most important values I want my children to gain?” Then, regularly look for moments to reiterate these values when you're disciplining, rewarding, inspiring and educating your children.

2. No Real Parenting Plan

Effective parenting for Generation Z involves being prepared and having a parenting plan. Why? College tuition is insanely high, becoming bilingual--even trilingual, is essential to being competitive and low skill jobs are becoming obsolete. A good plan will help your children be successful in the future, isn’t that what you want? Failing to plan for your Generation Z child is planning for them to fail. What are the chances of dropping a cow in the African Safari and expecting it to survive for a week? Good luck with that.

Planning for your children means becoming consciously aware of their individual needs. You must be in-tuned with your youth. Read books, research best practices and consult others who have raised children in ways that are impressive to you. Learning from others is an incredibly useful tool. The best way to develop a parenting plan is to have a plan for yourself. What are your goals and aspirations (short and long-term)? Once you’ve established your plan it will be easier to develop your child’s.

3. Misplaced Priorities

Many Generation Z children are suffering in part because of the misplaced priorities of their parents.  As a result, many Generation Z children perform poorly in school and lack sufficient abilities to cope with life challenges. A big concern, are the parents who don’t invest $5 in supplies for a class project yet purchase $250 sneakers and $300 belts for their student to wear to school. Since when did fashion trump education? What does that tell children about what’s most important?

I know an educator that instructs 150 to 200 students in the 6th grade and ALL the students are reading below their grade requirement. At least 50% of them read below the 2nd grade level. Also, great portion of this group suffer from sever anxiety, depression, suicidal behavior and social dysfunction. Worse, a large portion of the parents won’t attend parent/teacher meetings or return calls and emails. The irony is, a good portion of these students participate in multiple sports during the week where parents spend loads of time and resources without hesitation. How can Generation Z parents spend loads of cash on equipment, travel leagues and burn hours at practices, knowing their child really needs is a tutor?

The misplaced priorities of the parents also affect the educators. Teachers are being overwhelmed from wearing multiple hats. School professionals are now the parents, psychologists and babysitters—in addition to being required to meet state testing requirements and assessments. No wonder our countries educators are burning out, going home in tears and/or having nervous breakdowns. There must be a paradigm shift to making education a higher priority if our youth are going to compete with the growing world.

4. Not Enough Quality Time

Few people sit on their deathbed and say: “I wish I spent more time working.” Unfortunately, work takes up the biggest chunk of the Generation Z parent’s time. However, the truth is, children require a lot of quality time in order to keep them headed in the right direction.

Children will become like the people influencing them the most. Children spend 8-10 hours away from their parent or guardian Monday through Friday. According to a recent study, 6 out of 10 parents say they struggle to spend time with their children. Worse, a quarter of all parents admit to spending only 34 minutes of UNINTERRUPTED time with their children each day. That number gives us a peek into why children are falling victim to the suggestions of tv, social media, peer pressure and certain celebrities who display poor examples.

Additionally, many Generation Z children are dealing with depression, anxiety and bullying. Each of these aspects connect to a lack of confidence and fear. Quality time with your child will reduce their chances of substance abuse, having poor conduct at school and giving into peer pressure.

A few helpful suggestions to spending quality time with your children are to have a meal together, go outside for a walk, play a board game or video game, cook/bake together. Most importantly, keep the time uninterrupted. Put your phones in a separate room and put them ALL on mute. You’ll have a great time and so will your children.

Essentially, winning the battle to save Generation Z starts from the inside out. It starts inside home, spreads to our communities, cities and our nation. The parent is the true hero, the one with the greatest potential to positively change the course of the future of our youth. Positive values, having a solid plan, putting priorities in the correct order and spending more quality time with our youth are steps in the right direction.

What are some strategies you're using to develop your Generation Z children?

Check out my new book

This book gives effective strategies for maximizing your child's potential. POW will provide you with ideas, recommendations and solutions to achieve the extraordinary  results you're seeking in the youth you're developing. A great read for parents, teachers, counselors or anyone raising children.

Shaun SF. Banks is a presenter who specializes in providing solutions to youth development organizations and thoses looking to enhance their prefessional performance. "SF" is the creator of Camp Warrior King, a year-round youth development camp in Atlanta, GA and the "You Can Have It ALL" conferences. To book SF. Banks to present to your organization,  attend the next conference, or to bring a conference in your city, go to and complete a contact form. 

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