The next generation will need to solve some big problems in the world.
And Australia is pushing to be known for innovation. We need our kids to be able to think for themselves – more so than ever in history.
Mindless obedience may have served in the past to prepare the younger generation for a career on an assembly line. Those jobs are rapidly disappearing as technology takes over. Such jobs may not even exist when our children start their careers. The next generation will need the space to learn these skills and a place to practice having a voice.
The future generation will likely need to be able to demonstrate:
- Creative/ innovative thinking
- An ability to speak their mind, to show up with authenticity, and back themselves
- Conflict management and communication skills
- An ability to lead people
- A capacity to negotiate effectively
So how does one develop these skills in children?
Quite likely – it starts with giving children a voice.
What does this look like in our family?
Well… it looks a bit like chaos. Okay, a lot like chaos. My partner and I are attempting to raise our children in a way that respects their difference and their point of view. For better or worse…we have allowed our children to be:
My children may seem defiant and willful at times. At home, they appear comfortable sharing their opinion and negotiating. Even questioning parental decisions, calling out hypocrisy and keeping us accountable to our promises. As parents, sometimes we get to the end of a hard day and ask ourselves “so who gave them that choice? Who said they could have an opinion?” We groan and remember that.. oh yeah…we did.
I believe that it is okay to question authority figures, including us. The hope is that they learn to listen to themselves and consider the behaviour of others in context. We also anticipate that they may be able to better protect themselves.
Themselves / to show up:
I hope that it is safe for my kids to be themselves at home. That they do get the chance to ‘just be’. That they can drop the mask. We strive to hold space for them if they “flip their lid”.
Okay with failure:
From early on we have attempted to reinforce effort and trying over perfection. So far with limited success. Probably a result of parents with perfectionistic tendencies and the rampant cultural messages about the importance of getting it right. Imagine what a gift it would be for our children to not have to worry about failing. How many ideas would be voiced? How many more risks would be taken?…..
All of this happens in a context of Limit Setting.
Our children do not get free reign. As the parents, we are the leaders. In that role we set boundaries, act as role models and communicate what we believe is important (values and morals).
Parenting this way can be hard. Sometimes after a day of constantly being challenged by our children and after they are tucked in bed asleep – I whisper to my husband…. “can we go back to fear-based parenting?” And I am only half joking.
However, parenting is different now.
Tips to support those parents ‘growing up’ the next generation:
Avoid judging others for parenting differently to how you parent (or parented) your own children did or imagine you might parent if you had children
Recognise that there is a huge amount of pressure these days to be a perfect parent. You are confronted daily by what you should be doing with your children (and so therefore constantly reminded by how often you fail at it).
This article was NOT written to tell parents what they “should do”. There is way too much of that out there already. I merely had an interest in sharing what our family believes in and how we are preparing our children for an uncertain future.
If you need someone to hold space for you or a loved one please contact Wellbeing Therapy Space on 1300 208 680.
Author: Rebecca Dallard
Photo by Austin Neill on Unsplash