Raising Generation Z

If there’s anyone who has an intimate knowledge of millennials and Generation Z kids, then it’s got to be Anthony Pangilinan. A father of five growing kids, Anthony is not only one of the country’s leading management trainers and motivational speakers, he is also captain of Team Pangilinan. With his wife actress and author Maricel Laxa Pangilinan and their five children, they participate in fun runs, triathlons, marathons, and Ironman competitions to promote a fit, balanced, and productive lifestyle.

At the recently concluded Raising Gen Z, a conference spearheaded by Our Awesome Planet and Mommy Mundo, Anthony shared the spotlight with his daughter Hannah, an accomplished swimmer and popular YouTuber, to discuss what parents and kids can do if they want to journey together in the digital age. The two shared five talking points for families to consider if they want to maintain and nurture healthy parent-child relationships.

Idea #1: Get connected online and offline.
Most parents are taken off guard when their kids won’t accept their friend request on Facebook. Some get downright offended. Their children shouldn’t think twice about being virtual friends with them, they say. After all, they do live in the same house. But then living in the same house doesn’t automatically translate into having a good relationship, right?

Anthony says, “If you’re going to be your kid’s friend online, you must first be friends offline.”

Anthony, it seems, has established such a good relationship with Hannah that she says, “I don’t feel like he’s parenting. He’s like a mentor, a best friend.”

Hannah suggests that parents shouldn’t be competition to their kids’ friends and other interests, they should be “add-ons.”

Parents shouldn’t demean their children’s time online, but rather give them a reason not to want to be on their phones. She adds, “If they are social media dependent, then maybe it’s because they can’t find affirmation at home.”

Idea #2: Open your mind towards each other.
Anthony admits that he is fascinated as to how Hannah does virtually everything as a YouTuber. She’s not just the talent, she is also her own makeup artist, scriptwriter, and video editor. Looking at how millennials and Gen Z kids are doing these days, he can only surmise: “They are empowered like never before.”

This is something that parents must acknowledge and appreciate. In the past, parents are wont to say that they know everything; these days, maybe not so much.

In the same way, Hannah is astounded by how her dad is such an expert in the field of communications, and she never fails to take the opportunity to learn from him. She is also grateful for the doors that opened to her because of her dad’s connections, and she encourages kids and parents to work together at achieving goals.

Collaborating with each other will not only result in goals achieved, it is also a great opportunity to strengthen bonds, she says.

Idea #3: Agree on non-negotiables.
Anthony has a good take on establishing non-negotiables. First, he encourages families to set the non-negotiables. Agree on what will never change. But once you’ve set the non-negotiables, then be open to change in everything else.

Parenting demands flexibility, but there should be rules, guidelines, and values which should never be changed. He adds, “Always say yes so that when you say no, they will listen.”

He adds, “I don’t force what I think is right unless it is clearly wrong. I will always say, ‘Let’s pray for it first.’”

Hannah agrees that one’s attitude and action must be rooted in something bigger than one’s self.”

Idea #4: Let God lead.
Anthony says, “I am thankful that I’m not just parenting but I am also parented. When I’m lost, I need time with the Lord. We have to trust the hand that moves the world. We’re not in control.”

Hannah says, “If you don’t learn things now, God will teach you. Dad says you either learn from instruction or experience.”

Anthony adds, “Don’t parent harder, parent smarter.”

Whenever possible, seek the help of others, seek the assistance of mentors. “Get a champion for your cause,” he says.

Idea #5: Stay connected on weak signal and low battery.
Every Sunday after dinner, the Pangilinans have a family meeting where they talk about what’s going on in their lives as well what’s coming up. Because they all have busy schedules, the Sunday meeting allows them to stay connected. It also forces them to confront issues which they may have brushed off during the course of the week like little tiffs between siblings. Because they are face to face with each other, they have time to iron out disagreements. At times, some members may not be able to attend, but they hold on to this Sunday meeting because they know it’s good for everyone. As Anthony put it, “A body connected heals itself.”

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