Sep 02

Learning from our youth


If you are a parent of a teenager or a pre-teen, take heart – communicating with them is probably just as hard as it was for your parents to get through to you! And before you start to argue, remember back to when you felt that you weren’t being “understood”?

The good news is that you are not alone and the better news is that there are ways and means of communicating with people who think that grunting is a highly evolved form of communication.

The stages

These are the generations of the last century that researchers, marketers (and parents) are focusing on (or dealing with!). 

• 1920 – 1945    Veterans/Builders
• 1946 – 1964    Baby Boomers
• 1965 – 1979    Generation X
• 1980 – 1994    Generation Y
• 1995 – 2009    Generation Z
• 2010 +    Generation A (Alpha)

Let’s focus on the most talked about category – Generation Y – well, that’s until we see what Gen Z has to offer!

Who are these people… and Y?

In actual fact, if parents and employers of Gen Ys would stop and watch the behaviours of these young people, we might find that they have a great deal to teach us.

Consider their qualities:

• Self confident, optimistic
• Quick decision makers
• Comfortable with technology and tradition
• Entrepreneurial
• More savvy
• Take risks but don’t look back.
• No fear!

How to communicate with them?

Our own parents probably pondered the same question; however given the unique qualities of this generation maybe they have more to teach us than we think. Parents (and even grandparents) who show an interest in technology and learn how to use the internet, email and SMS will have a greater advantage of reaching their offspring, even if it does mean sending an SMS to tell them that dinner is on the table! 

Australians aged under 25 have never had to deal with a major catastrophe such as World Wars or long-term global depressions (no, the GFC doesn’t come close). Sure, getting a job might be more difficult but in many cases, because of their close relationship to technology from a very young age, they are more likely to start their own businesses. They will take risks and if they lose the lot, they usually dust themselves off and have another go. Stress is something they deal with, embracing change instead of fighting it. 

Of course, this doesn’t apply to all people in this generation, just as the attributes of a star sign don’t apply to everyone born on a certain date, but it does give you food for thought when you witness the actions of this noisy generation. And just remember, they will become parents to Generations Z and A!

Sources: “Understanding Gen Y” “Generation Y profile”
White Paper – Seriously Cool: Marketing and communicating with diverse generations – McCrindle Research  Babies born from 2010 to form Generation Alpha

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