Do you have a loved one who among Generation Z? I do – two girls aged 6 and 7. As a result, I’m always reading articles and books about children and the future for tweens and teens. What is my intention in doing so? To absorb as much information as possible to figure out how best to raise my children and ensure that they are happy, healthy and confident young women.
So when I saw a recent article in The Guardian, Who are Generation Z? The latest data on today’s teens, I thought, great! I read with fervor. It was well written and interesting, but I walked away from the article feeling deflated as a parent. There were depressing statistics – a lot of depressing stats. Upon reflection I thought about the uphill battle our Generation Zs are facing – unprecedented unhappiness, anxiety, self-harming… the list went on and on. The UK is not the exception either. The article cited a World Health Organisation survey that revealed UK girls are among the least happy and with the highest rate of anxiety and health concerns.
Yes, the more alarming numbers could be attributed to our children becoming more articulate and better at communicating their feelings and fears than previous generations. And this is good - very good - as we do want an open and healthy relationship with our children. My worry however is that there is a lot of attention placed on these negative stories. It is a well-known fact that optimists who view the ‘glass half full’, rather than ‘half-empty’ are far happier in life (and healthier and wealthier too). So, why aren’t we doing this with stories about our Generation Z, a generation who has not defined themselves and are still perceptible to outside influence?
Yes, we need to be realistic and look at the numbers, whether they point to good or bad stories, but we also need to reassess the way we are reporting on the results. Is there a way to put a more positive spin within our news coverage? I have to agree with the stance taken in an article printed in 2016 by The Independent. It revealed that in light of all the disconcerting data out there, not all girls are depressed or obsessed with their image and to stop telling them that they are victims. Yes, I thought, this is the other half that isn’t being told enough! By always harping on the uphill battles, are we setting our children up for failure? Instead of talking to our children like they are the victims, why not use empowering messages to uplift and motivate them? Who knows, maybe this approach will help to squash those depressing statistics.
Blog by, Tess Ackland
Tess is the founder and Director of ON! Juniper, a company created to provide organic and natural bath and beauty products to girls. ON! Juniper currently handmakes and sells lip balms and bath bombs, made with only organic and natural ingredients that are skin-loving. Visit www.onjuniper.com