Writer and educator, PhD in African-American literature
Illustration of children's toys. (Shutterstock/Vorobyeva)
Generation Z has many advantages over Generation Y individuals. The most obvious one is that they have comparatively richer and more generous parents. Therefore, children nowadays have everything – clothes, food, gadgets, toys, books – in abundance. If we look around, we feel happy that scarcity is not a problem anymore among skilled and educated middle-income people.
Nowadays, parents buy everything in abundance for their children and feel good about it. Parents think there is no need for their kids to struggle like them for the trivial pleasures of life, especially when they have enough money to spend. They have money so they can make their kids happy.
However, the bitter truth is that this is not the right attitude as it makes the children overwrought, jittery and indifferent. Consequently, children experience only momentary pangs of thrill and joy whenever they get something new. They are happy, as if intoxicated, for a few hours. Pangs of happiness pass quickly and then there they are with sad faces and sobbing eyes again – a déjà vu moment for parents!
Kids have stopped valuing valuables because they get everything too easily. They get easily, they discard easily.
Buying is a pleasure for Generation Z, but keeping and caring is cumbersome and boring. They are heading toward a culture of "use and throw" because they know that they will certainly get a replacement. The kids of this generation do not know how it feels to cherish and enjoy for years the pair of brand-name shoes or the wrist-watch given after months of convincing and persuading parents. They don’t know what maddening pleasure it is to get that one expensive dress or that one badminton racket after pleading earnestly for weeks to parents.
Having overly benevolent parents should certainly be a benefit for children but the irony of today is that the magnanimity of nouveau-riche parents does not help their children to turn out to be happy and responsible individuals. They have ample things around them but they are sullen, discontented, indifferent and irresponsible.
Or, we can say that they are dazed, baffled and overwhelmed by the abundance showered on them by their opulent and always-busy parents?
In fact, these kids do not know how to handle abundance.
Now the burning question is: What can parents do to save Generation Z kids from this glitch called abundance?
Here are some suggestions. These practices may sound quirky or kiddish at first but they will surely teach kids to value their possessions and help them whine less and cherish more:
The pivotal point is that we should make our kids realize that to lead a happy life, the virtue of having enough is better than adundance; because if excess of everything is bad, abundance of even a few things is awfully fatal. (wng)
Writer and educator Dr Sonia Vashishta Oberoi hails from India. She has a Ph. D. in African-American literature. Her interests vary from kids' literature to writing academic articles. Many of her articles and poems have been published in various newspapers, magazines and literary journals. Check out her blog at https://thinkotopia.wordpress.com.
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.