Every parent and every teen and young adult knows things are changing. So does every leader. But the real question is: How are things changing and what does it mean?
Kara Powell and Steve Argue dive into their latest research and explain how a twenty year gap has emerged between when kids grow up too fast as young teens, but don’t fully emerge as adults until 30, and what that means for kids, parents, emerging adults and leaders.
Welcome to Episode 249 of the podcast. Listen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.
Read a chapter of Growing With FREE and take the Growing With Parenting Quiz here!
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3 Insights from Kara & Steve
1. Young people are driven by identity, belonging and purpose (aren’t we all?)
Young people are driven by three quests: Identity, Belonging and Purpose.
Identity – Who am I?
Belonging – Where do I fit?
Purpose – What difference do I make?
If we’re honest, aren’t these the same things that drive adults for a lifetime? Here’s the difference – for most young people those questions are a rolling boil. For people 30+, those questions are often more simmering. But it’s important to remember that a generational gap doesn’t really divide the desires of our human hearts. We’re all asking the same questions and we’re all on the same quest.
2. Empathy is the key to connecting the age gap
A quick way to shut down dialogue with your growing child is using that old phrase, “when I was your age”. It’s funny that when we were kids we hated hearing that from our parents, but quickly found use for it when the tables turned.
As adults, we see those words as bridge-builders, but to young people that phrase creates an instant barrier. Just because we were young once, doesn’t mean we really have a grasp on what young people are going through today. Things have changed.
That doesn’t mean we can’t talk to each other or relate to each other. Mature adults just need to recognize the differences before attempting to relate to a younger generation. Approaching conversations with empathy is the way to go. Asking questions like, “What’s this like for you?” or “How are you wrestling with that?” is key to connecting and relating to each other.
3. Each stage of emerging adults needs different support from parents
Most people categorize the younger generation into two groups: teenagers and young, emerging adults, but Kara and Steve think that should go a little deeper. Instead of two stages, their new book Growing With suggests three:
The Learner Stage: Typically ages 13-18 when a young person is experiencing rapid physical, emotional, relational, intellectual, and spiritual growth that brings all sorts of new questions, interests and friendships.
The Explorer Stage: Roughly ages 18-23 when a young person is often venturing away from home for the first time or away from home-oriented routines. New goals, relationships and beliefs are being pursued. Explorers are excited about the future, but unsure about themselves.
The Focuser Stage: Ages 23-28 is usually the chapter in life when a young person starts gaining a clearer sense of who they are. Educational, vocational, relational, and spiritual choices have been made that opened up new opportunities and closed others.
Each stage requires a different style of parenting, and a different type of response from the church. Here are the three styles of support:
The Teacher: The Learner Stage needs a teacher who is hands-on, helps the teenager be self-motivated, trains them in the right practices, and disciplines to help them succeed.
The Guide: The Explorer Stage needs a guide to give the new young adults more room than they previously had as a Learner. A great guide knows when to allow people to explore and when to give more direction.
The Resourcer: The Focuser Stage needs someone who will listen from the young adult’s perspective and offer resources (not necessarily financial) and advice when asked.
Want to learn more? Take the Growing With Parent Quiz to find out which stage your child is so you can offer the support they need. You can also dive into a free chapter of Growing With while you’re there.
Quotes from Episode 249
Looking for a key quote? More of a reader?
Read or download a free PDF transcript of this episode here.
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Next Episode: Gary Chapman
Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages has sold more than 12 million copies and every year it sells more copies than the year before. Gary talks about why the book has resonated as deeply as it has and how using the Five Love Languages at work can greatly improve employee satisfaction. We also drill down into how the love languages can impact your marriage and your parenting.
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