Four Ways to Show Gen Z You Care
Cultivating any relationship takes time and effort, but showing care for a young person requires a precise type of support. Young people want to be noticed, named, and known, and adults can meet that need by relating to them in a way that helps build trust from the start. Read below for four ways to give Gen Zers the care they need.
- Commit to their flourishing. Demonstrating care to a young person is patient and careful work, but it’s worth it. Eighty-seven percent of the young people we surveyed in The State of Religion and Young People 2020: Relational Authority say they trust adults who take time to foster relationships. Young people experience care when you spend time with them and then honor the time you’re together by listening intently, taking notes, and avoiding other distractions. Young people are often juggling several commitments and responsibilities, so offering support and meaningful action consistently can help them thrive at work or school and in life.
- Commit to sharing authentically. Young people are navigating complicated territory as they figure out what identity, community, and meaning look like in their lives. Sharing your experiences in treading those same waters builds bonds and strengthens connections. Almost 80% of the young people we surveyed say they trust someone who shares things about their life. So don’t hesitate to be vulnerable and transparent with your young person, especially on big issues. This includes knowing when to say, “I don’t know.”
- Commit to listening when they talk. It’s easy to not be fully present in a conversation, but young people need attention and active listening to build connection. More than 90 percent of the young people we surveyed say they trust someone who takes the time to hear what they have to say and then remembers the things they share. When talking with a young person, take notes and follow up by asking questions to clarify what you heard. This will help you remember key details that can be used later to demonstrate that you heard them.
- Commit to practicing what you preach. The old parental adage “do as I say not as I do” is not an effective strategy when it comes to Gen Z. Young people don’t expect perfection, but they do ask for consistency and accountability. Eighty-two percent of young people say they trust someone who does what they say they’re going to do, and 83% trust adults who take action to fix things when they’ve caused harm. Only make commitments you know you can keep, and be sure to make amends if you’ve made a misstep.
In this complex season of life, young people need a stable presence. When an adult takes the steps listed above, they can serve as a needed anchor. Commit to showing up, and you’ll build strong bonds, earn trust, and create lasting influence needed to help young people flourish in life.