Generation X Parents Aren't Latchkey Kids Anymore

So many of us Generation Xers are raising Generation Z kids.  Our oldest is heading off to college next year. Yeah, time does fly and it's crazy how much there is to do their Senior year - and expensive it all is!

Why is it that, as parents, it seems that we have this clock attached to us, especially around this season of life when our kids are getting ready to head off to college?

The questions begin to flood our minds:

Did we raise them right?

Do they know the difference between right and wrong?

Can they make their bed, wash their clothes, or clean a toilet?

These are just some questions I know a few of you ask yourself.

If you were born between 1966 and 1976, you are part of the Generation X generation, in which our parents were less focused on us and more focused on being an adult. Heck, I can remember being dropped off at Grandma’s house as my parents went to Las Vegas every other weekend.

Latchkey Kids

We were “latchkey” kids. Kids whose parents worked and didn’t come home until 5 or 6 at night, meaning we were left at home alone for 3 to 4 hours a day. God-forbid we sat and watched MTV during those hours.

We were known (and still are today) as the hardest working generation since World War II.  And now, we wonder why our own high school kids don’t have jobs because we tell them every day how “I got at job as soon as I turned 16.”

Divorce

Generation X has the highest divorce rate. There are tons of reasons as to why, but growing up in the 70’s only 9 states allowed joint custody.  Seems like our parents knew how to work things out, but we have forgotten how to do that and instead tell ourselves “for the sake of the children.”

So, now, I get to the reason these questions are drawing my attention. The previous Generation Y is being told they are lazy and have no work ethic.  Generation X started the “self-employment” movement therefore, maybe, became narcissistic along the way.  Generation X took God out of schools and Generation Y may put it back, but are not quite sure if they want to do the work it would take to do it.  Generation X wants the Heisman Trophy and Generation Y wants to give a trophy to everyone. But, Generation Y is the most tech-savvy and marketed to.  They know a sales pitch and have heard every reason as why they should “buy now.”  They are looking for a mission, validity, and a purpose for why they are here on this earth.

But, us Generation Xers are raising a group of kids that are part of a new Generation -  Z’s or iGen.  There is something amazing about that. Z to me is final, finished.  I mean, it’s the last letter of the alphabet. There is just something that says “we have crossed the finish line”.

Make a Difference

Parents, now is the time to instill some incredible things into our children. It’s not too late. Compassion, love, hope, a good work ethic, or that nothing comes freely unless you work for it. Teach them how to forgive, how to offer grace, and how to see the light at the end of the tunnel and what it really means.  Teach them disappointment. Teach them how to encourage one another, how to not just love Christ, but to have a relationship with Him.  Teach them to never have regrets but only to learn from them.  Teach them to trust Him more and themselves less.  Teach them to find the good in others. Teach them how to put money away for that rainy day.  Teach your sons how to change the oil in their cars and your daughters to change a tire.  Teach her to laugh more with them instead of at them.  Teach him how to open doors and respect his parents.

Let’s take what we’ve learned and use it.  Remember those times when our parents weren’t around as much. Let’s be around for our kids.

For some, you are on your second or third marriage.  Let’s take today as the first day until forever to give our kids the example they need for a lasting marriage of their own.

Raising kids is one the toughest but one of the most rewarding things you will face in life.  Questions of 'did we do everything we could while they were under our roof?' will always arise, I am convinced. And you know what, that is ok.

It's time to be present, to be purposeful, to be loving as we get ready to cross our finish lines.