I’ll start with what’s happening for our teens right now. Adolescence can be a fun and exciting time, but it can also be really hard.
No one knows that more than the Generation Z themselves. We also know that the last few years have added increasingly to the normal stressors of the teen years. Like me, most experts on adolescent wellbeing were really concerned about our teens during lockdowns and the resulting social distancing that was required. This concern was warranted, as a national survey of 20,000 young people found the pandemic lead to high psychological distress in 75+ per cent of students.
My own children and their friends were also affected by this (as a mum I had a 12-year-old trying to finish primary, a 17-year-old daughter doing her final year of high school in lockdown and a young adult son doing uni anatomy pracs on Zoom!) We saw rites of passage opportunities ripped away, a halt in opportunities for social skills development, a decrease in community based physical activities, leading to increased loneliness and isolation. It’s therefore no surprise that teen mental ill-health is on most parents’ minds right now.
I wanted to offer some hope and support
I had already started the Raising Teens podcast during the pandemic. It started with 10-minute power topics (there are three seasons of 10 episodes each). These hold quick tips and ideas to assist parents on: teen anxiety, school refusal, after school meltdowns, questions about alcohol, mental health days, boys and body image, friendship collapse, the power of touch, teens and sleep, and so many more.
However, I began to think about ways that I could bring hope and support to even more parents of teens. I also know that one person cannot possibly be all things for all parents or all teens – i.e. one person cannot be an expert on everything (and beware of anyone who implies they are). That’s when the idea for a new format of Raising Teens was born. I know some incredible experts around the country (and overseas), on specific topics on adolescent health and development, and I decided that I wanted parents to be able to more easily find them and access their many incredible resources.
The new format
So… *drum roll*… from Season 4 onwards, there will be an interview with a guest expert, each Wednesday, on all things teen mental health, teen behaviour or teen wellbeing. My guests are experts and advocates of young people and care deeply about this generation. Like me, they also want to support parents, carers and educators as they do what they do best… that is, supporting and loving their teens.
Season 4 kicks off now. Interviews are now complete, and my amazing producer and team are in the stages of editing the last few episodes. I am so excited for you to hear the practical and helpful advice that each expert brings. Topics coming up this season: vaping, self-harm, eating disorders and body-image, suicide, autistic teens, consent… and heaps more. I don’t shy away from the difficult subjects, but my aim is to bring you support, as well as hope. The episodes are varied and many already come from listener questions I was sent in Seasons 1 to 3, so please feel free to send me a question or topic suggestion you would like covered on the podcast.
We kick off with an expert on Gen Z
Click on the image to download the full pdf 👇 to see some fun info. I am of the “walkman, permed hair lot” (can you guess?). There are also the most popular terms used in your generation – hilarious.
My first guest for S4 Ep1
I’m so thrilled to have Mark McCrindle start off episode 1 of the new season format. There is no better person than Mark to frame what we know about Generation Z (born between 1995 and 2009). Mark is a best-selling author, award winning social researcher and 2x TedX speaker on the generations. This is a lighter topic but a great one, because Mark talks about the trends for this generation of teens from: technology habits, what happened for them during COVID-19 lockdowns, their strengths, to their hopes, their dreams and the future world of work. Mark is so hopeful and positive about the interaction between generations. We also talk briefly about Gen Alpha (which Mark McCrindle named), born between 2010 and 2024, because some are just at the start of the tween years.
Spoiler: He is very frustrated that Gen Z were called the Snowflake Generation.
That was an incredible way to start the series. I love how Mark looks at Gen Z from such a hopeful perspective.
That was an incredible way to start the series. I love how Mark looks at Gen Z from such a hopeful perspective. They’re not just the selfish snowflake generation. Rather, they’re more likely to seek purpose and look outside of themselves. They care about the people around them and want to make a difference in the environment. That’s the young people I know!
- You can find Mark’s work and his books, The ABC of XYZ and Generation Alpha at McCrindle Research.