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Keys to Understanding Your Gen-Z Child

Photo credit: TeeStocker /

Keys to Understanding Your Gen-Z Child

Creating a supportive environment for them to flourish

Published on 22 September, 2023

Photo credit: TeeStocker /

Mums and dads, if you’ve ever felt lost while talking to your Gen-Z, this is your cheat sheet to understanding their lingo and habits.

Born between 1997 and 2012, this cohort of Generation Z, or Gen-Z for short, has grown up in a dramatically different landscape, profoundly shaped by the internet and global connectivity.

This generation has also coined a plethora of slang terms, hashtags, and expressions that shape their communication both online and offline.

Here are some common Gen-Z lingos to grasp:

  • “Slay”: In Gen-Z lingo, “slay” means to perform exceptionally well or to excel in a particular activity or aspect of one’s life. It is often used in a positive and empowering context to praise someone’s style, confidence, talent or overall success. As an example, if your friend walked into a party in an amazing outfit, you could respond “slay”.
  • “Flex”: This is a term used to showcase or boast about one’s accomplishments, possessions, skills or attributes, often with the intention of impressing others. It’s about demonstrating one’s success or superiority, typically in a confident manner. For instance, if your friend gets the latest phone, brings it to work and tells everyone about it, someone might say they’re flexing.
  • “Sus”: Short form for “suspicious”, used to describe someone that is behaving in a questionable or dubious manner. One way to use it could be upon receiving an unusual email and commenting, “That email from an unknown sender looks sus, don’t open any attachments.”
  • “Slap”: Used to describe something that is really good. For example, if you particularly enjoyed a song, you could say, “This song really slaps!”

Understanding what makes your Gen-Z tick is crucial because it helps you bridge the generational gap, foster better communication and better support your children in an ever-changing world.

Foster effective communication 

If our Gen-Z kids use slang, not embracing this language can make it hard for us to understand their viewpoints. So, don’t insist on them using formal English; rather, try to understand their lingo and perspectives.

Provide support and guidance

Understanding our child’s passions and concerns, such as their commitment to a sport or their entrepreneurial aspirations, enables us to provide them the right support and guidance.

Show genuine interest in their lives

When we show an interest in what our Gen-Zs are concerned about, it sends a powerful message that we genuinely care. It shows our children that we are there to support them and adapt to their changing needs.

Understand what drives your Gen-Z

Amidst the common stereotypes portraying Gen-Z as the “strawberry generation” or labelling them as selfish, impatient and social media addicts, it’s essential to delve deeper. Who are they truly, and what drives them?

  • Digital natives

Gen-Z is often referred to as “digital natives” because they have grown up with technology seamlessly integrated into their lives. They are adept at navigating the digital landscape, from social media platforms to online learning environments. This tech-savviness has made them quick adapters to new digital trends and tools.

  • Social media pioneers

Gen-Z’s behaviour is heavily shaped by their use of social media. They are not passive consumers but active creators of content. Platforms like TikTok and Instagram have given them a powerful voice, allowing them to express themselves, champion causes, and even launch careers.

  • Budding entrepreneurs

Many Gen-Z individuals are driven by an entrepreneurial spirit. They embrace the gig economy, start side businesses, and value flexibility in their careers. Their ability to monetiSe their online presence and skills sets them apart as young entrepreneurs.

  • Mental health advocates

Gen-Z is more open about mental health struggles and advocates for mental well-being. They seek online communities that offer support and share their experiences to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues.

Understanding the environment our Gen-Zs are growing up in can help us better connect with them, provide guidance, and create a supportive environment that addresses their unique strengths, challenges and opportunities. We hope this cheat sheet will help you grow your relationship with your Gen-Zer, and take it to new heights!

Written by Nicole Hong, a Sociology and Psychology Undergraduate

Focus Singapore


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