Parenting the Generation Y Children

Dr. Rotimi Coker

WHO are the Generation Y children?

The Generation Y children also known as ‘GY’ are teenagers, adolescents and young adults within the age–range 10-30 years. They are the children born between the years 1980 and 2000. The GYs are also known as the Millennials. The Millennials were born in the information age. They grew up with the assistance of the GSM telephones, computers, I-phones, I-pads Blackberry telephones, Samsung Tablets and Internet. The GYs are in large numbers of any society. With the availability of the Internet, they interact with one-another from different countries. The GYs are being reared by the Internet and not parents! The Millennials do not need their parents to explain complex issues to them because the Internet does it better. For this reason, they appear to be socially withdrawn, lazy, introverted and most of them live with their parents instead of getting married and leaving the nest.

They influence themselves on the social media with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, You-Tube, Whatsapp, Imo, and Viber through messenger text messages. Every morning, it is not unusual for the Millennial to receive over 100 texts messages. In this light, a Nigerian teenager may be easily influenced by another teenager in USA, China or Argentina. In the past, Nigerian children played together in classrooms, on the fields, streets, parties and other social gatherings. However, today, our children are interested in communicating with unknown peers from foreign countries, playing different types of games via the telephone handsets, computer or Internet. It is not uncommon for couples on a date to send text messages to one another while sitting together to discuss what they will eat or drink.

New sets of psychological illnesses are being suggested by psychological experts as regards digital addiction by the Millennials. New medical terminologies such as “Telephone addiction”, “Computer addiction”, “I-disorder” “Pinging addiction” are now being considered to be on the medical list. When the GYs lose their handset they may also suffer from “Telephone withdrawal syndrome (TWS).”  This sort of condition is akin to the one a drug-addict will suffer from when denied the drug he is addicted to. In a severe form of this condition, the adolescent may even be hearing the ringing tones of his lost phone in the absence of none (This is referred to hallucination).

On social media, some popular youths may have over one thousand friends from all corners of the world. There are social media with on-line dating forums in whatever location you are in other world. The Internet on handsets indicates those who are located within their vicinities thereby encouraging “hanging out” or flirting.”  For this reason, young individuals are no longer interested in interacting with their colleagues in school. International marriages are also in vogue with the Millennials. It is now a common site to see a couple of international origins holding hands on the streets of cities in Nigeria. Recently, one young boy in Lagos was seen kissing a Chinese lady old enough to be his grandmother.

In the past, human personality takes averagely 30 years to be formed. However, Millennials are forming their personalities by the age of 15 years. This is because children have access to the Internet from the age of 5 years. In that light, a 15-year old child may acquire more intelligent information than both of his parents combined. They are sometimes more intelligent than many authority figures in their various institutions. This also explains why they do not fear the management authorities of institutions any more. The secondary and tertiary institutions are full of the GYs and are being taught by the Generation X teachers and lecturers.  The GYs look boldly into the eyes of their Generation X lecturers and demand for their right to good education, food, and better welfare. Where these factors are not quickly made available, the Millennials may become rebellious with the school authorities. In the same vein, education standards are falling due to continuous access to the cable and digital television, Play Stations, TV and Internet games. Students carry out their assignments on the Internet. They source for quick answers from “Wikipedia,” “Ask Me” or “” websites to carry out their assignments.

Nonetheless, the acquisition of endless digital information through the Internet has its toll on their personalities. Eventually, the Millennials grow up to become narcissistic (excessive love for oneself). Recent scientific studies indicated that the Millennials have the highest rates of personality disorders globally. This psychological condition is also known as narcissistic personality disorder. It is a disorder where the individual thinks only about himself or herself, he or she thinks that he/she is better than others and this makes him to feel grandiose, alienated, self-conceited and proud. This is what is also referred to as “attitude” in some quarters. This emotional condition is also on the increase in Nigeria. The GYs have “hang out” apps where friends around your location can be invited to hang out with, most times with unknown people who put their details on the hang out apps. The hang out relationship lasts for just a day or night, this will not make them to develop adequate interpersonal relationships. Many of them have been duped through this means and some unfortunate girls lost their lives by hanging out with complete dangerous strangers.  In the church, GYs have the Bible Apps on their phone, thus, during church services and after services, instead of interacting with one another, they are also glued to phones, I-pads and Tabs.

 How can Generation X parents cope with their Generation Y children?

Today, the Generation X parents have GYs as children. The GYs because of the Internet have more recent information than their parents. They sometimes proffer quick answers to any question asked them. They often give advice to their parents when parents are perplexed with critical modern problems.  If you are a parent, teacher or lecturer of the GYs, you must learn to understand and cope with their technological dynamics. Thus, you must come down to their level. You can easily achieve this feat by being their friend on the social media. You can also use the social media to monitor the social activities of your children, communicate with them in their language and post pictures that they will also find exciting and love to share with their friends. If your child is far away in another state or country, this is the time to use “Skype,” IMO, “Whatsapp video call,” or “Google Talk” to have a face-to-face video chat. When parents and authority figures share ideas, opinions and didactic instructions through social media with their GYs children and students, they are likely to communicate positively with the authority figure. The new thinking is that “parents are no-longer parenting, but “peer-enting”.

In today’s social media dominated world, parents must also learn to communicate positively with their Millennial children. Therefore, as a parent, mentor, teacher or lecturer, one needs to quickly learn and adapt to the personality traits of the GYs. If your child has affinity for photography or singing, this is the time to buy him a camera or put him in the church choir.

The GYs are now independent and are making serious money globally. For example, the owners of Facebook (Zuckerberg) and his Nigerian counterparts, “Jumia-on-line”, “Jobber-man” and “” are been run by the GYs. These are all on-line-based businesses. With “Jumia–on-line”, any item purchased on-line can be delivered to your door step and you can pay on delivery of the good. With the “”, you can travel to anywhere in the world and pay in naira online. However, what if daddy and mummy are not computer literate, never heard about Facebook or Twitter, they will always wonder why their children are always looking into their phones, pressing the phones and laughing to themselves. This is the reason why daddies and mummies too can no longer afford to be ignorant technologically.


How Generations are Categorised in US

  • The Greatest Generation: Born between 1901 and 1924. They gave birth to the Baby Boomers generation.
  • The Silent Generation: Born between 1926 and 1942. They were the children of the great depression.
  • Baby Boomers Generation: These are children born between the years 1943 to 1960. They became ‘Yuppies’, dabbled into drugs.
  • Generation X: Born between 1961 and 1980. They were the product of working mothers and separated parents; they earned more than their parents.
  • Generation Y: Born between 1980 and 2000. They are known as the Millennials; born into the information era and social media, they are making attempts to bring about global economy recovery. They are the Mark Zuckerbergs (1984), Lady Gaga (1986), Wizkid (1983), Davido (1980) and Olamide ( )


Stem J. The Me, Me, Me Generation. Time Magazine; May, 2013.

Dr Rotimi Coker

Consultant Psychiastrist,

Lagos State University Teaching Hospital,



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