Working Mother

The kids will be all right.

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Denise Villa, Ph.D.

CEO and co-Founder, the Center for Generation­al Kinetics

The pandemic will be the defining moment for Generation Z (which encompasse­s ages 6 to 22). The older Gen Z’ers will be most affected. Even if they graduated from college, they might have been laid off from a first job, or never landed one at all. Fewer employment opportunit­ies could mean less career growth. They will be behind on work skills. That’s going to be a big hit for a long time. Many will move back home.

But they’re going to fare well when they get back into the workforce. They are going to be into saving money, having been raised by people who went through the last recession. They will try to get out of debt. They will likely do better than expected financiall­y.

The younger Gen Z—often called Gen Alpha or “cuspers” —will likely not remember the pandemic’s uncertaint­y and disruption. While their lives are changing with their school offerings, the patchwork of online learning and the feeling of not seeing friends, there is enough time for them to become accustomed to it.

Kids will connect with each other much more on tablets and other devices. They will think it’s normal to have personal conversati­ons through technology. In-person cues will not be lost—it’s not as if we’re completely isolated, like you never see another human being. The younger kids will just be accustomed to remote interactio­n. All of this could be a plus for them.

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