Here Comes Gen Alpha
"Amma! How many times have I told you, I don't like boys and boys don't like me? So when I grow up, I will marry a robot!"
"Are you telling me that you'll marry a piece of metal who doesn't have any feelings?"
"C'mon amma! You are so old school. By the time I get married, there will be robots who show feelings. At least that piece of metal will be loyal to me."
This is quite a 'normal' conversation I have with my kid, who was born in 2010. Most of the time this conversation ends with her showing me proofs that there are girls who marry trees, bridges, and themselves, so why not a robot?
Being a school teacher for adolescents, I have experienced these kinds of opinions from the young generation. However, I feel sorry for all the moms who are dealing with an "Alpha Gen." It is clear that what the child believes to be real is not what the mom believes to be real, and therefore, moms see their child's actions as abnormal behavior. But is it abnormal?
In our generation, we dealt with a lack of communication and strict restrictions, while our kids have access to information at the tips of their fingers, and of course, they grow up with the minimum restrictions. Kids are punished by giving them isolation with a device! No wonder they seem to hate being ruled and restricted.
Who are these Alpha Gen kids? Generation Alpha are the successors of generations Y and Millennials. They are the kids born in 2010 and after, fully belonging to the 21st century. These children are more technologically advanced, and they are also full of facts on just about any topic - possibly due to their ready access to immediate information! If we ever see a real-time image of their neuronal pathways lighting up the brain with millions of signals in every direction, it will probably look just like the Invasion of Exegol: lots of firepower, for an ultimate victory. Who knows to what higher capacity the young brain is stretched, and what might be the eventual outcome? We have to wait and see.
Gen-Alpha personality traits are still unknown. According to Psychologist Erick Erickson, personality keeps developing well past the age of 5, and its development depends on how people resolve their existential crises, namely, trust, autonomy, intimacy, individuality, integrity, and identity (Harvard University, Dept. of Psychology). Gen Alphas are still 13 years old or younger. In whichever way their personalities develop, we can already see that morality and culture don't seem to bother these children much as they lean towards a "their own decisions are the best" kind of thought process. Dealing with them can be hard and distressing, but if you can understand them and accept them for how they have been brought up, enveloped in tech and the virtual world, it could lead to better bonding.
The mother-child relationship is an eternal bond. No matter what generation they are in, children will still want their mother's warmth, love, and care. They will still expect their father figure to be the role model of their life. As long as you don't get offended by their actions, knowing that they can go against social norms, you might find peace of mind and a special bond with your child.
Sonali Wijesinghe is an educator with more than 14 years of experience. She has a BA in International Relations from the University of Colombo and is currently reading for a Masters degree in Counselling Psychology at Girne American University.