- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 6, 2006

GARFIELD HEIGHTS, Ohio (AP) — Mike Bednarz and his son Kameron Bednarz often head to the neighborhood skateboard park after school, doing ollies and other tricks well past dusk.

They also share other hobbies — snowboarding, guitar playing and competing for hours at video games such as the “Legend of Zelda” for Nintendo GameCube — a game that Mr. Bednarz played on the original Nintendo when he was a child.

The new version is “much more detailed and interactive,” Mr. Bednarz said.

Corporate consultants, marketers and generational specialists said relationships like the Bednarzes’ is something they often observe: Youngish parents (Mr. Bednarz is 32) share more interests with their children than they once did with their folks.

These are 30- and early 40-something moms and dads who are just as likely to be punk-rock or hip-hop fans as their children. These are parents who can’t wait for the next Harry Potter book.

Yvette Obias of suburban Cleveland is teaching her 9-year-old daughter, Acelyn, how to surf, a sport she’s been passionate about for years. Their common interests don’t end there, said the 35-year-old single mom who grew up as a punk-rock skater.

“We have the same type of music taste. Our clothes are the same. I’ll find something cute and trendy and she’ll want to buy it,” Mrs. Obias said. “Growing up with my parents, I never had that, music-wise or clothes-wise.”

Technology is another big bond between today’s children and their Generation X parents.

“The shared experiences between parent and child are shifting. Instead of fathers teaching their sons how to play sports or use tools, now they’ve got video games,” said Chuck Underwood, founder of the Generational Imperative Inc., a Cincinnati-based consulting firm whose clients include Procter & Gamble Co. and Time Warner.

Alisa Clamen, 41, of Montreal, said she never could relate to her mother’s music, which included artists like jazzman Benny Goodman. But the MTV culture that shaped her teen years isn’t all that different from what her children — ages 18, 11 and 9 — are into. And like them, she enjoys her IPod.

Mrs. Clamen did not watch television with her parents as a child, and although her tastes may differ somewhat from her children, they have found common ground with “American Idol.” “I pulled them into it,” she said. “It was a fun family thing to do.”

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