A generation gap is defined as a divergence in values and attitudes between generations, particularly between young people and their parents. Because of their disparities in experiences, perspectives, habits, and conduct, older and younger individuals are unable to understand each other.
Parenting might sometimes feel like a tight-rope walk, especially with the ever-widening generation gap. Unfortunately, the generational gap has cumulatively increased over the years and has created a vacuum for misunderstanding.
Looking through the Generational Gap
The generational gap has left many parents baffled by their challenges, dynamics, and impact on them. This gap often leads to strained parent-child relationships, lack of familial cohesiveness, and surging resentment towards parental figures. But the responsibility to bridge the gap lies mainly with the parents.
Parents often fail to understand that their children are born in an era completely different from theirs. Teenagers of the current age are self-concerned, spend a considerable amount of time exploring themselves, their surroundings, continuously discovering and challenging themselves in the process. This makes the current generation more considerate and accepting of new ideologies, making them intellectually more flexible and adapt to changes.
The new generation doesn’t like to live by rules; instead, they love to enjoy their freedom. Hence they find rules imparted by parents based on dogma as restrictive to their growth. On the other hand, parents view this openness to novelty as reckless, irrational, and deplorable. Parents hold themselves accountable for implementing ‘tried and tested’ methods of their times to rare their children. While this ‘tested way of living’ might not suit current contexts, parents frequently find it challenging to acknowledge.
How to handle the generational gap as a parent?
Parenting styles have remarkably changed to suit the new generation’s needs. Parents have dropped their dominant stance and are more amicable with their children now. They have resorted to authoritative parenting styles more often as a successful way to rear children than the stringent parenting patterns often used in the past to impart discipline to children.
Here are a few tips that can help relax generational conflicts with your children:
The belief that children are an extension of you and have to replicate you needs to be viewed under the lens of introspection. As they grow, you should start treating them as independent individuals with unique thoughts, dreams, desires, belief systems, and ideals that might not reflect yours. They are not your replicas so try to accept them as they are.
- Empathize with them because they are living in an era with an array of complications and challenges completely different than yours.
- Avoid making comparisons with ‘your times’ and ‘their times’. Times are different, hardships are new, and they need intelligent solutions. As you share your struggle in your time, understand and communicate their struggles as it helps build the bond and emotional connection with your children.
- The current generation is open-minded, robust, emotionally inclined, self-focused, and they need your acceptance, love, and appreciation to flourish. Therefore, you should try to understand them.
- Maintain transparency and trust by keeping communication short, straight to the point, and straightforward. Listen more and share opinions rather than burdening them with yours.
- The age difference between parents and their children will be persistent. They cannot erase the age difference but can reduce the generation gap with understanding.
Communicate your concerns more often but do not weigh down your insecurities on them. Remember, your children need your support without feeling suffocated.