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Generation Gap

Generation Gap – Every generation will have to feel for itself that the stove is hot.”
This is the generation gap – when you are telling the child not to touch something hot but he/she will do it anyway until he/she burns himself and learns his own lesson.

The generation gap is the constant struggle of the parents to prevent their kids from doing things that their own experiences and wisdom tell them is going to harm their kids. The kids on the other hand try constantly to prove to the parents that they are equipped to take control of their lives. Neither is wrong – they are both right in their own premise. The parents blinded by their love for the kids would rather have their own experiences replace the experiences of their kids. Whereas, the kids are convinced that their decisions are right and are based on current situations that the parents may not necessarily be aware of. Their most common statement is “Things are different now”. The most common mistake parents make is that they at times may not treat kids their age its either they are too young or they measure them at their own elder level.

Teenagers are a mass of confusion as they sit on the fence between their childhood and adulthood. Growing up can be quite scary. While being ‘grown up’ has many attractions, the responsibilities that go with it often come as a nasty surprise. For instance, teenagers want to stay out till all hours of the night, but when it comes to waking up in the morning in time for classes, it’s a different story. Parents need to make them understand that if they want to party hard, they must also work hard.

This is the time when teenagers try to become individuals in their own right and try to move out from under the protective wing of their parents. They will try out many things in order to be ‘in’ with the crowd whether it’s smoking, drinking, wearing skimpy clothes. This is not the time to play the great dictator and alienate the children. Talk to them, but don’t talk down to them. It is difficult for anyone to entirely know the teenage mind, but try to convey the fact that you’re on their side. Parents tend to forget that they were teenagers too once and their so called good advice doesn’t win them any points with their children.

Most parents tend to forget their babies do grow up someday and when the time comes, they must let them go and find their own way in the world. No parent can protect their children forever. As said in the beginning we all learn things the hard way, when we experience it on our own.

Most disagreements between parents and children focus on lifestyle, ideas about love, education and career. These days both the parents are working and knowledgeable. However, children would still find it difficult to agree with them on most issues, like life style, love, education, and career. In some cases, parents do have to accept that children know more than them since they get more exposure to the media or the internet but, in the end the parents have more experience and so children should listen to parents.

There is a lack of understanding in today’s society which leads to disagreements between parents and children. The psychology of children changes during a certain age. For example, children over 13 start putting their faith in friends and themselves more than their parents. So they keep away from parents, and do whatever their friends do and want. In contrast, parents still think that their children are immature and want to control them and impose their ideas. Parental aversion to the emerging new culture makes matters worse. To overcome the situation, parents should treat children as friends and gain their confidence. Parents, on their part, should not be too strict and respect the ideas of their children. They should also keep up with the fast changing society. Children should also learn to empathize and respect their parents. When disagreements occur, both parents and children should remain unruffled and find solutions together. The youth are now more active, intelligent. Each generation has its own ideas. The elders have to learn to respect that.

In this day and age, where nuclear families are springing up like mushrooms and the joint family system is becoming a thing of the past, there are times when we would all wish that the older generation is around to handle the next generation. We, the people of this so-called current generation, are caught between the devil and the deep sea. We have been unable to keep the older generation with us, yet we feel the next generation slipping away from our hands. With the fast pace of life, intruding technology and uncommunicative lifestyle, have lost the art of living. We need to stop, to think and learn to live all over again. It is important that family members sit down and talk about their beliefs, assumptions and experiences. They will find that each person has a unique perspective and it can be quite different from everyone else’s. By keeping the channels of communication open, families can bridge a generation gap they seem to feel threatening their relationship. There should be a common understanding and respect for each generation’s unique experiences through open dialogue. Each generation must recognize the unique experiences of the other. Through speaking and listening, both generations can clarify and affirm their experiences and perspectives and work toward a common understanding.

A quote by Milton Greenblatt,” First we are children to our parents, then parents to our children, then parents to our parents, then children to our children”. This is the so called generation gap that is there today it was there before too since the evolution of man & will always be there in the future too. Efforts to bridge the gap has to be from both the sides. In the end parents have to keep channels of communication open for their kids to approach them and the children need to understand that if any serious problem does come up they need to talk to their parents about it. Hence it is rightfully said that it takes two to tango.