Generation Gap - ''My parents don't understand me''
What is the generation gap?
A generation gap or generational gap is a difference of opinions between one generation and another regarding religious and traditional beliefs, political opinions, or values.
Factors generating generation gap:
Technological advancement: as time goes on, technology is being introduced to individuals at younger and younger ages. This widens the generation gap. which is already evidently seen between the baby boomers, millennials, and gen z's.
Music: Pop culture greatly influences how different generations perceive the world.
Socioeconomic class: It is the determiner of how we live and therefore a soothsayer of life.
It is also greatly influenced by the history of that particular place.
These are some decisive factors that play a major role in creating or widening generation gaps.
Why does it cause clashes?
There are several ways to distinguish between generations like for example the tag names given to major age groups; silent generation, baby boomers, generation X, millennials, generation Z, generation alpha, and each set’s its trends and has its own cultural impact.
As new generations pursue to establish themselves and set themselves apart from the grey, they adopt new lingos, slang which allow them to stand out from the previous one.
It creates a parallel language gap which makes it difficult for different generations to communicate. It then creates misunderstandings that eventually lead to much wider and bigger problems.
The destination and the routes to things remain the same for e.g., attending school, raising families, marriage, etc. but the voyage evolves.
How and to what extent does it affect
Adolescents often complain about their parents not being able to understand them. On their journey to adulthood, they either detach themselves from their families to acquire freedom or differentiate themselves from their families to achieve freedom.
Parents who fail to notice, amend, and bridge this gap fall prey to unhealthy relationships between them and their child/children and hence restrict them from developing into individuals who can adapt to different surroundings.
In adolescents, this extends to effects such as
1) losing faith and respect for their parents.
2) They become lonely which might lead to anxiety and depression.
3) Self Doubt: They start doubting their abilities which worsens their actual ability to do things. They refrain from participating in activities that are important for growth in the first place. ‘I am good for nothing.’ attitude makes them conscious of their abilities and socially anxious which results in poor performance and this cycle continues.
4) It conditions them to become reserved due to the ‘teachings’ imposed by their parents which hinders growth and leaves no room for curiosity during the most important growth phase of their lives.
5) Lying, rebelling when their parents take away their freedom and ground them to ‘discipline’ them. Parents often forget that ‘disciplining’ renders their freedom which essentially is like taking a piece of their identity.
6) They are easily manipulated and are too scared to ask their parents for help when required.
7) Comparison -They feel demotivated and pathetic, to compensate for that, they readily participate in all activities which will guarantee them some sort of attention, assurance, and validation from their peers, parents, and society. This can be very draining and may take a toll on their mental health. It may frustrate them as it will not allow them to discover their own identity.
8) They are taught to always respect elders whether or not they (they are a decent human being) deserve respect. This creates an idea that elders are superior to youngsters and leaves no room for societal reform.
Parents and Teachers often fail to realize (neglecting the fact that change is bound to take place) that they are educating adolescents and students about how society mapped and functioned during their adolescence and not about a world we will set our feet in. therefore doing more harm than good in shaping their futures.
2. Parents :
1)Lose faith in their child.
2)They feel lonely as most parents coming from traditional households cannot escape its aftermath and talk to anyone about it, let alone seek help.
3)They feel defeated because they did not raise a child who ‘obeys’ their principles and accepts it, believes in them, and preaches their ideologies
4)They also have to carry the weight of societal pressure. Listen to taunts ‘your child is out of your hands’ shaming, mockery, and humiliation.
Why is it important to bridge this gap?
1)To develop a healthy child-parent relationship.
2)To earn mutual respect.
3)To create a safe, understanding, and accepting environment to raise children.
What can you do as
1) An adolescent :
Stepping into adolescence itself is a rollercoaster. Having orthodox parents just adds to the suffering.
All of this is solely because of the inability to effectively communicate.
As teenagers we can only do one thing - talk, communicate, and keep our points in front of them.
But the real question is
How to initiate the conversation/ How to break the ice?
In my opinion, there are two ways to go about this
1) subtle, soft way or
2) forthright, direct way.
If you belong to a slightly more traditional family or if you feel uncomfortable, awkward, and scared to talk to your parents, you can start off by slowly setting up the subject and then opening up to them. You can start by asking them questions about their adolescence and subtly hinting, educating them about various things, teaching them a little bit about technology, etc.
It does require a lot of patience and repeated efforts but once you bond over these conversations and become more comfortable with each other you can alleviate into much more intense subjects.
Note: But while doing so, do not invalidate their struggles, feelings, and neglect their perspective. Do not discredit their knowledge.
2) A Parent :
1)Do not mistake your child’s curiosity for disrespect.
2)Do not treat debate as a conflict.
3)Respect your child’s boundaries.
4)LISTEN. LISTEN. LISTEN. IT DOES NOT MEAN YOU LOSING AUTHORITY OR CONTROL OVER THEM. Be strict where you need to be, be lenient where you need to be but always be accepting, open-minded, and patiently listen to what your kids have to say to you. They will be more receptive to you and not rebel only if you're accommodating.
5)Try to adapt to changing times rather than compromise.
7)Learn from your kids rather than criticizing them for their choices to help you to adapt to a world culturally different from yours.
8)Do not fall ‘victim to experience,’ do not forbid them from doing things because of your ‘experience’ with adolescence. You can guide them but let them experiment and make their own experiences.
Note: Prioritise relationships with people over dissimilarities.
This will only help to narrow the gap and help you learn more about each other's lives.
Writer -Charmy Savla
Editor - Jigisha Hota, Hamza Ansari
Inspiration, Inputs -Hamza Ansari
Graphics - Angeline Saleh