By Glorious Kasande
A Generation gap refers to differences in actions, beliefs, interests, and opinions that exist between individuals from different generations. The “generation gap” between youth and adults in many societies reflects a real and serious conflict of interest rather than mutual misunderstanding. There are lots of activities which interest the kids more but parents are not willing to deal with them. Things like dating as well as going out to discos are some of the activities that the young generation likes but parents and grandparents are not interested in such places. The atmosphere and the needs are changing and therefore parents should take time to adjust according to the present scenario. The things which are disliked by the parents are the things which are most enjoyed by the young generation so this becomes a source of problem thus increasing the gap between the parents and their children.
Causes of a Generation Gap
One major factor that has heavily influenced generation gaps is the accelerating rate of change in society. In the 1800s, developments in society were slow. As a result, two or three generations lived lifestyles that were very similar to each other. There weren’t many differences across generations. However, given technological and social advances that have taken place in the 20th and 21st centuries, the lifestyles of individuals even one generation apart are drastically different from each other. In the last 20 years society has experienced many changes in technology and many individuals from older generations are having trouble keeping up with the modern technologies that Millennia’s have become accustomed to. Due to generation gaps, a child may explain to an adult how to use technology. High mobility of societies where people move from one society to another while copying cultures from other societies is another reason for generation gaps.
In earlier generations, society was not very mobile. Most people stayed in the same area or country. There was little contact with people outside of one’s general area. Access to information from other cultures was limited. However, with the increasing advances of technology, people began to be introduced to new things. People began to experience other cultures through television and music. Websites, such as YouTube, made it easier than ever for people to connect with others around the world. The introduction of social media has also made connecting easier. People have begun to challenge their traditional customs and adopt some of these new cultural values into their own. As a result, this has led to disagreements among the different generations.
Limited time for communication between parents and their children is also a reason for the gap. A majority of parents spend very little time communicating with and listening to their children, even though they love them very much. This is due to their heavy workload and inevitable stress faced in workplace, as well as long working hours. Parents are under a lot of pressure to strike a balance between work and family. Notwithstanding, children do not share their school life or other day-to-day events with their parents. While parents are actually making great sacrifices to earn a living, their children are being neglected. Parents may not know what their children are thinking about. This causes communication barriers in the family.
Too much control by parents over their children. Parents believe that education is a privilege for the rich. Accordingly, parents have a lot of concern for their children’s academic performance at school instead of paying attention to their favorite interests and hobbies. They want their children to have more advantages and opportunities. Thus, children may not have complete freedom in the choice of those leisure activities and the books that they read. They seem to be little birds trapped in a very small cage. As a result, children always believe that their parents are against their opinions all the way. They try to keep everything secretive and do not tell their parents when they encounter any problems. There are different attitudes adopted by two generations.
Most parents adopt a straight face and do not show their feelings when they talk to their children. They scold their children frequently or even give them physical punishment. These are due to the traditional custom. Conversely, children do not want to follow their parents’ orders since they think that there are no reasons to support why parents’ thoughts are right.
Besides, children do not want their parents to treat them like three-year-olds. Children believe that they are grown-ups and it is high time for them to be independent. This helps them to gain more self-esteem. On the whole, both parents and their children do not see things from the standpoints of each other. Thus, misunderstanding is a great cause for the formation of generation gap.
This increasing gap is a common scenario in all the families and the parents should take the initiative to limit the gap and take steps for it. To handle this problem, there are a number of ways by which such generation gap can be bridged.
It’s is extremely crucial for parents and their children to be aware of the importance of open communication in order to break the “Ice” and rebuild a close parent-child relationship. Instead of arguing with your children and avoiding the discussion it will be good that you take a step forward and talk to your children. Parents are the best friends of their children as they act as both good parents and friends. As you have spent a large amount of your time with them so it is necessary that you understand what they are saying and how it can affect your life. Parents should not only concentrate on their jobs and leave their children alone, they need to create time to discuss with their children and show care to their children.
On the other hand, children have to discuss serious things or big decisions with their parents as it shows respect to them. On the whole, both parents and children should try to explain their ideas to family members in a forgiving manner without anger or hatred. Parents must not put too much pressure on their children’s studies. Parents should not have too high expectations. They have to discuss their children’s progress with the teachers. Moreover, parents should work closely with schools through Parent-Teacher Associations (PTA). These associations help to bridge the gap between the parent’s interests and their children.
The growth and development of the children to the different stages is dependent on the family environment and how parents deal with their children. The relationship between parents and children is sensitive and care has to be taken so that dignity is maintained to preserve the love and emotions in the relationship. Parents must communicate with their children frequently to understand their children’s need, attitudes, and interests in the changing world.
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