A phrase that one often gets to hear these days is ‘Generation gap’. This is the justification that we generally have when we have to satiate our frustration at irreconcilable opinions, habits or behavior that often find the older and younger generations at loggerheads.
If one tends to sit back and analyze this, the existence of the so-called generation gap is actually very obvious. What one should worry is if there is actually no generation gap. The gap in the generation gap is actually becoming more and more, since you may not be able to relate to someone who is at about a ten years kind of difference. This was close to about 30 years earlier.
There are many reasons for the generation gap to exist. For instance, if you look at an Indian who is about 40 years old today, would have parents who would have been born in an environment that was under the British Raj. These are the people who would have gone through the stress of the country getting partitioned and eventually independence. The challenges that they would have faced would have been severe and there would have been an immense amount of struggle to get life back on tracks. The abysmal economic conditions, the war with China and Pakistan, apart from natural calamities like the famine, draughts, cholera etc. were times when many of them would have lost near and dear ones. Now our 40-year-old subject under consideration would also have an offspring who is born in the post liberalization era. He took birth in a free country, had technology at his disposal, easier means of transport and communication, and lots and lots of entertainment opportunities. So is it any surprise that the three generations cannot think alike? The consequences of the generation gap predominantly manifests in various ways as being enumerated under.
- As both generation (from parents to children) are born & brought up in different time frames, their mental framework also differs, their psychological and behavioral patterns differ; leading to communication gap, conflicts etc.
- As people get more and more consumed with their daily chores and jobs, they are challenged on the availability of enough time to communicate at length with their children about their lifestyle, education, needs, problems etc. So the child may tend to feel isolated and either is unable to share their thoughts at home.
- The older generation has been accustomed to leading a life that is exacting in nature; obedient to parents, strong core value systems etc. It I sbut obvious that they would expect an extension of the same behavior in their own offspring and the offspring of their offspring. So, when it comes to studying in a particular manner, or wear clothes, hair, friends etc. they have very strong opinions – much to the chagrin of the younger generation.
- Today, the younger generation likes to multi-task. A typical teenager would use a headphone for listening to music, playing games at the same time and side by side chatting with some of his friends using a laptop or phone. This is irksome behavior to the older generation since they cannot fathom how they can get any work done like this.
- The people in the younger generation are global citizens. They are in sync with the global happenings and habits. It is quite normal to see them emulate the western world in most of things that they do. However, this obviously does not go well with the preceding generation and leads to restrictions, debates and sometimes, even conflict.
How to cope with the generation gap?
There is an old adage, where there’s a will, there’s a way. There are no technical solutions but empirical remedies can always be relied upon. Both impacted parties must first recognize the cause and be willing to resolve this knotty problem.
- Communication should be open & clear. Both parties should discuss their childhood in a proper manner, they should also discuss their lives, stories, their thoughts etc. People should be open to criticism and willing to take corrective measures.
- It is good to set aside some specific time to listen to each other, appreciate their problems and care as a family.
- Parents must not put too much pressure of expectations on their children’s studies. Their attitudes should be friendly and they should discuss their children’s progress with teachers, should attend parent-teacher meetings for academic as well as to learn about any potential behavioral changes that needs attention.
- Everybody should develop the attribute of respecting each other. When one always keep in mind that he or she has to respect other at any cost, peace can be established between the two parties.