In this age of the internet where we all have easy access to information; we still lack an understanding of the younger generation. And this is what we call the generation gap. It is nothing but a psychological gap between parents and adults and the younger generation.
There always has remained a rift between any two generations regarding the ideas of life, success, love, etc. and special thanks to technology, it has virtually flared it all up. To put it in simple terms, a generation gap can be explained in 4 words, “You won’t understand this”. This sentence is used by everyone, we all have said this to our parents and even they have said this to their parents.
Back in the days, parents were only concerned about their child’s studies and marriage. Basically, the center of their universe was their child. But nowadays, parents have a far busier schedule. They have never-ending office hours, a crazy big social circle and not to mention they are obsessed with the smartphones and the internet just like teens. According to a Pew Research Center study issued earlier this summer, 79% of the general public believes there is a generation gap, which is described in the question as "a significant divergence in the point of view of younger people and older people today." That's over 20 percentage points more than in 1979, when the same issue was asked in a nationwide CBS/New York Times poll, and it's somewhat higher than the 74% of adults who identified a generation difference in a 1969 Gallup poll.
While children feel stressed and anxious because they have a lot to do and excel at. Their schedule is so full they hardly find any time to contemplate what’s going on. They come back home from school and are already late for their other planned activities and coaching. They seem to be enhancing their personalities but what parents don’t understand is that too many planned activities cause strain on the child’s mind as they have to perform well at all the levels and the pressure keeps piling up.
1. Technology is one of the major causes of this generation gap. Let’s face it, our laptops, smartphones, tablets, the internet, and all the social media apps have distanced us further apart. We have started living in our digital world rather than the physical one and now sharing stuff on social media is more important than sharing thoughts and feelings with our family. Instead of making mealtimes fun, we keep using our smartphones for clicking so-called aesthetic pictures of the food for social media or to reply to chats and e-mails.
2. Another reason could be the difference in upbringing, the mental framework differs from each other. Psychological and behavioral patterns are formed on the basis of circumstances one undergoes. So, when people of different generations come in contact with each other they often are induced to a difference in ideas and opinions, communication gaps, conflicts, etc.
3. A majority of parents spend less time communicating with and listening to their kids, even though they love them very much. This is due to their busy schedule, heavy workload, and stress faced at the workplace. They are under a lot of pressure to strike a balance between work and family and children do not share their school life or other day-to-day events with their parents. These generational differences in perception extend to the most fundamental question about old age: When does it begin? According to survey respondents aged 18 to 29, the typical person gets old at the age of 60. Middle-aged respondents place the threshold closer to 70, whereas respondents 65 and up believe that the average individual does not grow old until the age of 74. Basically, parents are making great sacrifices to earn a living. On the contrary, their kids are being neglected. Parents may not know what their kids are thinking about and this leads to a communication gap between them.
4. Parents have a lot of concerns about their children’s academic performance at school instead of paying attention to their hobbies and interests. Thus, children may not have complete freedom in the choice of some activity and the books that they read. They might feel that they are caged like birds and as a result, kids start feeling less connected to their parents.
So how do people who had no TV, or watched black and white TV relate to people who watch TV on their smartphones?
It’s important to see the goodness in each and start learning from each other rather than chastising and despising each other’s ways, spoiling relationships, creating conflicts, and increasing distance.
1. Older people always want to act as mentors guiding the younger generation in all matters. Both the generations must acknowledge that times change and so do the ways of life. The old must accept the change and the ways of the young as well as learn certain things from them even when they play the role of mentors.
2. It often happens that both generations just don’t want to listen to each other. Listening doesn’t mean to only focus on “WHAT” is said but also “WHY” it is said. This approach can result in lesser conflicts at home.
3. Avoid discussing sensitive topics. People can be very sensitive about grades in education, religion, politics, sex, etc. The opinion about these topics may differ in younger age. So, disagreement between both generations can occur easily. Such a generational dispute can make things embarrassing and awkward for both parties.
4. Anger is not the right way to deal with anything. It has only escalated the gap between both generations. Anger makes you seem unsympathetic, rigid, arrogant, or worst of all even incorrect. It makes youngsters do things on the sly and they become obstinate. Instead of criticizing them or getting angry, show them the way. Give them a patient hearing and a solution to their problem.
5. Last but not least, try to send positive vibes. You can hug, smile, express words of agreement, appreciation, and affection, and this positive energy will attract the youngsters towards you. Spending quality time with your children can really build strong intergenerational bonds and they will feel confident, secure, and emotionally healthy.
Both the generations have their respective experiences and perspectives, they are bound to have different opinions and points of view regarding various aspects of life such as career choices, lifestyle, and much more. So, accepting that differences are normal and that anyone has a right to their own belief can help in bridging this generation gap.