‘Ever remember the incident when your father tried to dictate your fashion sense, and you simply couldn’t resist rolling your eyes behind his back.
Once the child enters into teens, there is a generation gap that occurs between you and your child. This is pretty much obvious but certain things trigger the generation gap while the other may help you to combat this gap effectively. So, if you’re parents who are suffering from such gap or know others in such a situation, then this post is for you.
WHAT IS A GENERATION GAP?
By generation, it simply means human beings born and living at the same time. And the obvious gap between them is the generation gap. All these generations have their own style of rearing, existence, expressions of emotions, ideology, ideas about money and living and so on. This difference is between one another often gives rise to conflicts.
When we compare two different generations there is a considerable difference between both of them. The way they live, likes and habits and their existence have certain differences which cannot be ignored but can give rise to is a so-call generation gap. This is no secret that nowadays this gap is widening by leaps and bounds. The generation gap between parents and their children is the most widespread one.
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF GENERATION GAP BETWEEN PARENTS AND CHILDREN
More and more parents and their children agree that they just can’t get along and understand each other. This lack of understanding of social and moral opinions gives rise to a lack of acceptance, which is the primary reason for families to break. Today’s generation is faster in every sense of it. From the way they like to dress to the way they want to eat and socialize, there is a huge difference from how it was yesterday.
Since being a mother, I always feel what will become of me and my kids when they reach an age where their opinions and judgments will matter more than my own. But this time has to come. What we all need to do is to understand that with the changing world we have to simply put down our old ways and move with the flow. When we face such a gap, remember how once we wanted to be understood by our parents when we were coming of age. Having said that, I don’t mean you do absolutely nothing and leave them the way they are and see the generation gap increasing between you both. There are ways we can help each other bridge this ever-widening generation gap and spark the love again.
HOW TO BRIDGE THIS GENERATION GAP
Keep communication alive by spending time together:
There is no denying that communication plays a vital role in bridging the gap between parents and children but also every relationship we can think of. The very first step is to become your child’s best friend by creating an atmosphere, where you and your child are open to communication. This is so important because, when we communicate with your children and let them feel we are there to listen to them, we understand things from their perspective and somehow we will be able to explain to them what we mean. Mealtime or even when you go out shopping with them, talk to them and share your views and allow them to voice their views as well.
I will give you an example of my own life here as I have no better example to give then my own. My mother always made sure we spend maximum time by having at least one meal together. She considered this time really important. I and my sisters had a slightly different schedule than our parents. We only used to get this one time to spend with our parents in unity and peace. We used to discuss our day and what our plans are for today and tomorrow. Often we used to watch TV with our parents together at night before bed and during that we communicated, enjoyed and relaxed together. Because of these quality times spent with them, we rarely had communication issues and this is what I plan for my kids as well.
Care to listen and understand without interrupting:
This is so important! Family and relationships are fairly not just delivering your point of view and showing your perspective of how things should go. It is about listening to what others have to say. As parents, sometimes we tend to talk too idealistic. We have to stop that. When we learn to listen, we will learn to understand. Giving lectures all the time is never a good idea.
Sometimes is it better to allow your teen to run out of steam? Allow them to have the freedom to emote and reveal their minds. The more you interrupt them the more incentive they’ll have to carry on acting out and being irrational. If your teen causes lots of fuss and throws tantrums, then wait for them to calm down and then respond. So make it a golden rule for your home: ‘Never interrupt when one is speaking’. This will allow them to speak without disruption and will trigger a rewarding flow of mutual understanding. It will also assure them, they are an important member of the family. Of course, the final say is yours but do it graciously.
Be open-minded and learn to accept:
By being open-minded I mean to widen your horizons. When horizons are widened, we are never closed to different points of view. We open the doors and windows of our minds and hearts and look at things from a different perspective. This is very important if we want to understand our children’s priorities. This type of attitude provides invaluable insight that will bring solutions to conflicts. It is mandatory to understand that even if your child is a teen, it doesn’t mean she cannot have preferences and interests independent of yours.
Keeping in check the point of view of other family members, including your children is crucial if you want to build a solid foundation of love, trust and respect in your family. My father, whenever made a decision, used to ask all of us about our views on that particular matter. Though he and my mom was the one to decide, he gave us a chance to speak up and this is something I learned from him. I, no matter what, made sure I and my kids are given this importance even when I settled with the other man.
Learn to accept but do not try to relate:
Now that the above points made your mind open to your teen’s views, stop resisting the change. Try to understand that it takes a lot of effort to put ourselves in their shoes and accept them. They have a different world ahead of them; accept them as a member of next-generation which is different from yours. Make an effort to understand their lives in their world.
Sometimes their experience may seem reminiscent to yours and you try to relate to your experiences as a child. This triggers the gap and often leads to wrong advice from parents, eventually, kids lashing out as they feel you aren’t listening to them. Times and attitudes change, and there is no way you can relate to anything you used to do to what your kids do today. Even the people you used to be around are different from the people your sons and daughters are around.
Do not try to relate, but understand and accept. Probe them with open questions and lift the burden off their chests. Listen to what they have to say and allow them to make decisions for this will instill in them a great deal of self-confidence.
Build your child confidence:
I have personally failed a lot of times and got up with more strength just because I always have a firm belief in God and after that my mother was always there to pick me up. During my teenage, I had a problem with my studies and my grades were suffering. I rarely made friends, so I had just a few. When I was 15 and got pneumonia, I stayed at home and missed my school. My grades suffered and I was depressed. My mother always hugged me and gave me strength. She had been my ultimate confidence. She stood by in all spheres of my life and nothing is more precious to me than having her as my trustworthy confidant.
Your child deserves the same confidence. He should know, no matter what he said or he did, his relationship with you is secure. No matter how many times he fails, you will be there by his side and this will be his strength to get up and kick start again.
Learn when to fight and when to remain silent:
There will be times when your child tries to attempt something which worries you or upset you. You have two choices, either to fight and change your child’s actions, behaviors and situation. Or you have another choice, to let the situation play itself out and hope that your child will learn a few lessons. You should learn when to fight and when to let go because too much of either will end up in disaster. If you fight to change your child or his behavior too often, you’re going to buy a massive amount of resistance from him. He will start believing that your actions don’t have their best interests at heart. On the other hand, if you let go too often then they will not have boundaries.
It is a matter of situation, where you have to fight and when you have to remain silent. But in both situations, let your children voice their opinions and listen to what they have to say.
Take interest in your teen’s life:
Your child needs a trusted advisor at the same time as a friend. Parents today are busier than ever and teens are falling through the crack, no matter how much loved they are. It is important, at this time, for you to become her friend. Take interest in her likes and dislikes. Plan out a trip to a mall or even café and spend some quality time with them. Talk to them about their social lives, their interest in fashion and so on. Try to twin together for a party and let them choose the outfits. The ideas are endless!
Bridging the generation gap can be a long and arduous mission. But if you crush it down to its core, generation gap doesn’t just arise because of the difference of age, but owing to clashes caused by ego and willfulness. Set these aside and to develop the right perspective and you will enjoy a healthy relationship with your teen. When we look at the world from their perspective, we’ll try to understand then and would never have this gap between us and our children.
So, as a parent of a teen, are you also involved in such exchanges with your child, leaving you with a feeling of déjà vu? Or you know someone who can relate? Reply to me in the comments. I love reading them. xoxo