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Managing parents-children generation gap

FIRUZ NAWER | September 20, 2023 00:00:00

The growing age difference between parents and their children has become a regular aspect of modern life. It refers to generational disparities in opinions, values, attitudes, and lifestyles, notably between parents and their offspring. This disparity is a natural result of the rapid rate of cultural and technological development, which causes modifications in perceptions and behaviour.

Older and younger individuals struggle to understand each other because of their disparities in experiences, views, habits, and actions. Of course, one major cause of the natural generation gap is age. The primary challenge arises due to a mental gap in thinking style and current trends.

The generation gap is anchored in the constantly changing nature of human civilisation. It leads to miscommunication and a lack of bonding between parents and their kids. The success of parenting lies in the ease with which parents sidestep the generation gap and disregard differences with their children.

The generational gap is the fundamental reason why parents and children are drifting away from each other today. The generation gap between parents and adolescents is present because each grows up in a different historical time and culture. They are imprinted by the tastes, values, icons, and events that identify that formative period in their lives.

So, it is a normal social change. It can't be blamed on anyone. The parents are socially attached at an earlier time, whereas their son or daughter is culturally anchored at a later time. To some extent, socioeconomic change culturally differentiates generations, and the parents must understand this fact.

Mr. Hasibul Huq, a job holder at a renowned private bank in Dhaka, confessed his struggles candidly while trying to adapt to his 14-year-old daughter Himi's tastes.

"She is so used to being online that it sometimes feels like she is just a guest at our home, visiting from her separate world (Discord, Instagram). I know we don't share similar views towards life, but how can I have a good father-daughter bonding if she is always engaged?"

While Mr. Hasibul's struggle is real, the answer is a lack of understanding, which is one of the major causes of the generation gap. He also believes that he has many avenues to upgrade himself.

"They say modern-day problems need modern-day solutions," Hasibul remarks about how he is trying to cope, "She is still a child, and I know the responsibility is all mine here to become her friend. It's just that I'll need to understand the modern-day dynamics of life and bring something up which will neither scrap my philosophy totally nor make her uncomfortable with me."

Another cause is comparing children to yourself when you were at their age. They are expected to be a replica of their parents. This often causes them to lose their confidence.

Shahana Rahman, mother of an HSC candidate daughter, does not believe in such comparisons. She asked, "When comparing, why do we always assume that ours were better? Who set those standards?"

Another reason is that parents are frequently too exhausted to spend enough time with their children after a long work day. As a result, there is a lack of interaction and involvement, which worsens the generation gap.

There are some ways to bridge the gap between parents and children. First, parents should keep an open mind. Parents need to grow and learn over time. They should not judge their children so quickly. Listen to their viewpoints and ideas, understand them, and then react.

Shahana added in this regard, "I may be proud of my childhood, so should my daughter be. I've failed her being unable to give her open space to play. So I can't put cliched blame on her saying her world is confined to devices."

Most children do not feel comfortable sharing their feelings with their parents. They fear going to their parents and talking to them. It can be about anything, from studying to dating someone or anything else. In such situations, they go to someone else, like their friends or classmates, who might or might not give the right advice.

So parents need to talk to their children and make them comfortable at an early age so they feel free to share any problems without hesitation. Children need to feel like they can approach their parents with anything, eventually giving them peace of mind since they will not have to worry about their children withholding and hiding important things.

Parents must build a trusting relationship with their children so that they will come to you for guidance. This can only be achieved through regular interaction. Be open to all conversations; this will help you overcome your differences. Be a listening ear for your child. Be patient and listen to everything they have on their mind. To flourish in a relationship, it is essential to understand what your child wants and what they are going through.

You have to keep in mind that you can disagree on many things. But rather than forcing your child to think according to your wishes or do what you want them to do when they don't want to, learn to compromise wherever possible.

Last, don't hesitate to show your children how much you love and care for them. Remember that kids have their own views and beliefs; understanding and patience can help bridge the generation gap that generates distance between parents and their kids.

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