How To Combat The Gap Between Generations

Grandparents, parents and children: three generations raised almost in the opposite way, is it possible to get along? Keep reading this article to find out some ways to achieve this.

In Chile, the generations of the 60s and 70s were raised under the slogan of fear: it was not only the terror of political repression that existed at that time, but of physical abuse: young people were even afraid of their own parents. Respect was not instilled, since the general panic felt in the environment was enough. My father lived at that time, where raising your voice could mean a blow, there was no freedom of expression and studying was a privilege that very few young people had.

In my case, respect for parents, adults and the elderly was the daily bread: giving up the seat, helping with the bags or always having a cordial tone of voice was as common as seeing a dog chasing cars. I have never disrespected my father, not out of fear of the blow, but out of respect for the person, for the authority that he represents. In my country adults do not smoke, do not consume alcohol, do not swear in the presence of someone older.

Today, adolescents do not take into account the various authorities that exist in their lives. Not only do they disrespect their parents, teachers, and other adults, they also disrespect their peers. The language and gestures they use leave much to be desired. They no longer answer with the respect of the past, now they raise their voices to be heard, they shout, they are exasperated. At school it is the same, everyone wants to be heard at the same time, so they are not able to hear who is speaking, the teachers’ work becomes difficult day by day. Now it is parents who are afraid to demand respect from their children.

When you try to get along these three cases it becomes very difficult, especially between grandparents and grandchildren, since not only their points of view are different, but also their forms of expression. If your case is similar, and you want to improve your family relationship a bit, I recommend you follow some of these little tips:

1. Instill respect in your children

Start by focusing on the most recent member of the group: your son or daughter. Today’s society pushes young people to react violently more often than we would like. Show him with concrete examples that it is not necessary to be right about everything; Being the strongest or the one with the best technology is not essential, there are things that matter much more, such as respect, tolerance and the ability to recognize one’s mistakes.

2. Respect young and old, so that they respect you

Young people demand their rights left and right, but when they are told about their duties they want to get rid of them by giving endless excuses. I remember that one of the phrases that marked me the most was “respect so that they respect you”, my father said that he could not ask for more than what he gave, so if I am not respecting whoever is in front of me it is inadmissible to force him to treat me in a better way.

3. Be empathetic: Remember that you were young too

This advice is focused on us parents, uncles or grandparents, who on more than one occasion forget that we have been young, that we have made mistakes trying to be someone we are not, or the pain of feeling publicly humiliated when losing. A little empathy is never too much. Before you react, step into their shoes and ask your inner child how they would feel in such a situation.

History shows us that differences should not be a source of discord, especially when there is love involved. Fear, hatred and violence have destroyed entire civilizations, but love is and will always be the most powerful weapon, so use it to your advantage, teach your children with love, respect and tolerance so that tomorrow you can speak with them and take great pride in the adults they have become.


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