parenting, children, generation gap, generation tolerance, grandparents and grandchildren, family

Generation Tolerance - The Need of the Hour

Once I visited my friend’s place and I felt that there was some tension in the air. When I probed, I came to know that my friend’s grandmother-in-law, who is about 87 years old is extremely upset in the way my friend’s daughter, who is just 14 years old, had dressed up for a birthday party. The great-grandma found her great-granddaughter clad in mini shorts and tees, very inappropriate. The generation has moved ahead – from 9 yards saree - 6 yards saree - salwar suits - jeans & shirts - mini-shorts & tees. The problem is that there is still a greater amount of generation intolerance which is creating friction in the families today.

How many times have you felt that your kid, especially the teens do not understand you and they do not have any respect for you? How many times have you felt that they are aliens from another planet!! Don’t you think our parents would have also thought about us the same way too?!

Generation leap has seen changes in marriages -from marrying within the sect of the caste to inter-caste marriages, then accepting inter-religion marriages and now we are hoping to see our son walks in with  “only” a girl as his life partner, though we are trying to be broadminded enough to accept the LGBT alliance. The generation has moved from marrying at the age of 14/15, with an alliance completely arranged by the family to a non-committed living-in relationship concept.

So, when differences are the new common; are we game to handle them?Even the food has got into a huge make-over. From eating the typical traditional food to relishing all varieties of Indian cuisine, then bringing in the continental/oriental cuisines to our kitchen and now moving to accept the junk food preferences of our kids. Likewise, many belief and practices have undergone mammoth changes. The problem is that when 4 generations live under the same roof, the grandparents find our kids as strangers of a different camp and vice versa.

While the importance of instilling the gender/caste/status/ethical/racial tolerance among our kids is widely spoken about as perfect parenting norm, the call of the hour is to bridge this Generation Gap, to be more precise developing generation tolerance.

Parenting has evolved to an extent where the challenges are openly discussed to get help. But how was parenting done 30 years back? Was the focus more on the child or on the head of the family? Was the child free to make choices or always submissive? So, what happens when the then child is the parent now?

Diversity is increasing within family structures. It wouldn’t be surprising to realize that the concept of nuclear families is no longer the same. A number of children are being raised by single parents, parents of different religion, race, nationality, ethnicity and same-sex parents. Differences are common but it is making it harder to identify the similarities. While the new generation is less empathetic, more self-centred and practical than its predecessors, the older generation is emotional, conscious of what the society remarks and closed to new thoughts and ideas. The everyday war of words and arguments over decisions taken among the family and sometimes even the global happenings are not so unusual. So, when differences are the new common; are we game to handle them?

Here are some ways which can be practised to dilute generation-intolerance:-

Create a sense of security – Be it the child or the grandparent, developing a sense of security remains crucial. Everyone in a home should be valued and made to feel special. This way, we can develop tolerance and stop being judgmental.
Consciously behave and respond- Children observe and learn from their adults to respond, value, and relate to others. Let us be an example of how to accept differences and appreciate similarities. Reinforcing these values help them stay confident about their decisions So, when differences are the new common; are we game to handle them?
Love and Understanding - Understanding is the key to many problems. From an early age teach the child to be empathetic and understanding towards others needs, desires and perspectives. Within the family, the feeling of being loved and cared should be prominent. This way, even the older generation feels secured and start opening up to newer ideas
Agree to disagree- The fear of being isolated when there is a difference of opinion is very strong within us. This leads to frustration and guilt and later to other related issues like ego. We should encourage the family to accept the views of the others even though they disagree.
The joy of making others happy- Compromises to make the other person happy gives a sense of joy within and strengthens the family bond. Sometimes it is okay to give-up for the happiness of your loved ones. Let us respect and be aware of the viewpoint of our dear ones before we make a decision that can affect the entire family.

Its rightly said that firstly we are children to our parents and then parents to our children. For now, we also need to be parents to our parents and children to our children to bridge the generation gap and build generation tolerance.

Happy Parenting.

Comments (0)

Deepa Dwarkanath

VP HR DriveIT Technologies, Hydrebad. An MBA in HR and Marketing. Also an active baker, loves cooking and reading. Was previously associated with Wandertrails as a part-time Content Writer.

Featured Video

Mahindra Alturas G4, Review

07 Jun 2019

Recent Posts