Grumbling children and dissatisfied parents are commonplace nowadays. Just open an ear in malls, restaurants or at school, and you would probably hear about vegetables, technology and curfews between a well-dressed adult and a messy child – all of which can be collapsed under the family arguments section. While the root cause of these rifts cannot often be pinpointed, arguments, particularly between parents and children, all point to “the generation gap”.
Parents, nowadays, are at a crossroad. Do they follow parenting traditions? Or do they go with the flow of the current generation? Indeed, Generation Y and Generation X are different in so many levels. More often than not, these differences lead to a chain of unspeakable conflicts and arguments, and could even get physical between the two parties.
Technology is always part of the list that can spark major debates between parents and children. Some parents do not understand their children’s preference to stay home, and let the day pass by just playing video games, instead of engaging in physical activities. One of the reasons for this is that in the past, computers were expensive, and handheld devices stayed in movies and comic books.
Today, many children lack social skills, and stay glued to their PSP’s or iPads, while many parents believe that there are better ways to have fun. Lilia, 39, a mother of two, shares that when she was younger, she met up with friends on weekends to play bowling or billiards. These days, it takes an increasingly huge effort to drag children to play any sport.
One issue that children could not put their fingers on is the concept of a curfew. Parents take curfews seriously because they worry about their child’s safety especially with the booming nightlife in the metro. Children often forget their limits, get out of control, and take advantage of their freedom.
When parties are involved, clothing choices is the epicenter of the battle because today’s Westernized society accepts and promotes skimpy skirts, shorts and bikinis. Some parents who put importance on modesty raise their eyebrows at this, many just disapprove of teen clothing preferences.
Another preference that varies among generations is their choice of music. Susie, another mother, tells us that one time, when she was in the car with her daughter, she listened to the Black Eyed Peas’ song: “I Gotta Feeling”. She was shocked to hear the line, “Let’s burn the roof!” She told her daughter to make a prudent choice when it comes to musical preferences. Susie also acknowledges that she does not like it when her daughter has earphones on when they are in the car; she prefers oral communication rather than eyebrow twitching and sign language.
“What generation gap are you talking about? There is no generation gap present!” Ariana, 43, a mother, exclaims and laughs. She shares that they were young adults before, and they probably experienced the same things the younger generation is experiencing today. They had their own set of friends, went through heartbreaks, and went on a rebellious phase from time to time.
“But I do see the generation gap with our kids!” Lucia, 45, a mother with two children, answers in reply to Ariana’s first statement. Lucia is the type of mother who gives her children liberty. She does not monitor her children’s social networking accounts online. She shares that as long as her kids know their limits, then they are on the right track.
“They should not settle for mediocrity since they are given so much freedom. They have no excuse!” she says. Many parents are like this today. They give their children freedom and respect their children’s personal space. But in return they ask for the simplest requests—to get good grades, to go home on time, to value family time, and to respect their elders.
There are, however, parents who raise their children in a strict manner. Amy Chua, author of the controversial novel, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, is the quintessential example of a mother who raised her children with discipline. She forbade her children to do things that most children engage in today and disciplined them to do what she wanted them to do (be interested in music, academics and etc,.).
Regardless of parenting style, every parent has his own way when it comes to raising his or her children. Children usually have different experiences, but in the end, parents usually just want the best for their children.
In the past, children were frightened of their parents. Today, however, the line separating parent and child appears to be a blur at times. “There are times when my kids forget that I am their mother. Sometimes, it is difficult. They have to be reminded that I am their mother.” Claire, a 46 year old mom, shares.
Times today are different, but many parents do try to understand their children out of love. Children just have to be reminded at times that there is a line between naughty and nice. Communication and compromise are the main ingredients in attaining solidarity between a parent and his or her child.
Children say their parents do not understand their situations, while parents say that their children do not understand them. The list of differences goes on and on; there is indeed a generation gap. Life cannot and will never be exactly the same as before. Everything changes, and eventually, we will all be on the other side of the generation gap, unless the two generations bridge the gap.