‘Dad, You will never understand my point’, ‘Granny, you are too old to see through my perspective’ ‘ Kids these days have lost their family values in the name of advancements and modern ideologies’ ‘ Mamma, I wish you were cool enough to use social media platforms’. Many such arguments have become common in today’s world and the reason behind it is well referred to as – The generation Gap.
As obvious by the term itself, generation gap refers to the gap or difference in ideologies, opinion ,beliefs and outlook between people belonging to different generations. This generation gap within societies is being felt more than ever before with the rapid advancement of 21st century tech-world where children and adults are not only realising but arguing over the different perspectives they hold.
Son is having differences with father while the father is having arguments with his own parents and it’s obvious that all the three generations within the family are struggling to put forward their point of view.
Origin and different generations
Generation Gap is said to have been originated in the 1960’s. During that time , the younger generation which is now referred to as the ‘baby boomers’ showed significant difference in their beliefs and opinions compared to what their parents’ generation projected and believed into.
There are several segregation’s made to make distinctions between generations. This segregation was proposed keeping in mind mainly the American population, however it’s a broad division is applicable on other nations too. Names were given to the major groups. Example:- Baby Boomers ( they are the individuals born between 1946 and 1964 who are associated with rejection of traditional values.)
Then came Gen X. (Individuals born between 1960-1980) They were children born during a time of shifting societal values. More divorces were reported which according to sociologists could be due to reduced adult supervision. This was the generation obsessed with pop culture of music, especially hip-hop.
After that, people born between early 1980’s to mid 1990’s are referred as the Gen Y or Millennial. They are associated with Narcissistic personalities and diverse views about polity, history , culture and economy. And finally, the generation born between mid 1990’s to mid 2000’s are the Gen Z babies. Most of them have used the internet since a young age and are comfortable with technology and social media.
The presence of generation Gap in society has been pretty obvious since past few decades especially in the region of developing countries where the younger generation is actively adopting the social and technological advancements in their lifestyle. Example :- India, where 65% of the population comprises of the youth belonging to Gen Y and Gen Z.
The older people ( elders above the age of 65) form around 40% of the population which makes the conflicts of interests due to generation-gap self – evident. Also , Japan and Gulf countries where families live united and where population demography is majorly divided into 2 sects – the young and the old; experience issues associated with Generation Gap.
How did it come about? – Reasons for emergence
The reasons for emergence of generation Gap can be enumerated as follows:-
- It might have emerged when the younger generation started challenging the primitive thoughts and beliefs and raising their voices against the irrational superstitions and rituals thriving in the society.
- The people belonging to Gen Y and Gen Z were more open and brave enough to put forward their personal choices and not just blindly following the suggestions of the elders.
- The gap widened when the old people decided to stick with their old perspectives rather than adapting with the changing social environment while the younger generations started building on their own fresh perspectives about the existing as well as upcoming social situations.
- Communication gap is one of the significant reasons for the onset of this gap and continuously widening of the drift between generations.
- The elderly people were sceptical of the adoption of new ideas in the raging tempest of modernisation leaving behind their ages old cultural and so called ‘traditional’ values.
- The old people also had this belief that disconnection with the young generation was due to modernism and hence decided to stay aloof from it.
- They were also not ready to see their young ones being self dependent, taking their own decisions regarding carrier and marriage choices and so they disapproved the idea of changing with times unknowingly creating the widest ever gap in their relations with new generation.
- Few old people also took the advancement of women of new generation as a threat to the age old patriarchal structure of the society. However, the women of modern times were determinant enough to break the glass ceilings and establish their own identity. The old and Orthodox people who weren’t used to such competitiveness among women, failed to lend a supporting hand to their daughters and daughter – in – laws resulting into a wide drift between the two generations.
Problems associated and why they need to be dealt
It’s quite understandable that the issue of Generation Gap brings many problems along.
- The increased misunderstanding between the old and new generation tends to result in frustration, as well as unhealthy, rebellious and argumentative behaviour.
- The most disturbing element is the communication gap between different generations. Especially the Gen Z generation today or better say, the ‘ Tech-kids’ are busy with the technological innovations of their times like mobile phones and computers. This bothers the old people as they feel neglected when they are given less time and attention.
- The elders move to solitude and become adamant whereas the younger ones become stubborn and frustrated. In a family, where parents want their children to follow them up have to face differences with them as the young generation doesn’t wants to be intimidated anymore. This has led to an increase in nuclear families and the traditional concept of single large families has become almost extinct.
- Generation Gap is also witnessed in schools and offices. In schools, few teachers still stick to the primitive practices of teaching while the students want more tech-oriented , interactive and cordial way of teaching. On the other hand, youth is wary of such offices where an old leader is the boss who is unreceptive of new suggestions and ideas of young employees
- Another concern regarding the problem of generation gap is that businesses today focus on use of technology in work environment and avoid people from old generation who are not well versed with the IT products. They rather prefer young millennial’s who stay updated with the ongoing technological advancements around the globe.
- Until now, we’ve been talking about the social aspects of the situation. However now, we see that there is a financial hit on the elderly generation which further elevates the existing problem.
The positive outlook
There’s always a positive side of situations and if not, we can at least try to find out such aspects that make the future look sanguine rather than all gloomy and depressing.
The positives that we can look forward to in this situation are:-
- The adoption of technology by newer generations is a sign of progress and development.
- The best part of millennial thinking is discarding off illogical superstitions and orthodox beliefs.
- The new generation also challenges the old school notions of ideal wife, mother and son giving more freedom to all relationships.
- Many brutal and evil practices against women have been eradicated from the society only due to the introduction of modern ideas and outlook by new generation.
- Another positive aspect is the flow of fresh ideas and perspectives in the society regarding politics, culture and society at large.
The Bridging of the Gap : Ways to deal
Since the major factor behind this generation gap is lack of communication, the first and foremost step to bridge the gap is to have open and transparent communication, understanding of each other’s need and being open to new ideas
- There should be inclusion of elder generation through communication and participation. The young ones should not only make elder people value the human advancement but also ensure them that respect and the honesty towards culture and morality is being nurtured in the new generation as well.
- There should be an environment of mutual learning where young ones patiently teach the use of technology to old generation people and also learn good virtues in return.
- Youngsters should listen to their elders as they are more experienced and elders should be more adaptive and receptive to new changes in their life to achieve harmony with the new generation.
- Both the parties must be willing to solve the problem. Realisation and high level of understanding is one of the optimal solutions to deal with this self created division within family members.
- There should be open discussions about the childhood and lifestyle of both the generations so that they get to know each other better and the doors of bondage and understanding open.
- Cooperation is the key. Example : The elder women of the house should realise that the young educated ladies today find it hard to balance the household chores with their professional work and the young ladies should be humble enough to respect the work being done by elder women to ensure healthy upbringing of the family.
- An attitude of mutual respect should be there.
We can see that due to the wide range of exposure that children these days are receiving, the Generation Gap seems to be widening even more. However, it is completely in our hands to bridge this unwanted gap. It is good for younger generation to continuously thrive for development but cultural values must never be sacrificed.
The old generation too should thrive to be more understanding and receptive. The society is made of young and old generation ; and inputs and active contribution of both the generations matter significantly for a progressive and civilised society.