Talking about the generation gap between parents and children seems unnecessary doesn’t it, especially in this age. But honestly it is and will always will be a fact, a reality that you can’t get rid of no matter how technologically evolved we become. Because us grownups, we forget what it was like to be a kid—so we start dealing with our children like adults. Your kids will always think you don’t understand them because you’re from a different time, and things were different back then. And they’re right. You’re Gen X and they’re Gen Y. And there are a few things they wish you won’t do.
‘You’re too Young to Understand’
This is quite the frustrating statement to make to your kid because while it might end the argument for you, it undermines their ability. It makes them feel like you don’t trust them, and if I may be so blunt, it makes them feel stupid. So instead of ending a discussion with that, try explaining matters to them in their capacity.
‘When You Grow Up, This Won’t Be Important’
This right here is another thing Gen X does that doesn’t really help them get closer to Gen Y. I understand that you’re adults. You’ve got mortgage and taxes and debt and bills to care about. You’ve got a family to look after. So something like not being able to find the right dress to prom or a fight with a friend may not seem like laughable problems to you. But again, get some perspective. Your kids are young, and these might be the toughest situations they have faced in their life so far. So be a supportive parent and listen to the things that trouble them. Because these little things can snowball and manifest as anxiety, depression or an eating disorder in your children.
‘That’s Not a Very Practical Career Prospect’
Little children have big dreams, which to you might not seem very realistic at all. When your kids come up to you and say “Hey Dad, I’m going to be a pop star someday” or “I want to be a magician, Mom” you shouldn’t just shut them down. Instead, discuss their career prospect with them, and discuss its pros and cons. Yes, you should let them know that there is probability of failure, but it shouldn’t stop them from trying especially if they’ve displayed a talent in the field of their choice. Keep in mind, there might have been lots of people who told pop stars and artists and magicians that theirs wasn’t a practical career.
‘When I Was a Kid…’
It’s nice when you give your kids perspective into your own childhood because it helps them relate to you better. However, if you play the ‘back in my day’ card to belittle their experiences/problems you’re only tarnishing your relationship with them. Avoid this especially when they come up to you for advice or while you’re lecturing them. Because what it does it is make you the focus of the conversation when it should be them.
‘I Don’t Have the Time to Deal with This’
When you say things like this to your kids, you’re communicating that
- You don’t think their problems are important enough for you
- Their feelings are petty or invalid
- They should not come to you if they need to talk
Who else are they going to talk to if not you, the parent? So, stop saying this; it doesn’t accomplish anything. If anything, it brings down their self-esteem.
If you’ve been saying some of these things to your kids, don’t beat yourself up. Just because you’re Gen X, doesn’t mean you’ve stopped evolving. And you’re never too old to keep on learning.