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The problem with the younger generation today is that children, teenagers, and young adults are disengaging from each other and don’t see the value of each other’s insights, values, attitudes, and beliefs.
As is inherently obvious, the way we perceive the world and each other has changed. This is reflected in our lifestyles and the innately distinct personalities of children.
Gone are the days when children obeyed their parents without question. Now, they seem to have become instinctively obstinate, disobeying their parents and misbehaving whenever the opportunity arises.
This leads to the question: ‘where did this obstinate behaviour arise from? What is the reason for their disobedience?’ The answer is quite simple: generation gap.
The generation gap has been created by the parents, and is of no fault of the children themselves. Parents simply don’t talk to their children like they used to. They don’t share their personal opinions on matters that both parents and children used to care about.
Parents have become so busy and wrapped up in their own personal and professional lives that they sometimes, unfortunately, don’t have as much time as they’d like to spend with their children.
Parents don’t engage with them as often as they once did, and after a while, when their children grow up and begin to socialise with people outside home, they become aware of the huge gap between their kids.
The problem with the younger generation is that often they take their parents for granted. When the gap becomes bigger and their parents attempt to reconnect, they dismiss their parents’ affections as nuances, and forget to consider their parent as anything other than a source of disposable income who just happen to provide food and a roof over their heads.
If children saw their parents as friends rather than a treasure trove of unlimited expenses, then they might have a more meaningful relationship with them. Once you allow your children to see you as a person rather than a parent, you will begin to bridge the generation gap, and correct the problems that have arisen over the years.
Ever since the introduction of the Civil Rights movement in the late 60’s, the defiance against the Vietnam War, and the granting of 18 year olds the right to vote, children have begun to rise against their parents, and the elder’s doctrines have begun to weaken.
Older teenagers and students see themselves as young adults, as they feel they have no need for parental guidance or institutional oversight. In their minds, they are free spirits who will do as they please, individuals who don’t need to be guided.
In many universities, the rise of on-campus students is evident, and many campuses have had to construct extra buildings to accommodate the accumulating number of young adults who would prefer to live on their own. This is often a problem as teenagers and young adults require guidance to help them choose the right path.
Older people are constantly remarking about how different the youth of today is and that they aren’t the same as they used to be in the past. The younger generation is more educated and have more money to spend on their personal wants and needs. This makes them less dependent on their parents, causing them to grow up more quickly than they would thirty years ago.
Teenagers don’t blindly accept the ideals of their parents and often disrespect the elderly by brushing aside past history as a bunch of old, boring facts, irrelevant to their busy lives. They question the assumptions of their elders and sometimes regard their life stories as unnecessary information.
The younger generation also have fewer responsibilities. Many pursue extracurricular activities and university studies rather than full time employment.
Teenagers these days turn their attention towards goals and aspirations rather than focusing on gaining full time employment and having to worry about finances. While a lot of young adults move out from their parents’ home as soon as they can, many of them stay, skating on the success of their parents’ accomplishments and worse, they rely on their parents’ achievements to get their foot in the door of the companies they wish to work in.
Children often believe that if their parents are successful, then they will also become successful. The problem with the younger generation today is that they don’t understand the value of hard work for they assume that all of their dreams will be handed to them on a plate.
Current university graduates have different aspirations than those fifty or sixty years ago. The youth of today, labelled Generation X, postpone their careers as they fear boredom and confinement. Youths crave feedback and prefer jobs that are appealing to their peers. They want marriage, a house and children but all in their own time. Professional success is on a higher ranking in their priority list.
One of the main issues contributing to the problem of the younger generation is that they lack interpersonal communicative skills that affect their social behaviours and the society around them. They are interested in things such as television and video games, have no interest in spending quality time with their family and most of their concerns stem from consumerism and materialism.
These interests lead to a lack of human interaction that can further lead to personal and social problems that were almost unheard of a hundred years ago. Drug abuse, apathy, and high teen pregnancies have all contributed to the radical change in the behaviour of youths in this day and age.
The generation gap grows larger and larger each year. Youths and adults just don’t seem to communicate the way they used to 50 years ago. Parents don’t talk to their children the way they used to. It is true that times have changed and the wants and needs of humans have evolved.
Parents let their children grow up without the guidance and counselling they used to give; they assume their children are aware of the basic survival needs. But the sad reality is that the younger generations aren’t always smarter than their parents were at their age.
The younger generation need support to help them make the right choices. The problem with the younger generation today is that they don’t know how to ask for help.
It is up to their parents to teach them how to look after themselves and become independent so that they and their peers can create a better future, today.
By Claire Fitzpatrick