The term child is used loosely to describe your offspring from the age of ten to nineteen. You will have to take a different approach if you are dealing with younger children or older children. Bridging the gap between your child and yourself is not about becoming your child’s best friend. It is about creating an atmosphere where social understanding and opposed culture do not hinder you and your child’s communication. Here are a few ways to bridge the generation gap between you and your child.
1. Try to Understand but do Not Try to Relate
Some of your child’s experiences may seem reminiscent of your own, and sometimes a parent will try to bridge the generation gap by trying to relate to the experiences of their children. This is a mistake and often leads to the parent giving the wrong advice, and the child lashing out because they feel you are not listening. Times and attitudes do change, and even a space of ten years can create a world of difference within your community, schools, family life, and friendship circle. Your memories are tinged with rose tinted glasses, and the people you were around were invariably different to the people your son or daughter are around.
Do not try to relate, but do try to understand. Try to put yourself now in their shoes, and listen to what they tell you. Probe them with open questions and allow them to get things off of their chest. For example, your child was called an anorexic by her school friends. You may have been wild and resistant to insults as a child, but if someone you cared for called you that name right now then how would you feel?