Cause-Effect: The Generation Gap

    To put it in simple terms, the generation gap-a broad difference between one generation and another, especially between young people and their parents-leads to a problem which is as old as the hills. One may wonder why this problem has been unresolved throughout the ages. There are some reasons for that.

    Psychologists believe that most young people experience conflict during their adolescence. They are neither children anymore nor yet adults, but individuals who are desperately searching for self-identity. As they grow up, they adopt values that differ from those held by their parents, and develop an unfavorable attitude toward the adult world because it symbolizes “the skin they hope to shed away.”

    Conflicts actually arise because young people feel that they have a right to be independent. They look at parents as “enemies” who do not let them live the way they want to-staying out late, wearing fashionable clothes, or choosing their own friends. What makes things even worse is that teenagers suffer a sense of incapability and rage as they realize that financially they still depend on their parents, and they would not have a nice party or a holiday without their parents’ approval and support.

    The period of adolescence is closely connected to making important life decisions, such as choosing a career path. That is precisely where the trouble lies. Young people are told that they have the world at their feet, that dazzling future opportunities are just waiting to be seized. However, when they finally decide that they want to work, say, as music players instead of majoring in medicine or law, their parents tear out hair and seem to be heartbroken.

    Difficulties in relationships with parents may in certain cause lead to such serious problems as drinking alcohol or taking drugs, refusing to attend school, running away from home, or even turning to violence. In such cases, parental threatening and yelling usually don’t work. It seems that the best way to put matters straight is to take a middle course. Parents should take the initiative to start a calm, serious discussion with their children in which they treat the latter more or less as “partners” in decision-making. They should also keep in mind that if teenagers feel neglected in the most agitated time of their lives, they may lose them altogether.