An unreasonable behaviour quickly makes us point fingers at someone’s upbringing or nature. But this attribution seems to be made only onface value of events. If we had to assesstheactual place value, we could look closer at what makes a person the way s/he is. Childhood, major life events, genetics, role of significant others, decisions taken and declarations made about how the world, people or my life should be; our thoughts, feelings and actions are intertwined on a fabric of suchvolatile factors, only to become more reflexive and resistant as years get added.
This is perhaps why reasoning with senior generationsfeels likea struggle. Time reinforces their beliefs and gives a false sense of security in ‘knowing’ or ‘being right’. Obsolete and impractical, acceptingolder notions blindly can be perceived as harsh by youngsters,who are seldom given achoice. Imposition then becomesa source of rebellion, acting out and frustration, culminating into family disputes, anxiety, depression, addictions or personality disorders.
Can we minimize this generational divide, and co-exist as reasonably happy families?Conflict resolution is a valuablesoft skill, known to give longevity to relationships.Here are six ways to help you ease emotional transactions across generations and feel more belongingness and cohesion at home.
1. Silver Linings: When feeling unsupported, ask yourself, ‘what is the one good thing that my situation brings me?’. Looking fora sliver of hope along clouds of despair isthe first step in makinga resilient comeback.
2. Say Thanks: No matter how bad a day;it will always offerus something to be grateful for, as simple as green lights on traffic signals, a yummy meal, orphone call from a dear friend. A state of gratitude makes us light-hearted and propels us to keepgoing every single day.
3. Empathise: If we can find the strength to step into the shoes of another, to try make sense of their behaviour, it could release us from the shackles of criticism, making our demeanour much cheerful and desirable.
4. Joint tasks: Some traditions show us amusing ways out of our mundaneagonies. Indian kitchens, for example,have required all women of the house to work together, regardless of how they felt about each other. Mothers-daughter-sisters-in-law, in one small working space! Can we imagine the tremendous patience, tolerance, co-ordination and effort it must take to get along with each other, in order to give us wholesome square meals and delicious treats every day? Simply sharing chores brings people together,helping them tide over troubles, even if temporarily.
5. What’s in common: Toddlers, teens or oldies, we all like hanging out with peers. But in presence of people from other age groups, we gravitate towards areas of mutual interest. Why not find more areas for agreements, in order to build working relationships withloved ones regardless of age? Movies, recipes or a sport of mutual interest, all are good conversation starters.
6. Boundaries: Inter-generational argumentstend to have an inherent tone of invalidation, making us lose our sense of selves. If we must cohabitate with folks who are not likeminded, we must first find ways to safeguard our personal space and vibe. Draw healthy boundariesamongstfamily members. Have a room orcorner to yourself,squeeze in a definite me time daily, politelysay no sometimes, gently smile at trivial provocations,andengage in self-care regularly.
Theapparently gaping divide spanning between mindsets of successive generations may never be completely bridged. But its blowcould be softened with humility, forgiveness and a dedicated desire for interpersonal harmony. Afterall, only a matter of years before we would be on the other side of the table. As the generation-next, let’s bear in mind to implement what we ask of our previous ones, and be prepared to take in what coming generations would offer; as our civilization wouldcontinue to grow and run into centuries of innate loving, playful hating, genuine sharing and endless caring for each other.