Bridging the generational gap between parents and kids can be an uphill task. Kids live in the “now.” They have the extraordinary capacity to disappear into the present moment. As parents, we are the gatekeepers of time. We are preoccupied with it and are constantly watching the clock to see when we need to race out the door to the next activity, always anticipating our next move.
Bridging the generation gap by tapping into their minds
As adults, we either waste our present by investing it in thoughts of the past or by daydreaming about or trying to plan for the future. But our kids don’t worry about the future; they play and take every moment for what it is. They easily forget about the past, and the future is hard for them to grasp. For them, life revolves around what is in front of them at the time.
So how do we bridge the gap between our future expectations and our kids’ lack of emotional attachment to the future? When we are so focused on future expectations, we lose them. If your kid gets a bad grade, it’s not helpful to immediately jump to the assumption that they’re now not going to get the grade point average they need to get accepted into the school they want to go to.
Instead, you must bring yourself back to the present and ask them, “What does it feel like when you get a bad grade on your chemistry test?” Most likely, they’ll give a brief response, but it will usually provide insight into how they are feeling. This will give you an opening to ask, “What can you do/what is in your power to change this right now?” and then perhaps ask them what that would look like for them, whether it’s studying more or asking for help.
Kids live in the now, so focus on today
Effective communication is the key. If you keep unraveling it, you create a plan with them. By keeping it focused on today, you are letting them feel like they have some choice in the solution, and it involves them in the decision-making process on how to handle the bad grade. This forces them to go a little deeper and search for the answer, and by doing so, they believe that it was their idea as much as it is yours, even though you encouraged and guided them to it.
Conclusion: Bridging the generation gap between parents and kids
When kids are made a part of the process, they will own it. Doing this will also help keep you in the moment with them.
- When making rules and boundaries, explain to your kids why they are important or what the meaning is behind them rather than having them think it’s “just because.”
- Pushback is part of the natural growing process, so take it with a grain of salt.
- We need to let our kids fall sometimes, and then we can help them up. They need to fall and make mistakes so that they can learn from them. It’s when we coddle and overprotect them that we stunt their development and growth.
- When kids lash out, it’s because they don’t feel seen, heard, or understood.
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