Saturday, July 25, 2015

"Every generation blames the one before"

Mike and the Mechanics wrote, “every generation blames the one before.” There is a good reason for this.

People want to raise their children the way in which they themselves would have wanted to be raised. However their children are different from them, and it rarely works.

Thus, the World War II generation, growing up as it did during the Great Depression and the Second World War, wanted to raise their children in security and prosperity. Their baby boomer children however did not want that; they found it boring and suffocating, and they wanted freedom. So when they became hippie parents themselves, they gave their children freedom. However their children did not want that either; they wanted structure and stability, and many gen-Xers are very angry at their parents for not having provided that and see them as the worst generation.

By the time my generation – Generation Y – came around, the baby boomers had had some more life experience and generally did a better job than they did with the Xers. The best among them provided both comfort and freedom. Of course there were any number who provided just one or the other, and some who provided neither. But parenting technology improved a lot during that time, and there have been excellent parents to benefit some people in my generation.

What is going on? The error that many people make is assuming that their children are just like themselves. Of course they are not; and parenting needs to target the child's needs instead of the projected needs of the parent. I do not see, or treat, my daughter as a reflection of me; I look at who she is individually. She is someone who wants to learn and explore. She is someone with a strong drive. And she is someone with a warm and affectionate personality who wants to love and be loved. She gets all of the above both from me and from her mother.

More people will respect their parents if their parents go to the bother of figuring out who they are and target their parenting accordingly. The boomers were not the World War II generation; the Xers were not the boomers; my daughter's generation is not Generation Y. What one may want, might be completely different from what the other may want. And a good parent will recognize that and work with that reality.


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