Friday, 30 August 2013

#30daychallenge day 19: disrespecting your parents

So here's some thoughts more on generational issues than on parents in particular; could mean coworkers, older family friends, aunts and uncles, grandparents ... relationships. Tricky.

I don't think it's news to anybody that close relationships operate a lot better when everyone respects each other. It leaves room to disagree, without things getting ugly.

I think it's important to note that in the case of adult relationships, the respect thing has to go both ways. It's interesting, to come back to your hometown as an adult and have to renegotiate that particular relationship. Once you factor in the generation gap, there are plenty of negotiations to be made; a balance between support and independence, the push and pull of meeting expectations and being free of them, the space to pursue whichever path your life is taking that particular week and the confidence to make decisions of your own.

It has been interesting for me to get into this analysis of Generation Y for one of my assignments; there was certainly the heartening discovery (or I should perhaps call it a reassurance) that it is typical of our generation to lack the financial capital to purchase a house at the earlier age that our parents did; that we pursue further education and career changes constantly throughout our lives; that different world events have moulded our perceptions of ourselves, our peers, our parents, our lives, our family. While our families watch our lives unfold, chances are there's going to be a disconnect between those living this stage of life and those of a different generation who are watching. There's just not a lot of point saying "by the time I was your age I had this and had done this and this", because really, it's just not that relevant anymore. Nor are we, the Generation Y (oldest of us in our early 30s, youngest of us just 13) particularly fond of hearing it. We're not failures for doing things differently.

A feeling of disrespect might often be as simple as miscommunication, but for Gen Y where communication is everything, this probably has a significance to us that it may not have had to our parents and friends when they were at our age. We are social media kids, and so we are used to having a voice. It's less and less the case that children are meant to be seen and not heard. For instance, I use my 'voice' loudly, on a daily basis, and I expect to be listened to. The earlier generations can grumble about how it used to be, or they can realise that time has passed and things are done differently, and marvel at how much people like me who are writing are willing to share with them.

I mentioned in this post that one of my highs of this year was getting to know my parents and be friends with them, and it's certainly true. It's always a bit weird to sort out how everything should work when you still want them to make you feel better when you've had a bad day, but you also don't want them to know all the details of your life (and they probably have a point where some things might become Too Much Information). I like to think I've got it figured out, so far, for now.

To lighten your mood and leave on a sweet note, I also like to use 'kids these days', ironically or otherwise. And to completely embrace my inner Gen Y, here are some more hipster cats. I know you love them, even if you're too cool to say so.

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