The Old and the New

During one "generation gap" quarrel with his parents young Michael cried, "I want excitement, adventure, money, and beautiful women. I'll never find it here at home, so I'm leaving. Don't try and stop me!" With that he headed toward the door. His father rose and followed close behind. "Didn't you hear what I said? I don't want you to try and stop me." "Who's trying to stop you?" replied his father. "If you wait a minute, I'll go with you."

This is a joke doing its rounds on how the new generation gap has taken shape!

The friction between the young and old exists for ages. The joint family concept had the elders putting the flame off now and then. The younger generation of those days had to meekly submit to the advice of the elders and worked themselves up to success. But of late the nuclear family consists of the parents and maximum two children these days ? the office goers, career oriented fathers and mothers have rarely little time to spend with their children. The children are forced to make independent decisions right or wrong.

This kind of generation gap happens more when the children grow up and the son gets married. Nowadays the parenting concept accepts only parents and not the grandparents. The competitive world makes the parents concentrate more on their children who have to mould their career and settle in life rather than spend time for their old parents who are becoming more and more dependent on their children as they grow older.

The old parents being alive are considered to be a burden. The son is more enthusiastic about giving the best to his children and wants them to compete with their peers. He does not want to lose control over them and certainly feels that there should be a set pattern in bringing up his children.

The grandparents now feel that their son who had been so obedient and submissive now ignores him and does not allow grandchildren to play with them. The son in turn feels that his parents do not know anything of technological advancement and their son in turn should cope up with the latest technologies and not waste time in playing with grandparents. They would prefer their children playing on the computers rather than the grandparents.

Has the new generation gap, which is emerging now, taken a turn to disregard the elders? Or should the older persons step down and adjust to the new developments?

Hpriya Sivan

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Parenting expert pens Khmer guides  The Phnom Penh Post

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