Intergenerational relationships are relationships between the aging matriarch or patriarch of the family, mature children, and grandchildren. It can extend up to even great-grandchildren.
Each family member can provide or receive certain benefits from each other. Senior members can impart their knowledge about life and their experiences that helped them overcome certain difficulties. The younger members can provide support to seniors who may be experiencing limited mobility or some health problems. Even the youngest members of the family can impart their knowledge about the latest gadgets and how to use them.
Social connections are vital in maintaining or achieving good mental and physical wellness no matter what age. Each relationship you have with a person and how you build it has its own unique value. It is a known fact that robust social connections give various benefits – from upholding a sense of security to significantly enhancing the general well-being.
However, you can gain more than those benefits. You have the opportunity to preserve traditions and family ties to remain steadfast through the passing of time. If you are interested in nurturing strong intergenerational relationships, you will benefit a lot from these tips.
1.) Take Time to Gather the Entire Family to Meet Face-to-Face
Face-to-face communication can bring people closer together. Even though there are apps and devices that allow you to see the face of the person you are talking with, it’s still more personal when you sit across from each other and share stories. The conversation is more pleasurable when you can talk while enjoying a lazy afternoon with some snacks and coffee or tea.
You may gather the entire family once a week, once every two weeks, or even once a month. The important thing is to have a face-to-face meeting regularly, and the interval should not be so far apart. Talking via Zoom, FaceTime, WhatsApp, or other video chat apps almost every day can help keep the lines of communication open and active. The senior members of the family may ask the younger ones to help them with the apps.
2.) Each Member Should Keep an Open Mind and Be Respectful
The parents and their children will always experience different fads during their youth. Parents tend to forget how they were when they were young. They often think that their children are experiencing exactly the same things that they had during their teen years.
Parents, including the senior members of the family, should realize that the world keeps evolving. The way their children interact or view things can be different from the way that they looked at the world when they were young and carefree. Everyone should keep an open mind to avoid a generation gap.
The world never stays the same, and everyone should see that. What used to be a very important tool, such as a floppy disc, is now something obsolete. The younger generation should understand how it was during their parents’ teen years, and the parents should accept the fact that the children may never follow in their footsteps.
It is also important to listen to what a family member has to say and treat each other with respect. If you find it hard to accept a family member’s opinion, ask for a more detailed explanation. You also need to avoid berating that member in public.
If every member keeps an open mind and respects the other members of the family, the intergenerational relationships would bloom into something beautiful.
3.) Show Unconditional Love
Simply put, unconditional love is something that you offer freely without expecting anything in return. You give it without any conditions that the receiver should fulfill. You simply give your love and want the receivers to be happy. It is something that senior members of the family often extend. The younger members, especially the mature children, should learn how to cultivate unconditional love.
If each member of the family can give unconditional love to one another, it will be easier to iron out misunderstandings. You will be able to communicate with ease and be comfortable in each other’s company. The unconditional love and support that you and your family members get from each other can help encourage the younger generation to show the same love and compassion.
4.) Find Common Interests or Hobbies
You can strengthen your bond if you find common interests or hobbies and try to work on a certain project that you will all enjoy doing together. It should not be something intricate or complicated for senior members, who may have a hard time understanding how it works. The most important thing is that everyone will be able to contribute something, no matter how small or big it is.
If all of you are fond of doing jigsaw puzzles, you may try connecting the pieces of a gigantic puzzle together. It may take some time to complete the whole picture, but the important thing is that all of you are doing everything you can to complete it while having a great time.
You and your family are similar to that jigsaw puzzle. It will never be complete unless all the pieces have come together.
5.) Learn to Compromise
It is natural for you and a family member to disagree on certain things no matter how close you are. Parents often insist on what they want, and children have no other choice but to follow. As a result, those children that feel like they are wearing a sort of restraint may end up creating trouble for their parents.
Learn to compromise and make your children understand the true meaning of the word. Let them embrace it. That way, it would be easy to settle things without hurting each other.
6.) Recognize the Fact That You Can Learn From Each Other
It is not demeaning to ask the younger members of the family about things that you don’t understand, like how the new gadget works. If you are curious about something, ask questions. It does not matter whether you are younger or older than the person you are about to ask.
The senior members of the family still have many things to impart to the younger generation. The younger members have a lot of things to offer when it comes to modern gadgets, devices, or anything that modern technology has created.
Each family member can learn from the other. Don’t ever think that you are far better than anyone else in your family. Don’t ever think that the senior members have nothing more to contribute.
Creating intergenerational relationships between your loved ones should not be hard. It all depends on the willingness of all parties to follow the tips and close the generation gap.