The generation gap can create awkwardness or conflicts between relationships. For example, my friend’s teen son often tries to skip conversations with his nana-nani and dada-dadi. He argues that there aren’t many common topics to talk about.
If you think your children are drifting away from your parents due to the generation gap, here are some ways to bridge it.
- Identify the Cause
Find out why your children are unwilling to spend time with their grandparents. Do they prefer screen time over human conversations? Is there a language or cultural barrier? Do they fear the grandparents for some reason? Talk to your children to get the clarity.
- Involvement of Grandparents
Children shy away from grandparents when the latter are too much or too less involved in the relationship. For example, grandparents may be overbearing and controlling every action or behaviour of grandchildren. In some cases, grandparents hardly make any effort to engage with grandchildren. You may want to observe their relationship dynamics and have an honest conversation with your parents accordingly.
- Try Bonding Activities
You can encourage grandparents and grandchildren to participate in some family bonding activities. You can put them in one team and play fun games. Plan a date with grandparents for your children. Send them together to the market to buy toys, books or groceries. Let your grandparents read a book before bedtime or grandchildren teach them to use gadgets.
- Make Weekly Calls
If the grandparents live in a different place, city or country, then start a weekly phone call ritual for the entire family. You can do a video call and share things. Your grandchildren can put on a storytelling show, sing a song, talk about school projects, show something new they have bought, etc.
It might be challenging to involve older children in these calls. Do not force them to join the calls. Let them talk when they are in a good mood or excited to share something. Once the ice breaks, they may become more comfortable to engage with their grandparents.
- Encourage Children to Seek Advice from the Elderly
Grandparents have decades of experience and wisdom in life. There are some problems and situations where their emotional maturity and advice can come in handy. Encourage your children to reach out to their grandparents in such times.
Children need grandparents in their lives to become better human beings and create happy memories. Grandparents need grandchildren to give a sense of purpose and meaning to their old age. Hence, it is important to bridge the generation gap to help them connect.