Generational Divide


Parents often think they know it all. “I was a teenager once too, you know,” they say. “I’ve experienced everything you’re going through.” But that’s the thing: they haven’t.
A new world is utterly consumed by technology, social media and the constant societal pressure always lurking in the distance like a dark cloud, while vital years for growth were taken away by the pandemic. It’s all too much.
The psychological space between adults and the youth seems to grow with each generation to come, and understandably so. With time change comes mindset change, and that is not always easy for people to accept. While it is not to say life wasn’t difficult for past generations, it definitely hasn’t been any easier for us.
Older generations never had to experience harsh comparison on social media. Unattainable beauty and lifestyle standards are constantly portrayed as “normal,” leaving many teens questioning their worth on a daily basis: Am I skinny enough? Am I pretty enough? Am I doing everything perfectly so that I won’t be susceptible to the judgment of my peers?
With mental illness being much more commonly recognized in our generation than in our parents, it can be hard for them to understand and help us cope. While that is not necessarily the parents’ faults, it can be damaging to some teens because it forces them to go through their struggles feeling isolated and misunderstood.
Moreover, societal norms were very different in past decades. Opening up about sexuality and gender identity was far less acceptable when our parents were children. Because of this reality, many parents don’t understand and fail to adjust to the nuanced thinking of today’s youth.
Social pressures consume our generation like never before with pressure to fit in, sexual orientation, online activities and the constant pressure to succeed. Youth can only contain these pressures for so long until they all become too heavy, especially if they don’t have someone to vent to.
I refuse to believe that this is just the way life is. Just because our grandparents’ generation didn’t understand our parents, and our parents don’t understand ours doesn’t mean that one day we won’t understand our own children. Many parents make the conscious decision to take the time to fully understand their children and listen to their perspectives. People need to continue to do so in order to ensure that generations to come are not ostracized from the rest.
Time changes everything. It is essential for all to be understanding and adapt to new generations, concepts and ideals. We are not the lost generation. Just because we think differently doesn’t mean we are wrong. We are not lazy or irresponsible — we are simply misunderstood.