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Relations Between Generations

The twentieth century has noticeably worsened relations between generations. The problem of continuity and conflict in relations of “fathers” and “children” can be viewed as the interaction of different situations and activities, especially due to the transmission of cultural values from generation to generation. This problem has always existed, but the content of the problem and acuteness of the contradictions is especially strong in 20th and early 21th century. This is primarily due to the ultra-fast development of society, a situation when we see not just “progress” in all spheres of public life, but the “revolution”. And of course this fast development leads to a widening gap between generations. Now different generations do not understand each other, it is difficult to overcome differences and gap in so rapidly changing lifestyles, attitudes, and “chase” the speed of progress in modern society. This is not just a problem of misunderstanding, and it carries much more negative effects. In modern society, we have
transformation of the relationship of younger age groups for the older generation in the direction of the traditionally deferential to the unconventional condemn and reject. In such circumstances, older people become abandoned by new generation, deprived of compassion, empathy, understanding and support from younger members of the society. To learn to understand each other, especially the older generation, – is an important social problem of modern society.

Generation gap in the 21st century

At the present stage of development of society there is a rift between generations. Socially significant is the sphere of interpersonal communication, as interpersonal communication makes possible the accumulation and transfer of social experience, and transmission of culture from one generation to the following. The attitude of youth to older people can be considered as one of the indicators of the cultural level of society. Stereotypical statements and opinions relating to old people are indicators reflecting the main cultural circle of the concepts in a given epoch. In our times there is a cult of youth. Human dignity is determined by the ability to quickly and effectively, easily adapt to new technologies and innovations. For example, now we can hear such allegations of young people: ” older generation do not understand us at all. It is quite clear, as they’re from the last century.” These phrases suggest that parents, and especially the elderly can not keep up with progress and progressive ideas of modern times.

Misunderstanding between the generations affect confusion of ideas, culture (all aspects of culture, such as music, literature, fashion, etc.), technologies and even the very way of life. Over the past decade life has changed so rapidly that today’s youth of the early 21th century, and their parents as the generation of 70-80’s have almost nothing in common. In this case, the younger generation blames seniors in “backlog.” New fashion, information space based on Internet technologies, social networks, mobile phones, is not understandable to many older people. The cult of innovation technologies and progress (when you must be aware of the latest trends in the computer technologies) is not understandable to older people. In turn, youth can not always understand the value of traditional literature, art, theatres and museums – all these values are seen as old and unnecessary, which lost their actuality in the 21st century.

But the greatest problem related to this can be called the negative attitudes towards the old age itself. Older people do not keep pace of modern life, do not have the strength to carry out various kinds of responsibilities and roles that brings new life, they are drowning in the chaos of information. Society nowadays faces with the growing problem of old age due to the growth of life expectancy. In terms of relations of generations, the world is experiencing a unique historical period, the essence of which lies in the fact that the society was first formed of few-generations structure, and it caused a number of extraordinary, in terms of traditional processes of socialization, effects.

At the beginning of this century the social culture of the society has changed dramatically. The sharp cultural discontinuity, which occurred as a result of development of market relations, has led to a certain social isolation of older people, to the loss of their status and respect. The most important in intergenerational relationships becomes the ability of each generation to adapt, to form a single social and cultural space without rigid hierarchy, without violence, disrespect of the “fathers” to the children, with an authority of the elderly, and trust and love to the growing generation. To learn to understand each other is an important social challenge.

Talking about the influence of the older generation on youth, we must emphasize the importance of this factor as a measure of trust between youth and seniors. The family is the first and most important aspect in relations between different generations. The absence of appeals for help of youth in crisis situations shows the desire of young people to independent problem-solving on their own. Even mothers as the closest persons are not involved in the life of her children today, her role as a helping person is given to peers. This situation confirms the general trend of our society’s transition to a new stage, when the peers are the main source of information and supportive help in dealing with individual problems. It is fraught with weakening of intergenerational relationships, the difficulty of translation and the perception of past experience. Currently, the family undergoes cultural, social and economic changes, that affect the family relationships. Since family ties are not so important, the elderly become useless and forgotten by young generation.

But it is important to note that the older generation performs an important social function of the connection between generations, as a necessary link in the chain leading from the distant past. The memory about the past today is accumulated in books, film documents, on CD-ROM, and in the memory of the elderly. Nowadays even within the family does not occur the transmission of family traditions from the older to the younger generation, the memory of ancestors. Today is becoming the norm when many young people can not name the places of work and positions of their father or mother, not to mention biographies of parents, especially of grandparents. Such indifference of the younger generation to the past is a new reality of our time.


The problem of generations is an old one, but it becomes particularly acute in the 20th century and early 21st century, when rapid progress and development of all spheres of life of the society has led to a gap between different generations. The difference in attitudes, tastes, values and life orientations is the cause of misunderstandings, indifference and even negative attitudes and conflicts between generations.