The Dilemma of Gen X Parents
For many who might not have clarity on the definition of this generational nomenclature, let me first clarify that people born between 1965 and 1980 are called “generation X.”
Similarly, the kids born in 2010 and later are termed “generation Alpha.”
But let’s focus on Generation X for now.
As a member of Generation X, I’d like to share some of my thoughts on this generation.
We are the one generation that has probably been instrumental in most metaphoric changes in our personal and social lives by embracing so many technological changes, which have greatly impacted our lives.
The timing and degree of impact may vary from country to country depending on an individual’s social and economic status, but it has certainly had an impact.
Consider life in the 1965–1980s, when television, radio, and the internet were scarce and, in many countries and places, unknown. Modes of transport were mostly public; motorised vehicles were a luxury for people at the top strata of society. The food was mostly local and prepared at home by the ladies. Banking was mostly limited to corporations, the government, and some elite business people. Most people do not associate branding with brands.
Call them common people or middle-class people, but the gap between them and the top tier of society in terms of many amenities and opportunities was too great for Gen X to even imagine reaching out to them in their lifetime.
However, with the speed of technological advancement and the cost of technology compared to the economic growth of the so-called middle class or common people, many of these life-enriching facilities became available to them.
Until now, everything has been fine. The dilemma starts for these Gen X people by the time they become parents.
Gen X parents have experienced this growth path and have seen the difficulties and struggles in their own lives; hence, most of them do not wish their kids to go through the same struggle or deprivation. They give their kids almost everything possible within their reach and economic capability. Now, these children, generation Alpha or generation Z (the generation before Alpha), are born with all of these conveniences and eases of life. So, any shortfall in what they get makes them highly violent, boisterous, emotional, etc.
The dilemma of Gen X parents is simply that they are unable to deal with this situation and, at times, blame their children’s generation, technology, social norms, schools, and so on. They may eventually clinch on some professional counsellors for their children.
Gen X parents forget some basic rules of life and some basic rules of economics. Abundance of anything reduces its value; scarcity brings value. The more they struggle, kids will learn on their own how to deal with such situations. Life’s way of dealing with emotions is rejection.
If we, Gen X, look back, how and why we became successful in our lives is because we were exposed to struggle, competition, a less protective environment, less facilitation, and hence learned to deal with situations, became creative, became emotionally stable, etc.
Let every kid have their own struggle and learn from the harsh realities of life. Let Gen X not bother too much with their children. Allow them to develop their own learning curve.
Gen X should let Gen Alpha grow naturally with all the flavours of life, including the negatives, rejections, and struggles.