The generation gap is widening.

Ask Dr. Joy: Why Doesn't My Kid Ask Me For Advice?

By WEEK Reporter

September 16, 2010 Updated Sep 16, 2010 at 4:41 PM CDT

Advice...Do today’s teens and college age students come to their parents or other adults for advice anymore? Perhaps, the days of asking your elder’s for advice has passed it’s prime. Dr. Joy Miller helps us look at the generation gap and the concerns and reasons why this age old practice of seeking advice from elders is fading.

There has always been a generational gap. But why is today different than times past?
• Today’s youth see three reasons for not going to older adults for advice
1. Their lack of knowledge about technology and the fact that they can get anything they want to know online, versus going to a parent or elder
2. The work ethic is different where adults defined themselves by their job, today’s youth define themselves by other things besides work and money
3. Perspective is different throughout the generations say today’s youth who believe they can get better advice from their peers than from their elders.
Are their any other differences that relates to the intergenerational divide?
• Youth tend to feel closer to their parents and many times are texting and communicating with them in more ways, but that doesn’t mean that they are seeking advice
• Today’s youth don’t need to go to their parents or an elder to find out information about sex, dating or taboo subjects—they can go online and find a plethora of information about any subject without fear or shame
So what are some tips for parents on ways to talk to their youth?
• The Wall Street Journal notes these tips?
1. Think about your assumptions. Just because it worked for you as a youth, is it relevant today?
2. Offer some thoughts, not pronouncements or use words like SHOULD OR MUST
3. Open up the discussion. Welcome dialogue and conversation vs. making the discussion a one-way lecture.
4. Resist saying things like… “When I was your age.” Or “When I was young.” When you talk in those terms, you’ve lost them
5. Don’t put down technology or social media—you only alienate your child in that way
6. Accept your limitations. Trust your instincts and know when not to give your point of view.
7. Talk in short sentences and in short bursts. There is a reason kids text… they define conversations in short quips.
8. Don’t feel offended if your child doesn’t ask for your advice. If you have an open relationship, they will ask you things in a way that is not advice seeking—they will just talk, watch and learn by example.

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