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Sandwiched between two generations

The older generation, those above 65-70 are almost not answerable to anyone or at best they have to account for their behaviour only to their children. The latest generation, those who are not married and don’t have their own children are answerable to only their parents, if at all.

The generation in the middle, those with their own children and active parents are often caught between the two generations. They have to be answerable for their behaviour to their parents, they have to be answerable for their children’s behaviour, they have to defend their children’s actions to the children’s grandparents and they have to explain the grandparents’ demands/actions to their children. That is a day full of activities!

As the latest generations enter the teens and grow beyond, the problem seems to become worse. The older generations have their own values/morals/ethics which suited that generation but is a far cry from those of the new generation.

“Why is your daughter not yet back home? We never allowed girls to be outside beyond 6pm”

“Mom, she is out with friends. She is safe. She will be back. These days we cannot impose such curfew on children”

“You give too much latitude to your children. You don’t know how to raise children”

Then you have to hear it form our children

“Why should I tell grandparent, where I went, what I did, whom I went out with? She has no sense of privacy. She asks too many questions”

“She is concerned about your safety”

“I am not a kid. I am doing what everyone in my group is doing. What do they want me to do? Sit and home and watch Bajans on TV. You tell them not to ask me such questions”

The older generation often has a lot of opinions on the dress sense, hair-style, hygiene, time-sense, ‘respect for elders’, of the new generation. Some of them openly, willingly and without discretion express them. The new-gen thinks the old gen is mothballed and does not respect them. For most people in the old gen, respect flows only in one direction - younger to older, not the other way around.

The middle gen goes through this grind of being the player umpire, referee, lawyer, judge etc in the three-way match. I have seen many people emerge from this match where not only the opponent has bashed them but the referee and the crowd also joined the melee. It ends perhaps when the next generation moves out of home either through work or marriage (sometimes even then it does not) or the older generation does not have any energy left.

This is one sandwich which the middle generation wishes it did not have to taste!

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