The world is constantly changing, and if our thinking and habits are not vibrating in resonance with the new cosmic frequencies, there will be naturally tension (often reflected in generational clashes). On the face of it, it is reasonable to assume that if indeed there were timeless values, they would need no effort to preserve for they would resonate harmoniously with the vibrational frequencies of all times and would thus be always welcome. Everything else proclaimed to be a “family value or tradition worth keeping forever”, yet resisted by the new generation, should be re-examined and questioned.
By and large, I think there are two family battle fields: the battle for Respect and the battle for Understanding. Parents want to win the first one, while children fight the second battle.
Most parents demand first and foremost respect from their children (because parents know better, because they deserve it, because they are owed something by their children, because respect for the elders is a good family value). But is it respect parents are really after? Usually, children are deemed disrespectful when they don’t obey, i.e. when parents can’t control them. In other words, parents are saying “If I can’t control you, you are disrespecting me.” But parents, if you want to receive something, you have to first give that same thing.
So are parents respectful of their children? Parents that want to control their children and expect obedience are usually not respecting their children’s personal space, choices and opinions. Thus, parents themselves are being disrespectful. Importantly, children are entitled to their own life. In fact, that’s a very important value in today’s day and age. So if you want to teach your child Respect, don’t barge into their personal space thinking you are entitled to it. You are not. Let go of your controlling tendencies, show some respect, and children will automatically respect you for that. Problem solved!
And one more thing, parents. Don’t play the victim. Don’t think that you sacrifice yourself for your children, so they owe you something in return (e.g. they have to be happy, successful and “good” for your sake). You decided to have them, so own your decision and don’t trap your children in it. Don’t manipulate them, don’t pull out the emotional blackmail card, and don’t be a control freak. You are not a victim of your children’s disrespect (or disobedience, as is often the case). You are a victim of your own poor understanding of what respect really means and your own failure to show respect for your child’s life choices.
As for children, their most usual complaint is that their parents don’t understand them. But children, you have to understand your parents as well. There is only one thing you have to understand actually – that all the control the parents are exercising and everything they do is out of LOVE. Fair enough, it doesn’t seem that way. Rut it is true. No parent hates their children (well, almost no one). Their behavior may signal the contrary but that’s not the truth. Parents control because they want “the best” for their children. Yes, it is arrogant of them to think that they know best but most parents are ignorant that way. (Ironically enough, children turn into their controlling parents when they have their own children, it’s just how things play out). But if only children were able to “read” the parents’ annoying behavior as “I love you”, if children were able to actually understand their parents’ motives, children too would be met by understanding by their parents. The same rule applies here: if you want to receive Understanding, you have to give it first.
So parents and children: Don’t demand! Give and you shall receive. If you want to be respected, pay respect to the ones you demand respect from. If you want to be met with understanding, be understanding towards the ones you want to understand you. That’s how you maintain a healthy and happy family.