As a social institution, family in Indian society has played an important role in the upbringing of children. Family give all of us the primary lesson about the diversity that exists in India and tolerance towards it. Family use to work as a starting point to interact with society and children learn their primary piece of information from the family itself. However, this doesn't prevent the occurrence of intergenerational conflict in Indian society.
Rise of inter-generational conflict within Indian society and reasons behind it
The rise of conflict has been observed in various walks of life and family is not an exception.
- Feeling among the young generation that elders try to impose their authority creates friction points for intergenerational conflict.
- For example, ‘schedule dictation’ of when to wake up, what time to eat etc. cause conflicts.
- Another factor that matters is the growing belief among young children that they are more culturally advanced and the older generation is not able to recognise this fact.
- Moreover, the difference in attitudes to social customs and religious beliefs creates some serious level of conflict. For example, honour killing to oppose love marriage practice is the worst form of intergenerational conflicts.
- An additional reason for this social issue is that structure of the family is changing from joint to nuclear where interaction between two generations is less. This creates a situation of misunderstanding and growing alienation from one and another.
- Subsequent observation is that modernization processes are not in sync with the prevailing cultural values. People are leaving cultural values to gain individual interest. Family is not the only source of values in present-day society. Children can learn things from other mediums like the Internet and social media. Material prosperity has become the one and the only theme of present-day society and this put the elderly population in a disadvantageous position.
This has led to violence against elderly people who cannot support their living. Respect for cultural diversity among the younger generation has reduced due to narrow social interest.
Ways to ameliorate the situation
The gap within the family has to be reduced, and at the same time interaction between the elderly and younger generations has to be increased. Social alienation needs to reduce both inside the family and outside it. The elderly generation has to understand the socio-psychological status of the younger generation and vice versa.
Sensitivity towards ‘the needs and expectations of family members’ has to increase and one generation have to understand the needs of others.
Although the family is changing both its structure and role in modern times but their importance cannot be undermined. Their role as a primary stage for educating children is not going to be wither away, so there is a need for strengthening the working of the family to reduce the occurrence of intergenerational conflicts.