A conversation I had with my aunts [both live abroad & have been away for quite a few years. They do visit India, and their families once or twice a year] where we were talking about how we have all either changed or evolved, and how we are unable to connect with our families anymore, heck even be around them for long periods of time. It got me thinking. Is it true across the spectrum or only for a few of us? I have never really been close to my family, and always felt at home wherever I was [never felt homesick or missed home food, etc, the only one i missed was Floppy and now he too is gone]. My aunts on the other hand are super close to their siblings & families, they are a big family – 4 kids, 6 grand kids and the type who do family holidays together every year. To think we both felt the same about our families today had me stumped.

The idea that our families remain stagnant while we grow and mature is actually a common misconception. While it’s true that kids experience rapid changes in development and perspective, families are also dynamic units that evolve and adapt over time. However, there are some factors that can contribute to a feeling of disconnect between children and their families as they grow up:

Generational Differences:

  • Values and beliefs: Different generations often have different values and worldviews shaped by their unique historical contexts. This can lead to clashes in opinions and perspectives.
  • Communication styles: Communication styles can evolve with time and technology. Younger generations might prefer texting or video calls, while older generations might prefer face-to-face conversations. This can create misunderstandings and communication barriers.
  • Life experiences: As children grow and gain new experiences, their understanding of the world expands beyond what their parents or siblings may have experienced. This can lead to a feeling of not being understood.

Family Dynamics:

  • Unresolved conflicts: Past conflicts or unresolved issues can fester and create emotional distance between family members.
  • Lack of emotional intimacy: Families might not be accustomed to expressing emotions openly, making it difficult to connect on a deeper level.
  • Dysfunctional dynamics: Unhealthy family dynamics, such as addiction, abuse, or enmeshment, can hinder healthy communication and growth.

Individual Growth:

  • Changing priorities: As children mature, their priorities naturally shift to focus on their own education, careers, and relationships. This can sometimes lead to a feeling of neglect towards family.
  • Identity exploration: During adolescence and young adulthood, individuals often explore their identities and push boundaries, which can lead to conflict with established family norms.

Bridging the Gap:

  • Open communication: Honest and open communication is key to understanding each other’s perspectives and experiences.
  • Active listening: Try to truly understand your family members’ feelings and viewpoints, even if you disagree.
  • Empathy and respect: Show empathy for the challenges your family members face and respect their values and beliefs, even if they differ from yours.
  • Shared activities: Make time for activities that everyone enjoys, creating shared experiences and memories that strengthen the bond.
  • Seek professional help: If communication is difficult or family dynamics are unhealthy, consider seeking professional help from a therapist or counsellor.

Remember, families are constantly evolving, and the feeling of disconnect is not always permanent. By fostering open communication, empathy, and a willingness to understand each other’s perspectives, you can bridge the gap and strengthen your family ties even as you continue to grow and evolve with time… 

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