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Bridging 21st Century Family Gaps with Counseling

Bridging 21st Century Family Gaps with Counseling

Bridging 21st Century Family Gaps with Counseling


Being a family in the 21st century is a lot different than before. Over the past 50 years, family dynamics and compositions have changed dramatically. Years ago, the home structure was traditionally characterized by a working dad and a mom who stayed home. Today, the changes in structure, value formation, work-life balance, childcare and setup of a family has resulted in a variety of different compositions, ranging from typical two-parent homes to single parenting and variations in between. Differences and disconnection between members may result in a variety of issues, such as conflict, miscommunication and family gaps.


Identifying Potential Causes of Family Gaps

The older generation often asks why the younger generation is different from what it used to be. At the same time, the younger generation wonders why the older generation finds it difficult to understand their needs. There are things that do not set well between these multi-age groups, creating what is known as the generation gap. There are also common differences that cause parents and children to argue, and the emotional gap created often cause great anxiety and depression in many families.


  • Parental Respect Gap: It is natural for parents to require the respect they deserve and expect from their children. Being older, wiser, and more experienced, parents feel they are responsible in raising children according to their guidelines. Although the young ones are treated as equals in many families today, some children tend to go beyond the limits and structure provided by adult members. With more freedom than before, children can voice out opinions instead of simply doing what is told, which can be bothersome. Family conflict may arise when children do not show consideration for a parent’s opinion or instruction.


  • Technology Gap: These days, children live and breathe technology. This leaves parents behind in keeping abreast with their electronic-savvy young ones. The growth of technology is thought to affect family relationships and seen as one of the major causes of family conflict. Adults can find it upsetting to see children busy texting while at the dinner table or playing computer games, rather than spending quality time with the family. The lack of digital understanding and supervision over what the children do online can lead to many misunderstandings and arguments.


  • Educational and Work Ethic Gap: In the past, many parents lacked education which children of today enjoy. There was the need to work several jobs to support a family and earn money for children’s education. Today, young people strive to be successful in their endeavor for instant gratification and change careers often for a variety of reasons. Acting impulsively on snap decisions often results in parents feeling left out and distraught.


  • Freedom and Authority Gap: It is understandable for parents to impose authority over their children who constantly seek freedom from parental rules to define their independence. This change in the traditional setup, wherein a tug of war exists between parents asserting authority and children challenging or struggling to free themselves, can create conflict and chaos.


  • Communication Gap: Considering the change in work setup where both parents are employed, it is not surprising for them to spend very little time communicating with the children. Compared with families in the past when members sat together to talk and discuss or resolve issues at hand, some of today’s families are experiencing a communication gap seen as one of the reasons why parents and children drift apart from each other.


All families have a complex relationship with diverse experiences, opinions, etc. With diversity comes differences and differences create gaps. Sadly, the prevailing lifestyle with nuclear families does not leave enough room for interaction and communication. Without these elements, certain subjects, events or topics may be missed, thus breeding misunderstanding and conflict.


Spotting the Signs

While it seems easier to ignore the differences and wait for them to go away, doing so can worsen the situation. The painful interactions, lack of communication, frequent arguments are some of the negative elements that can affect each member’s well-being. Here are more glaring red flags of family gaps:


  • Family members stop sharing things with each other, whether work, school, or relationship matters. Some members physically and emotionally distance themselves from the rest of the family due to the feeling of being isolated or for fear of being judged. It will take only a little time before the entire family bond starts to dissolve.


  • Members display emotional outbursts in the presence of the whole family. Sudden and frequent outburst, whether due to sadness or anger, can take a huge toll on the emotionally trapped member and others witnessing the explosive behavior.


  • Thoughts of family induce negative feelings. When you associate negative feelings whenever you think about your family means it is a warning sign of a serious issue. Whether it is anger, jealousy, shame or fear – negative feelings do not define a happy family.


  • No one wants to compromise. A healthy family relationship is built on compromise. When members exercise “power plays” and refuse to compromise in any situation, this can result in an increased distance between members.


The family is composed of members interconnected to each other. When an issue is affecting the whole unit, resolution is addressed for the benefit of everyone while satisfying each individual requirement. Treatment becomes easier if family members are communicating with each other. If not, family counseling can help “break the ice” so that members can openly express thoughts and feelings in an honest and respectful manner. The help of a family counselor is vital in bridging the gap that resulted from poor communication.


Reaching Out for Professional Help

It is expected for families to disagree and have some amount of misunderstanding from time to time. After all, with members having varying perspectives, it is understandable to be in conflict occasionally. If, however, tension is rising due to some issues you cannot resolve as a unit, do not wait for a major crisis or for your family to become more dysfunctional because of not seeking professional help.

A family is a complicated structure consisting of many elements. If one element breaks down, it follows that all the other elements are affected, and the members can start drifting apart from each other. If this is happening in your family, it may be embarrassing or even scary to seek help. Doing things on your own may do more harm due to the high level of emotions.

Considering all the changes happening in the 21st century, it is not unusual for families to feel distressed or stressed over clashing issues. As a parent, you may easily recognize the blind spots your children are struggling with, but unfortunately, youngsters today are not often inclined to heed insights from their elders.

The logical step is to receive unbiased assistance from someone your family can be comfortable with. Family counseling offered by a skilled counselor/therapist independently contracted with Carolina Counseling Services – North Fayetteville Office – Fayetteville, NC can help you to bridge the gap, so you can stay connected to one another. Addressing negative emotions is one of the 9 good reasons to seek counseling now. The right fit therapist independently contracted with CCS – North Fayetteville Office – Fayetteville, NC will work with you in helping you take care of your most precious relationship – your family. Call us without delay to request an appointment.

Serving Areas: Carolina Counseling Services – Fayetteville, NC (North)

Counties: Cumberland, Bladen and Sampson Counties, NC

Areas: Fayetteville NC, Ft Bragg NC, Pope Field NC, Sliver City NC, Linden NC, Bunnlevel NC, Erwin NC, Dundarrach NC, Rex NC,and Wade, NC

Zip Codes: 28311, 28395, 28390, 28356

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Carolina Counseling Services – North Fayetteville Office, Fayetteville, NC

422 McArthur Road, Suite 2
FayettevilleNC 28311

Our Mailing Address:

PO BOX 9909
Fayetteville, NC 28311

Choose your Therapist

  • Becky Clark, MSW, LCSW

    Specializes in: (Ages 18+) Anxiety, Depression, Individuals, Couples, Geriatrics, Criminal Justice, Stress Management, Loss and Grief related to death, disability, divorce, deployment, “empty nest”, retirement and other major life transitions
    Insurance: BCBS, Tricare, Medicare, and Cash

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    Location: Fayetteville, NC