Welcome back to part 2 of answering your questions on adulting! Let’s dive right in:
Question #5: How to tackle the generation gap between our parents and us
This is an interesting question. We and our parents grew up in different times resulting in what is known as a generational gap, i.e. a difference in opinion and perspective about various matters. I’m fortunate that I have very understanding parents, but we certainly have one or two things we disagree on.
I guess the most important thing is to meet each other halfway; we are all a product of our time and our parents are doing their best. Things were certainly different 40 or 50 years ago; the gender equality movement wasn’t as far along as it is now and the world was a relatively safer place back then too.
Yes, our parents may be old-fashioned in some ways and when I was younger I used to wonder why they didn’t see things the way I did. But as I grew older, I started to realise that so many things that I took for granted – my tertiary education, equal treatment of my brothers and me at home, freedom of choice in so many aspects of my life – these weren’t always a given. Just one generation ago, some of these things would have had to be fought for.
Despite a more traditional upbringing, our parents have adopted more modern ways of thinking. Perhaps not as modern as us, but remember, we too are a product of our time, and they’ve come a long way.
I recall a time when I was younger and I wanted to be a journalist. It was an unconventional career path for our family and my parents were concerned. I spoke to my parents and ultimately my dad wanted me to do what made me happy.
It took my mum a little longer to get on board with the idea. Once I got started, however, she was the one accompanying me for the interviews I needed to do for school assignments. I ended up majoring in Economics, but that’s a story for another day.
Point is, my parents surprised me with their acceptance and support. Maybe not immediately, but slowly yet surely, they accepted my decisions and were always there for me, even when we didn’t see eye to eye. Even now, as I’m kind of floating around trying to make a career out of writing, my dad reads each blog post and encourages me greatly.
It may take some time to see each other’s point of view, but as long as we have honest discussions about our feelings and expectations, things usually work out.
Question #6: How to manage time as working adults with children
I don’t have kids yet, so I turned to my sister-in-law for some guidance on this one. She’s a working mother of one very adorable baby boy!
Here are a few pointers I learned:
It’s okay to ask for help. Family support can mean everything.
Have an understanding with your partner and have each other’s back. Sometimes, you have more on your plate and it’s important to communicate with your partner and come up with a game plan.
Sticking to a schedule helps a lot. Sleep training and sticking to regular bedtimes are useful, Once the baby sleeps, you can settle other things around the house. However, babies have their moods. Sometimes things don’t go according to plan and that’s okay. Don’t be so hard on yourself.
When things are hectic, it’s okay to outsource certain tasks such as laundry or getting take-away.
A good babysitter helps a lot on busy workdays. It’s okay to invest a little more for quality child care and peace of mind.
Thank you anni (sister-in-law in Tamil) for your pearls of wisdom. I hope I can be as patient and loving as you one day when our time comes to be parents 😊
Question #7: How to control our anger
We all get angry sometimes. What matters most is how we react when we get angry. There have been instances when I’ve said things out of anger that I ended up regretting later on. Nowadays, I try my best to take a time out and cool down before communicating my feelings to avoid saying something hurtful. Words cut deeper than a knife and the things we say out of anger can’t be taken back, no matter how hard we try.
If I’m upset about something, talking about it with my partner or best friend tends to help. Venting, as some would call it, forces me to talk about what made me angry in the first place, helps me make sense of my emotions, and speaking to a calmer, more objective person also (hopefully) prevents me from doing anything too rash.
The American Psychological Association (APA) offers some strategies to keep our anger at bay:
Relaxation tools such as deep breathing or slow, yoga-like exercises can help to calm us down.
Changing your environment. Perhaps take a time out and go for a walk. Return after 10 or 15 minutes when you’re feeling a little calmer.
Better communication. Avoid saying the first thing that pops into your mind. Once you feel calmer, communicate how you’re feeling to the other person. Give them a chance to reply and explain themselves, listen to what they have to say. Sometimes, anger arises due to misunderstanding. Two-way communication can help to resolve the issue.
Question #8: How to concentrate when reading
When we read something enjoyable, out of choice, reading doesn’t feel so much like a chore. However, when we need to read articles for work or textbooks for school, we may start to lose focus.
During my Masters, I worked on a research paper that required a rather extensive literature review. Some of the articles I needed to go through were rather lengthy and took me time to decipher and understand. It was a daunting task, but what helped me a lot was breaking down this task into smaller, daily goals. Instead of reading loads of articles over a few days, I made it a point to read two or three articles for about 45 minutes to an hour every day for a few weeks. This made the task more manageable and helped to keep me more focused.
This strategy also helps when it comes to preparing for exams. In college, revising consistently after lectures (as boring as it sounds) is a great strategy to stay on top of things. Revising a great many chapters towards the end of the semester is a sure-fire way to lose concentration and get demotivated.
At the workplace, you may be required to take up professional certifications or papers that involve exams as well. I needed to sit for one such paper when I was a bank trainer. Breaking down the syllabus I needed to cover into smaller, daily goals helped ease my anxiety over the exams and kept me focused.
Any work in large doses can be overwhelming, and we’re bound to lose concentration. Plan ahead and break it up into smaller chunks to boost your productivity and focus.
Thank you once again for your questions. I hope this two-part series has been helpful. See you guys next week for my July favourites! 😊