Parenting can be difficult, especially when you belong to a generation that has to do considerable self-healing work to develop healthy parent-child bonds.
Parenting is a profound journey filled with joy, challenges and self-discovery. As generations evolve, so do parenting approaches and behaviors. In the ever-changing landscape of parenthood, Generation X, often referred to as Gen X, occupies a unique space. Attachment therapist Steph, known as @stephanne221 on TikTok, recently shared three clinical observations about Gen X parents and their parenting styles in a video. These insights shed light on the complexities of parenting in the Gen X era and provide valuable food for thought.
One striking observation made by Steph is that Gen X parents seem less inclined to seek out family therapy compared to their Boomer counterparts. Steph states, "I work with a lot more Boomer parents in the family therapy context than I do Gen X. I don't know why that is." This trend raises intriguing questions about the factors that influence Gen-X parents' choices regarding family therapy.
One comment from @reedandwrite underscores the struggles faced by Gen X parents: "We are struggling with damage from our Boomer parents and simultaneously trying so hard to reverse course with our own kids." It hints at a generational cycle of parenting challenges and the complex interplay between past experiences and current parenting choices.
Steph's second observation delves into the emotional landscape of Gen X parents. She suggests that some Gen X parents make themselves emotionally indistinguishable from Boomers. However, her clinical experience has allowed her to discern a difference. Gen X parents are making efforts to be emotionally open and vulnerable with their children. This willingness to receive more from their children and establish deeper emotional connections is evident.
In individual therapy sessions with children, Steph encourages them to share their feelings with their parents. She says, "And then I say like, hey, you need to bring this to your parent and this is, you know, going to enhance vulnerability and your connection to your parent, which you want, right?" It reflects the desire of Gen X parents to bridge emotional gaps and foster stronger connections with their children.
@eric_of_the_valley suggested a possible reason for Gen Xers' preference for individual therapy: "I wonder if we choose individual therapy over family therapy because independence is such a north star for us." This comment hints at the Gen X generation's emphasis on self-reliance and personal growth, shedding light on their choices regarding therapeutic interventions.
Steph's third observation brings a positive perspective to the forefront. Gen X parents are, by and large, excelling in the realm of couples therapy. In her experience, Gen Xers are the most committed to the couples therapy process among all the generations she has worked with, ranging from Gen Z to Boomers. Their dedication to improving their relationships within the context of couples therapy serves as a beacon of hope. All things said and done, parenting is a profound journey, shaped not only by individual choices but also by generational dynamics and societal influences.
Steph's clinical observations shed light on the complexities and nuances of Gen X parenting. These insights offer valuable opportunities for self-reflection and growth, encouraging Gen X parents to consider their own attachment history and emotional accessibility in their journey of parenthood. The comments from Gen Xers further emphasize the challenges and triumphs of this generation in their quest to provide the best possible upbringing for their children. As Gen X parents navigate the intricate terrain of parenting, they demonstrate resilience and a commitment to building stronger family bonds, ensuring a brighter future for the generations to come.