When I decided to marry my husband, my mom told me, "Most Hindu-Christian marriages fail". And I pleaded, "Ma it may work for me." I gave her the reference of my newly acquired knowledge of some wisdom words, "Every generation will have to feel for itself that the stove is hot."
This is the generation gap - when you are telling the child not to touch something hot but he will do it anyway until he burns himself and learns his own lesson. Well my Mom was talking of her experience. My marriage worked also because we both accepted this as a challenge. Everywhere we went we got vibrations - its not going to work! We had to make it work. The concepts of religion were far too different back then. Honestly, it did cause concern to me - my children not growing up with a so-called recognized religion.
The generation gap is the constant struggle of the parents to prevent their kids from doing things that their own experiences and wisdom tell them is going to harm their kids. The kids on the other hand try constantly to prove to the parents that they are equipped to take control of their lives. Neither is wrong - they are both right in their own premise. The parents blinded by their love for the kids would rather have their own experiences replace the experiences of their kids. Whereas, the kids are convinced that their decisions are right and are based on current situations that the parents may not necessarily be aware of. Their most common statement is "Ma things are different now"
The most common mistake we parents make is that we do not treat our kids their age - its either they are too young or we measure them at our own level. Once my daughter was on the phone long enough while my husband needed the phone line free. His common complaint was the conversation was senseless. I, in turn asked him what would he suggest a 17 year old to talk on - "current affairs"? My husband immediately apologized. While on apologies, it is a good idea to do so. By feeling sorry for something we did wrong does not make us small. We only grow in their esteem and they in turn learn to apologize when it is required.
It's not necessary that the kids do not understand their parents' love and their concern but they just think that they are in a different era. Till such time we ourselves do not become parents and get to the same pedestal we do not realize. For example, I still remember when my husband's driving skills transcended from reckless to cautious. When I made a comment about it, he said, "Well I am more matured now" On the other hand, if you tell a youngster, " It was close" he would most likely say, "I know what I am doing!"
Generation gaps can be reduced to some extent by making efforts. I must mention here most efforts must come from the parents - they have the wisdom. It becomes easier to adjust if the parents constantly refresh their memories by their own past outrageousness.