One of the heaviest consequences of the pandemic has been the increase in psychological discomfort, which especially affected the younger age groups. Misunderstandings are often generated in the parent-child relationship due to the generation gap and often, therefore, parents are unable to assess the onset of depression in adolescents and what their children’s real needs are.

Why do young people feel misunderstood by their parents?

According to some recent social research, many Italian adolescents prefer constructive dialogue with their peers and are critical of parental figures, complaining of a strong distance from their parents who are often distracted by personal concerns and daily life (about 54% of the sample interviewed of boys and girls). At the same time, more than 1 in 2 adults blame themselves for being distracted and for not being able to fully understand their children’s needs (45% of the sample interviewed).

The generation gap between young people and adults

Social surveys show us a profile of adults (parents) who, beyond a generic self-criticism, continue to judge their children by making continuous comparisons with the past (37%), and attributing a strong importance to school performance (33 %).
On the other hand, a third of teenagers declare that they share their ideas and thoughts mainly with friends: 79% of teenagers prefer a dialogue with their peers. Almost a third, 31%, confesses instead of struggling to share their ideas: the fear is of being misunderstood and judged by others, especially by one’s parents. Just 43% of young people who think they have a problem turn to their parents and this percentage drops to 39% among girls.

Young people and adults: needs and concerns

It is also important to underline that the majority of adolescents (52%) appreciate the attention of the adult world and would like to have more constructive discussions, but about 7 out of 10 adults avoid a point of contact with them.

The vision of the future in comparison between parents and children is interesting. Thinking about their working future, a fifth of teenagers just can’t imagine it, 12% are pessimistic, 16% indifferent and 53% are optimistic. On the other hand, 65% of parents express pessimism about their children’s future employment.

Among the main fears of adults regarding the future of their children, the following stand out: uncertainty about work (70%), violence and bullying (56%), the growth of psychological discomfort (48%). On the other hand, parents worry much less about the difficulties of communication and comparison between young people and adults (30%); even less for the inequalities that grow among children (25%). Therefore, the two generations actually agree on one aspect: adults today do not understand children, and children do not feel fully understood by their parents.