Generational biases may not always be visible or explicit, and to some people may simply seem like harmless thoughts. The reality, unfortunately, is not so simple, and can cause conflicts in families, workplaces, and even communities. However, there is a way forward for mutual respect and peace.
The Pew Research Center found that Gen Z, or those born after 1996, are more likely to embrace diversity compared with older generations. Given that there’s a trend towards inclusivity in younger generations, the future may see more conflict resolution and harmony despite differences.
But how can we address generational biases that already exist? While the road to healing can be long and complex, there are certain steps advocates with access to relevant information and skills can take to mend bridges.
Identify the issues that are causing friction between people
Generational biases can stem from multiple, layered issues. In fact, our article on intersectionality emphasizes that societal issues like gender and sexual discrimination, racial inequality, and even generational bias are interconnected. Because of this complexity, it’s important to clearly identify the root causes of conflict and how they’re connected.
This journey can start by sitting down and encouraging individuals in the community to identify key issues and problems. During this period, provide space for each person to reflect on what could have possibly caused these biases to form. Allow them to identify the problem without fear of repercussions or attack, so that they can be specific and honest about their concerns.
Eliminate internal biases by learning about inclusivity
Before arranging discussions with the whole family, workplace, or community, folks can increase their knowledge and build up their skills. This learning opportunity allows for a more comprehensive perspective on certain issues like generational trauma or multi-generation conflict, as well as the appropriate tools to handle these conflicts.
Communities can also learn gender sensitivity and how to recover from trauma from domestic violence advocates. These and other community resources can provide crisis intervention, legal support, counseling, and can ensure that victims can remain protected from biased and harmful cohabitants or family members.
Discuss and listen to each others’ thoughts and concerns
Once everyone is ready, it’s important to hold a discussion regarding the problem at hand. A study on inclusion revealed that equality and diversity issues need to be properly addressed and discussed in organizations to promote better inclusivity. Informal and interpersonal communication between peers can foster relationships and trust among colleagues of different ages. Meanwhile, official meetings and formal discussions are equally important in promoting the development of a more inclusive workplace culture.
During the discussion, folks can facilitate to make sure that everyone will be given an equal chance to express their concerns. Try using restorative circle methods and affective statements to encourage everyone to listen attentively and to speak honestly.
Create harmony by encouraging personal development
After hearing everyone’s side, we can all begin to foster harmony in the group by encouraging personal development. A study emphasized that generational thinking causes harm because it makes people assume that certain generations have fixed attitudes, values, and behaviors. However, the psychology researchers behind the study stressed that individual changes can happen at any age because everyone has control and influence over their development.
Recognizing that everyone can change for the better, it is important to encourage people to move past their biases and to practice inclusivity. The group can opt to discuss how generational biases impact their daily lives, so that others can be enlightened about their actions and learn how to be better moving forward. On the other hand, it may also be critical to hold educational sessions to encourage people to let go of ingrained prejudices.
Working to connect
Generational biases can affect families, workplaces, and communities. At the end of the day, however, community members both young and old can to make a concentrated effort to improve cross-generational relationships and teach each other about unity and inclusivity.