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Doctors Sylvia and Milton Gearing have been serving the Dallas-Fort Worth area since 1985 with compassion and professionalism.

The Gearings implement the latest in psychological research to stay at the cutting edge of their field and bring the most effective and life changing techniques to their clients.

Their methods and strategies have been sharpened over the years, and are now built upon Gearing Up’s Three Gears of Change.

Generations at Thanksgiving - Nov 18, 2006

Generations at Thanksgiving

November 18, 2006

Dr. Sylvia Gearing, CBS 11 News

With the Thanksgiving holiday just around the corner, many North Texans are preparing for the generations to gather once again. While the holidays can be a time of family fun, conflict between the generations can also become a challenge. Here to tell us more is CBS Contributing Psychologist, Dr. Sylvia Gearing.

Q: Why can holidays be such a difficult time for families?

Dr. Sylvia: Our problem with the holidays lies in the unrealistic expectations we bring to them. Drawing upon memories of yesterday, we may want to either recapture or invent a blissful, harmonious family experience at Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, it is often a matter of hoping for the best and preparing for the worst.

Q: So with the various generations sharing the holidays, is there usually more tension? Is the tension present at holidays at least partially caused by the differences between the various generations?

Dr. Sylvia: Oftentimes, there is an outbreak of tension that is caused by the marked differences between the generations. When you have an eighty year old grandparent with a nineteen year old college sophomore, you may encounter some significant differences in the way they see the world. Every generation is deeply affected by the time in which they grew up. For example, the Great Depression had a different effect on our parents than the women's movement had on us or the technological revolution had on our teenagers. Each generation is shaped by the social events and attitudes of the times.

Q: What are the distinct traits of each generation?

Dr. Sylvia:

Traditionalists

(1925-1945)

  • Practical
  • Patient, Loyal
  • Hardworking
  • Respectful of Authority
  • Rule Followers

Baby Boomers

(1946-1960)

  • Optimistic
  • Teamwork & Cooperation
  • Ambitious
  • Workaholic

Generation X

(1961-1980)

  • Skeptical
  • Self-Reliant
  • Risk-Taking
  • Balances Work
  • Personal Life

Millenials

(1981 to present)

  • Hopeful
  • Meaningful Work
  • Diversity and Change Valued
  • Technology Savvy

Q: So how do these characteristics create conflict at the holidays?

Dr. Sylvia: Too much time together can sometimes be a tough experience! When the generations are thrown together, these values and characteristics can often clash. For example, if you were born during the Great Depression, you learned about frugality, self sacrifice and hard work. You will have a more difficult time understanding the Generation Xer's skepticism toward authority or the technologically centered world view of the Millennials. When all of these people are under one roof, their radically different life styles can breed conflict.

Q: What advice can you offer our viewers in getting along with their relatives despite these differences?

Dr. Sylvia:

Demonstrate Interest: The differences between people can be softened by communicating an interest in their lives. Interview your relative about his experiences. Put yourself in the shoes of your grandmother and learn about life from her perspective.

Reflect Respect: People love to feel recognized and appreciated. Comment on the unique experiences they have had and the contributions they have made. Focus on the similarities your generation had with theirs.

Focus on Values: Emphasize the core values of their generation. For example, when you talk to your grandmother who was born in 1929, focus on her values such as courage, patience and patriotism. With the boomers, focus on their work ethic and their courage in surviving the sixties!