FRESH PERSPECTIVE

There are many issues in which it can be difficult for young people to share their values; issues such as social justice, race relationships and mental wellbeing, because parents and grandparents have different world views.

Generations think and see the world in different ways because we were all brought up in different times. Unique, dramatic life events have occurred, affecting each generation in its own way.

This can cause many barriers between whanau members as it can be difficult for young people to express themselves as they may not feel safe to do so in an environment where they feel their views will not be understood.

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Maggie, 24, shared an experience she had growing up with her mother and the troubles she faced when trying to have open conversations. But her mother spoke of her childhood and the life events she faced, which helped Maggie understand where her mother got her views from.

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This made it easier for Maggie to talk to her mother. Before this, she would notice the change in body language, the way her mother interacted and reacted and felt that her ideas weren't being valued.

Through that initial conversation, it allowed Maggie to feel safe to express herself.

This generational gap is a two-way street and it can be difficult to initiate those kinds of conversations.

If older generations can share their upbringing and life events with young people, they can establish a better understanding of their point of view.

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Creating a safe space where all conversations are valued, even if there's a conflict between views, lets the young people know that it's okay to feel and see things differently. This can create better relationships.

I was a young person who fell through the gaps and I was not confident enough to sit down with my family and talk about my future, my interests or my views.

Luckily for me, I had services and youth workers who supported me, asked the tough questions and told me that I was in a safe place to express my views and be myself.

Youth workers enabled me to start bridging the gaps by improving my relationships and communication and eventually got me into stable employment.

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If young people don't feel well supported, they too may fall through these gaps. But, lucky for you, you can find wrap-around services in Whangārei such as the Whangārei Youth Space. I know our team would love to support you and the young people in our community.

• Anahera Pickering is community outreach coordinator at Whangārei Youth Space. She can be contacted at Anahera@youthspace.co.nz .