Changing intergenerational relationships and their implications on family structure and functioning in Africa
Lucy, W. M.
Samuel, M. M.
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Intergenerational relationships have been changing the world over, with greater implications on the family structure, health and stability. The key changes in Africa are often associated with colonial intrusion and the attendant infiltration of Western cultures. The process has in recent times been further exacerbated by the process of globalization. In the past, relationships between generations were stipulated in culture and preserved by norms, folklore and even taboos. These relationships were based on mutual respect, cooperation, obedience and benefit across generations. The honor, respect and reverence of the old by the young were supposed to be passed down the generations. With modern changes, these values have changed and in some cases, are completely eroded and replaced with modern ideals often leading to dysfunctioning of the family. Some of the dysfunctions include lack of care for older persons within the family, child delinquency, lack of internal regulation of the family, lack of external mitigation in times of dispute, resulting to frequent breakdown of the family. As a result, family relationships and roles are changing and so are the intergenerational relationships. The patterns of change also create implications warranting interventions beyond the capacity of the family