Communication across Generations: Mediation in the Dialogue between Children and Elderly People



The paper analyses the communication between the generations of old people and children from the perspective of developmental psychology, focusing, in particular, on the psychological mechanisms underlying this dialogue. The author assumes that the need for the meaning of life an old person often faces upon his/her retirement may be fulfilled within the dialogue with the generation of grandchildren. For the elderly, the opportunity to pass their life experience on to grandchildren provides the space for meaning-making. The author argues that both for elderly people and children the process of meaning-making in their interaction is mediated by fairy tales. In this dialogue a fairy tale becomes a mediator of life experience, wisdom and moral values; its metaphorical language helps children understand not only the material world, but also the social one. The author stresses the similarities between the psychological contents of the adolescent and old age crisis and substantiates the necessity of passing on psychological knowledge to the elderly so that the communication between the generations becomes easier.

General Information

Keywords: life experience, meaning of life, fairy tale mediation, education for the elderly

Journal rubric: Developmental Psychology

Article type: scientific article

For citation: Ermolaeva M.V. Communication across Generations: Mediation in the Dialogue between Children and Elderly People. Kul'turno-istoricheskaya psikhologiya = Cultural-Historical Psychology, 2012. Vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 55–59. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Marina V. Ermolaeva, Doctor of Psychology, Professor, Professor of the UNESCO Department “Cultural and historical psychology of childhood”, Moscow State University of Psychology & Education, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



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