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Teen trouble

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Teenage is tough, no denying that. What with physical and hormonal changes keeping mind and emotions in a tumble and demands to excel in academics and being well-behaved. If you are two and throw a tantrum, it’s a done deal but if you do it at 14 you’re either a bad child or a badly brought-up one. If you’re a mom in your 40s, you have your own hormones to deal with, too.

Teenagers challenge you emotionally. With their moods on a swing, parents hit the extremes of their patience. One moment you are the best of mommies, the other you are too demanding if you expect a neat room at least at weekend!

Arguments fly thick and fast. One needs to keep pinching oneself constantly not to fall into the trap of words and drive the end-result without creating harsh memories. A tough call, indeed. And parenting gets only more difficult with passing years with children being well aware of their rights and as informed as you, if not more. If I were to tell my kid to sleep early, she would quickly point to all the scientific articles on how teenagers are wired differently and sleep late because of that, and not because they choose to.

Being a parent today, you are constantly torn between wanting to be an understanding friend and a well-meaning parent. If you haven’t had a democratic upbringing, you obviously can’t dig into your personal experiences. Plus, the demands of each generation are different. Despite the daily conflicts you try your best hoping you are striking a balance between what you think is right and what your teenager is willing to accept.

What adds to and complicates the deal are the well-meaning tips and feedback from friends and relatives. Now they are often disconnected from the present generation and far removed both in time and your socio-economic scene. Yet they continue to tell you how to raise your children.

It leads to hard feelings for all. The ones who give advice feel their concerns are ignored, the child who suddenly discovers how people think, and you who put up with it with a smile.

divyakrishnan@gmail.com

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2020 1:20:01 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/teen-trouble/article22919396.ece

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