Sometimes, when someone says or writes something, the writer in me wakes up with a start from a deep slumber of procrastination of regular blogging! And since it is Valentine’s day, I thought it would be appropriate to raise this topic today or forever remain silent!
I have been in the US, a little less than half my life, but one thing that I still can’t digest is the concept of ‘boyfriend’ and ‘girlfriend’, and that too of teenagers. I always thought whatever be the country, whatever be the culture, parents are all the same around the world, of the same brethren. But I have been proven wrong in this country.
After so many years of staying in this country, it is still a culture shock for me that parents here allow their kids to have girlfriends and boyfriends, who are not friends as the words indicate, but are dating each other. I am curious to know as to why the parents here are not scared to let their little kids get into the harsh real world of love, sex and broken hearts at such a young age.
When I read a mom’s post on Facebook that she was helping her kid pick out valentine gifts for her/his boyfriend/ girlfriend, my mind started thinking in several different ways. Why are parents in the US supportive of teenage dating concept? Why do Indian parents feel scared and protective of their teenage kids unlike parents here? And, I am sure, all teenager across the world face the same problems and challenges. The challenges may be different according to the gender, but challenges are there for sure!
I remember when I was teenager, my parents were ok with my classmates, boys, coming home for exchanging notes or for planning events. But I am sure, if I had given the slightest hint that I had a boyfriend, or I like someone, things would have been very different and bad too! And of course, since we had that fear of parents and the society too, we did not even think of dating or romancing at such a young age. It is not that falling in love is not prevalent in India, it is just that it is well understood that love leads to marriage and so everyone puts it behind them until they are of marriageable age. Teenage love stories are a rarity, at least the percentage is very low! Of course, there are exceptions to everything everywhere and I am not denying that.
In India, even after all the modernizations and the vast growth in culture and conditions, it is still a taboo to have multiple partners in anyone’s span of life and hence casual sex is not encouraged at all. So, it is but natural that if a boy or girl confess love, it is understood that marriage is coming up. If that doesn’t happen, then it is called betrayal and the society looks down at their family. It might seem weird to people who are not from India, but then, we Indians feel that it is the sanctity of relationships that is carrying our culture forward.
Indians who are part of the US now since decades might have changed their norms and moves to gel with people here. Well, I don’t blame them for that, the English have left us a saying for every situation and here I would say “In Rome, do as the Romans do”. Is that a good thing or a bad thing; I don’t want to get into that, that’s a personal choice. But for me, it has got nothing to do with culture, religion or country. It has only got to do with the simple fact that it is not necessary for teenagers to go through these unwanted emotions, these relationships of dating at such a young age. Why would I as a parent want my daughter or son to get or make someone pregnant or get diseases? Why would I want my kid to go through heart breaks to get a better person at any stage of their life? Trail and error is good inside the doors of scientific labs, not at hormonal doorways. Surely not if it effects the mind, heart and soul of a teenage girl or boy.
I am not saying that love is not good, but in teenage the dating boyfriends and girlfriends are not really in love… it is just infatuation which leads to physical attraction and then physical intimacy.
Is that right or wrong? Definitely not right if it doesn’t lead to a commitment which is impossible when in high school. So, why can’t we as parents, curb it when the bud is young and not allow our kids to have physical relationships? Well, how do we stop that? Stop the very concept of dating until they have reached the prime age of marriage. I agree that there may be high school sweethearts who wait till they grow up and eventually get married. That’s a different thing altogether, and then, these kinds of people have the patience to endure the wait and hence achieve their love.
My life has a love story too. I met him when I was about to join Masters and he was doing his, an age where you truly know what you want. We courted and then, eventually after five years we got married when we had a job too. Now, that is maturity enough where we had the perseverance to wait and achieve.
But for the teenagers, curiosities must be curbed, and hormones must be tamed! It might sound like old school, but trust me, it will do only good. Nothing can go any wrong than it is right now.
Hope this Valentine’s day, makes a girl or a boy cherish the loving and affectionate feelings of the heart and wait for that special person to become their Soul mate when they grow old enough!!!
Happy Valentine’s Day!