Archive: February 2018

Boyfriend, Girfriend??!!

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! 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!

Addiction of the Youth!

Recently I heard someone saying that though we have progressed so much, we bow our head even today like slaves-slaves to electronics. And that person was talking about ‘texting’ forever, heads down, eyes staring into the screen as fingers dance in tune!!

All kinds of screens have become the ‘in’ thing now, or as Gen Y kids would say ‘fad’!  All Apple products, all kinds of Tablets, smart phones, Kindle, all have the same effect on kids all over the world. I know that as the generation is growing and the technology is progressing, people from our generation have a need to understand and support the new generation. But easier said than done!

It becomes quite irritating at times, when kids are forever stuck to these screens. Especially when these screens join us at the dining table too, making weird noises of the arrival of SMS! I’m surprised how the fingers of kids have not gone numb by now by the frequency with which they are used to type messages back and forth!

I always wonder what is it that has pulled the kids away from the playgrounds, from the theatres or the books. I wonder when the playgrounds gave way to the laptops, the theatres to the tablets and the books to the Kindles! I believed that getting the reason out of the horse’s mouth would be the best thing and so I talked to some kids of friends and family.

Apeksha, 14 yrs old girl says “We prefer screen time because I think that a lot of the things that we do outside or at a friend’s house, we can now do on iPads, and cell phones, and main source of entertainment is now TV. The TV shows that are on TV now, are so much more real and relatable that, I think, that we kids feel that we don’t need to go outside and experience it we just want to watch it on the screen.”

I’m sure a lot of parents would have encountered this problem in the summer that passed us by-TV! Yes, TV becomes an integral part of vacation, wherever they are, be it home or holidaying in a hotel! They watch and watch and watch; repeats after repeat, making the parents scream in their heads but admonish the teenagers gently! I remember those days when India had just got TVs and the timings of telecast were fixed and so we had time to do other things too. All we had is one channel unlike the numerous ones that are available to our kids now, which obviously allows them to watch more. I don’t actually want to think what we would have done as kids if we had so many channels too. Maybe we too would have…

When I talked to another kid, Ria, 12 years old, she said

I think that kids/teens of today prefer screen time over playing outside because social networking sites such as Facebook, Google+. Twitter, Gmail.. (the list goes on and on.) allows us to talk to friends at any time, on the other hand, if someone was to play outside, your choice of playmates/friends would be limited. Also, social networking makes it easier to communicate and share thoughts and ideas. Websites like these allow kids/teens to say what’s on their mind without over thinking about what others will think of you (it gives them a form of confidence) because you are “talking” to a screen not a person.”

Well, well, kids do surprise me a lot these days. It might seem like a joke but, I have seen kids’ texting to each other in the same house too with just a wall to separate their bedrooms. I, as a parent, fail to understand how communication skills are used these days on these social networking sites and why kids need screens to boost their confidence levels. Human contact and human voices has become a rarity, at least for the majority of kids, or so say a lot of parents.

My daughter said, “Most of our teachers ask us to do our homework online and so we need laptops. No homework done means no grades. We are to type out our assignments and make PowerPoint for projects, how else do we do that if not on the computers? So, laptops and computers are a must for us.”

Now, there goes another teenager at my house, telling me that the laptop screen is a must to get grades. Now, do I have a say in that, if grades are important for us too. My memory of note books for homework, and pens and pencils for writing are slowly slipping out of my system, giving way to my kid’s way of writing and communicating! However much we as parents think of taking away all these ‘screens’ from the kids, it is not possible. It is like sending the kids into the stone-age when it is the requirement of the society to adapt to the changing technology.

We all know from experience how kids want the very thing that we don’t want them to have.Instead of trying to scream at them , snatch their iPhones or pull our own hair with helplessness, it is essential that we learn the importance of these electronics and then explain it to the kids the limitation of their usage.Maybe we need to have an eye on them while they use these electronics usefully, and set a schedule to use these ‘texting’ devices and ‘gaming’ equipment.And last but not the least, tell them the importance of meeting friends in person, taking part in sports or other extra curricular activities outside their bedrooms!!

Well, come to think of it,can we blame the kids enough if we are reading this on a blog or e-magazine, on the laptop or phones, and not in a physical book? What say guys?! 🙂