By Ritu Garg
Contributing Author for Spark Igniting Minds
Everyone seems to have an opinion on the behavior of teens and their tantrums. And the flavor is often critical and regretful. Their labile moods, their unkempt manes, their weird wardrobes, their cultish obsessions with some symbols and charms, and their constantly rebellious attitude sends unsuspecting parents into a tizzy and they generally start questioning the value system and emotional intelligence of the generation which is very rightly called millennial.
The social get-togethers where parents meet fellow parents or other adults who are directly or tangentially involved with teenagers tend to reverberate with this common catchphrase Aaj Kal Ke Bachhe!!!
Well, only perverts would disagree that teenage years are indeed very tough years for kids themselves as well as for parents and guardians. But the key lies in understanding that teenagers themselves don’t realize the changes that are going on within their bodies. Their bodies are flushing with hormones making them moody, even a bit sadistic sometimes, judgemental and unreasonable. Their physical appearance also is raw and yet to undergo grooming of a young man or a young woman.
Ironically, this is also the time when they start becoming conscious of their looks and sexuality, and start seeking social acceptance, making a place in peer groups, develop infatuations and get exposed to information beyond their ability to process in a balanced way. At this time, the process of individuation also begins, where children start feeling very wise and capable of themselves. They tend to resist adult presence physically and mentally in their lives. Their interactions become need-based and many a time they find adult presence unsolicited and jutting out.
Adults are very wary of the timings and should know when to be on the left, right and center of their teenager’s space and when to completely back off and do a disappearing act. This really helps the relationship.
Research has brought out the fact that a certain part of the brain in teenagers becomes very sensitive, making them a bit selfish and unreasonable by societal and familial standards.
They probably don’t even seek to correct their so-called unreasonable behavior as they are yet to learn the finesse of the so-called societal good behavior. But adults do and it is a natural corollary that if correction is required and is possible anywhere, it is in the behavior and attitude of adults who are interacting with them at that point in time. It will be worth their while if adults don’t indulge in unleashing a spiel full of nuggets of wisdom which are extremely patronizing in nature and condescending in attitude.
The most undesirable thing an adult can do to a teenager is to show to him/her how messy his behavior is and how he needs serious rehabilitation.
Adults must use their discretion in putting forward their experiences in front of their kids. Generally, we tend to glorify our generation ad-nauseum starting from how we paid respect of obsequious levels to our respective adults, never raised a voice or argued with them, never wasted time and resources and so on.
One such attempt of mine was met with a rebuttal of this type."Why on earth you had to be so demure and self-effacing? You were no better than a loved pet or a tethered goat. Well taken care of. Voicing an opinion is not disrespect. It is confidence and self –respect. Charity and tyranny both begin at home, Ma.”
And then I nearly said, ‘Uff, Aaj Kal Ke Bachhe!’
Yes, Aaj Kal Ke Bachhe, today’s children are very capable. They are creating robots, are chess champions, math wizards, spelling bee champions, STEM wizards, and junior journalists. They are authors, poets, and bravery awards winners.
They are Malala, Eric Feinman of Botangle.com, Jaden Smith, and Flynn McGarry. They are Mark Zuckerberg, Deepika Pallikal, Saina Nehwal, and Pankaj Advani to name a few.
Yes, let us take pride in our Aaj Kal Ke Bachhe. They are sharp, hardworking and prodigious. They are dynamic and are set to become true global citizens supported by the technological revolution. They are free from the shackles of caste, color, creed, breed and gender biases. They are indeed true EARTHLINGS set to bring Change.
Let us celebrate them and take pride in GEN NEXT.
About Ritu Garg
Ritu Garg, a wordsmith. She collects words like a philatelist would collect stamps or a numismatic would collect coins. Words give her power, She shares a relationship with them.
Words make her thoughts tactile, tangible and transferrable.
She is a management graduate in finance. She has a strong passion for languages, history, social institutions, food, fashion, parenting and health and now following writing and translation as her profession.