Gen I mom's dilemma--teeny problem
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3rd Apr 2012, 12:20 AM #1
Gen I mom's dilemma--teeny problem
Gen I mom's dilemma
Surging hormones lead to shouting matches, outbursts, rude behaviour and unreasonable demands. While teenagers today come up with a new demand every day, Gen I mothers make it a point to handle these idiosyncrasies of their kids, and also manage to stay friends with them.
"I don't think raising a teenager was ever as difficult as it is today. I bought my 16-year-old son an i-Phone recently," says Rupali Verma, an educational advisor, adding, "He's been demanding branded clothes, shoes, and even branded undies for the past few years, and I've got him all that he asks for."
Mothers don't have much of a choice because if they don't listen to what their teenage kids (and sometimes even those who are in their pre-teens) want, it only widens the parent-child divide, and brings a strain in the relationship.
But mothers have also become quite intelligent in dealing with their kids today. They know that they'll have to give their kids whatever they demand for, but most of them also know how to get things done in return. "I told my daughter that she will have to work hard to get what she wants. I give in to her demands for a new wardrobe every few weeks, hair rebonding, a day out with friends, and a lot of other things, but in return, I make her study hard and she gets very good marks in school. She's pursuing engineering today, and is quite fashionable too. Both of us don't mind this arrangement at all," says Alka Verma, a homemaker.
A safe bet
Most parents are also worried that their kids will lie to them, make up stories to get their way, and get into some kind of trouble. So, they prefer keeping them closer home, and encourage them to share things with them, and become their confidante. "Whenever my daughter demands a night out at her friend's place, I volunteer to host it at our residence. So, I organise whatever she wants, call her friends home, and we give them privacy. She enjoys that, while we are sure of her safety," says Pooja Sindhi.
However, this looks very simple when compared to a situation where a son wants to get his girlfriend home. Homemaker Savita Sajnani recalls, "It was a very difficult situation. My 17-year-old son wanted to bring his girlfriend home to spend time with her. If I had refused, or yelled, 'Why the hell do you have one in the first place', he'd have stopped sharing his secrets with me, or worse, taken his girlfriend somewhere else. To avoid that, I let him bring her home, and called up the girl's parents and told them that she's here and she's fine."
The key to a healthy parent-teenager relationship, most parents would agree, is to not encroach upon the kids' personal space. "I give my 15-year-old daughter enough space. I don't force her to share all the secrets, nor do I insist on being on her friends list on social networking websites, or even keep a tab on her daily activities. The trick is 'not to say no'. I've not refused her a Blackberry, an i-Pod, or a movie with friends. In return, she just has to follow certain things - a limited phone recharge, phone not to be taken to school, she needs to be home by 6pm, and if she wants to drink, she can do that when in family get-togethers, so that we are around," explains Anjana Dhawan, a former professor.
These mothers seem to have a lot on their plates. They have to reach a middle path in such situations, by fitting into their kids' world while keeping their bond intact.