Handling Teens

March 15, 2014

Recently a teen of Jumeirah Lake Tower (JLT) area jumped from a high rise building and killed herself. The whole Dubai plunged into shock and worry. A similar incident had occurred some weeks back in the same area.

It is said that the current generation belongs to the generation “Zeeeeeeeeeee”

We parents belong to the generation of baby boomers, those born during the 60-70's. The generation that followed, born between 70- 80's, are called generation “X” and this trend continues. 

It is said that the information available increases by 4 times and the knowledge increases twice every generation. Perhaps that's where the phrase "a child born today is smarter than yesterday's" comes from. So if you consider that, the knowledge gap between you and your teens is humungous. It is true. How many times have you asked your children to fix a problem which you were unable to fix on your PC or TV? You may argue that you have seen more rains than the teens of today but that's only because your year of birth is much before theirs. They are definitely smarter and more knowledgeable than you. That is why you can see a change in recruitment trend; they go with young blood rather than the old horses
One example of this is we, as parents, choose to call each other on the phone and talk. This is our mode of communication. The teens do not; they text!  The human race is evolving with history, we have to accept that. Whenever we call someone we greet them and ask how they are, teens just ask where you are.
Never tell your children that during our young age we did this, we didn’t have that, we lived in a small town or village, we did not watch TV, we didn’t have mobiles , the  price of rice was Rs5/-, our parents used to beat us, we had only two short pants and one pair of slippers etc...Our list of the past may be endless, but who brought your children to a better place, with better comfort and luxury, better nutrition, and better materials, clothes in today's present? YOU...You gave them a better life because you wanted them to have comforts and prosperity. You wanted to give them what you were deprived of or could not afford. Now do not compare to your difficult times to their good times… 
The statistics are scary, 7 out 10 teens have thought of ending their life due to pressure from parents, relatives, neighbours, teachers, peers and others. Many have done it. Some are saved and many have left their dear ones. Just this month in February in Dubai alone two teenagers killed themselves because of issues that could have been fixed!  Why do you think your teens prefer to be with their friends? Because they feel it's their friends who stand up for them and understand them and not the parents or relatives. They share a very high level of trust and confidence in their friends as all of them think on the same wavelength. How many of you parents who are doing very well as businessmen, mangers, executives, professionals have scored 95+% marks? A very few can be counted. Then why do you expect your teens to score such high marks?  If you can be successful, they too can with the present level of knowledge and skills they get. You only need to guide them when it comes to deciding what they want to do and support them. Today I was shocked to see a lady driving her car on the busy Abu Dhabi Hamdan Street with one hand on the steering wheel and with the other hand holding a question paper asking her son questions while on his way to school. This is the kind of pressure we exert on our children.
You cannot stop them from getting the information, the knowledge they wish to get. You may stop them from watching pornography at home by blocking the sites on your PC/TV etc. But outside in the school every boy has some kind of porn clipping on their smart phones. How you will stop them from watching the clips when they are in the school? They have access to the information super highway called the Internet as most of them carry smart phones.
You may get shocked to see your teen daughter or son taking pictures with boys or girls hugging them or falling one over the other and posting them on social websites like Facebook or Twitter, WhatsApp! It is a shock to you as you were brought up in a village or a small town where boys used to walk on one side of the street and girls on the other side. Even talking to each other was considered a sin in those days. Times have changed, the present world do not see the gender difference. You make a big hue and cry about gender equality. But at home you want to practice a different preaching, one that was taught to you decades ago.
You have to bring them up with the knowledge of God and the Word of God along with their academic studies. Don’t consider religious activities as just an obligation get the various sacraments, make it a necessity to know the meaning of the preaching which Jesus has given, this will provide solutions to all problems in life. No more laws and policing would be required if everyone followed the “Ten Commandments”. All the required laws were given to us thousands of years ago, the only thing is we do not understand them and follow them. That is why there is so much unhappiness, agony and lack of peace in this world. Teach them the same importance and encourage them to acquire the knowledge of the Bible just as you encourage them in the academic and athletic fields. How should you do that? Practice it at home as well as in the church. This will make their spiritual foundations strong. One with a good spiritual foundation will never go out of the right path.
You want to know your children’s friends, call them home and talk to them. Understand them. Encourage them. Then you can win the hearts of your teens. Then you can know what exactly your teen is up to, what she does when she goes out with friends. You cannot just say prevent your teens from going with their friends .You cannot know what they are up to at the last moment. You need to build the relationship up right from the beginning. If your children’s friends want to come to your home and spend time during your absence that means they are not the right friends! Make them feel comfortable when you are at home, give them liberty, trust them. Most importantly trust the Lord and he will take care of your children.
Teenage is an age of inquisitiveness! It is an age of daring and courage where they want take great risks. They want to know and experience new things in life. As they undergo a rapid natural change in mental and physical states. Statistics shows many teenagers want to have the experience of sex as they read and see a lot on the information on Internet and books. Curiosity is a great compeller for the teens. Some may be forced by their friends to indulge into such acts.
But dear teens, you may be physically grown, but mentally you are not, so it is not wise to indulge in something you fully cannot grasp. For every act there is proper time, so hang on. You will also get everything in this life. Here I have a question for the teenagers, when will you give the best gift to your closest friend? On a special day or on an auspicious day. So save your sanctity for that special day and for that special person. This day is none other than the day you get the 5th sacrament, holy matrimony! It is a day heaven and earth will bless you and you are fully matured mentally as well as physically to experience the secret of love. So hold on till the time comes.
So far my advice was mostly for the parents; however do not forget your parents had a major role in giving you a life and bringing you up to this level. They have sacrificed a lot, toiled day and night to keep you going. Also you should remember that, as you expect them to get tuned into your wavelengths, sometimes you too have to tune in to their wavelengths as they are getting old and it is hard for them to change their acts and thoughts.
God bless all of you teens, may He grant you wisdom and prosperity. Conquer the knowledge of this universe. Enjoy the life to its fullest, but with responsibility.



By Donald Lewis
Donald Lewis is a chemical engineer with 27 years of experience in oil and gas/petrochemical field. He believes in learning new things everyday from anyone. He hails from Katapady in Udupi district.
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Comment on this article

  • anita britto, mangalore /Auckland

    Mon, Mar 24 2014

    Very well-written article - am sure every parent will learn something constructive from this.Thanks & hope to read more from you ,Donald.

  • Simon Rodrigues, Shirva,Udupi

    Mon, Mar 24 2014

    SUPERB article!super-duper.An inspiring and aye opener.Keep writing,God bless you.

  • Godwin Dsouza, Katapadi/Kuwait

    Sun, Mar 23 2014

    Very good Article. Good Advice. Keep writing...Dony

  • RONALD D'CUNHA, Agrar,Bantwal D.K.

    Thu, Mar 20 2014

    Very good article, Keep it up dear
    Donald and God Bless you

  • Agnel D'Silva, Katapadi / Dubai

    Thu, Mar 20 2014

    Nice article Dony, never knew that you are so good writer. keep it up.

  • Roland Pinto, Mangalore/Jubail

    Thu, Mar 20 2014

    Well written article with real life examples. Sure I can take few tips from this article. Keep writing...

  • Susan Kamath, Udupi/Bangalore

    Tue, Mar 18 2014

    Great thinking Donny! Keep writing and all the best!

  • Alexander P Menezes, karkala/Dubai

    Tue, Mar 18 2014

    A very inspiring article for the young minds as well as to their parents. It is one of the most difficult times of their lives for Parents when their Teenage kids are growing up to become young adults. We do blame the technology most of the times for their behavior, but comparing today’s teenagers to our times is not fair. For today’s Teenagers, Technology could earn them big laurels or ruin them provided they use the technology for the right cause. The hunger we see among today’s teenagers to know more and more about information which is available with a tip of their fingers, was not available to us when we were teenagers. We used to sit in the Library for hours and days to gather information and prepare ourselves for the future challenges, but that is not the case today.

    Spiritual habits come as a practice. Forcing them to behave spiritually or trying to instill spiritual values forcefully yield only questions and revolt from Today’s teenagers. It is important for the parents to spend as much time as possible with their children, keep abreast with them through technology, open for dialogues with them and be a friend to them. It is important to feel free to discuss anything under the sky with them without any hesitation and reservation. This is a time where we need to constantly engage ourselves with our younger generations, find positives in whatever they do and appreciate them.

    Thank you Dony for a lovely Article and observations.

  • Steevan Soares, Katapadi/Abudhabi

    Tue, Mar 18 2014

    An eye opening article, keep writing.

  • Mohammad Suhel, Katapadi/Udupi

    Tue, Mar 18 2014

    Good Article Donna Anna....

  • Suleman Beary, Udupi

    Mon, Mar 17 2014

    Well articulated.
    I would rather read the following : "Teach them the same importance and encourage them to acquire the knowledge of the religious scriptures just as you encourage them in the academic and athletic fields."

  • Blanch Dalmaida, Katapady /Mangalore

    Mon, Mar 17 2014

    Very good article Dony.

  • Carol Furtado, (Brahmagiri)Udupi/Bahrain

    Mon, Mar 17 2014

    Nice article Dony!Indeed very informative and enlightening article for every parent. Regards from,Jossie Carol &Janice.

  • Engelbert Gonsalves, Katapadi

    Mon, Mar 17 2014

    Yes, I agree to your keen observations and suggestions. You truly have an amazing way of putting across your ideas and thoughts so boldly. Yes knowledge of God and the Word of God definitely equips us to stand firm to face any storms in Life.

  • Alex Sequeira, Manipal

    Mon, Mar 17 2014

    Well written article with strong empathy for youth. Today's youth are better equipped than us to utilise the tools available. We need to support them! Our only positive contribution can come in nurturing spiritual growth. Here also, we must let them decide how deep they want to dive spiritually.

  • Charles D'Mello, Pangala

    Sun, Mar 16 2014

    Good one Dony keep writing.

  • Narendra Shetty, Katapadi/Dammam

    Sun, Mar 16 2014

    Dony, a very well written article with lots of message and advice to both parents and teens. You have developed a very good skill of analyzing a problem and coming up with a proper solution, I am amused. keep it up and looking forward for many more.

  • Nelly/Stany Crasto, Katapady,Mumbai

    Sun, Mar 16 2014

    Excellent article Dony. Well done.

  • Ronnie Monteiro, Katpady,Doha,Qatar

    Sun, Mar 16 2014

    Very well said Dony.An eye opening article for the parents of teenagers.Keep writing.Enjoyed it.

  • Dayanand Bangera, Katapady / Abu Dhabi

    Sun, Mar 16 2014

    Good one Dony...keep writting....you covered very good subject.

  • Patrick L. Lewis , Thonse-Kallianpur/Dubai

    Sun, Mar 16 2014

    Dear Doney

    Very good article. Keep writing.

  • Reeva Pinto, Bahrain

    Sun, Mar 16 2014

    Well said, Donald.

  • Rainbow, K8

    Sun, Mar 16 2014

    To get good results in Examinations, dear parents, please switch off or disconnect the television for at least three months prior to the final examinations. This should be done every year, irrespective of in which grade your child is studying. This will really help to get good marks instead pressuring them whole year. Just try it.... Many have lost their career due to excessive television addict during their Highschool/Preuniversity days.

  • John DSouza, Mangalore

    Sun, Mar 16 2014

    We can Handle our Teens in a better way, if we follow the life models of we teens
    Our wrong choices, foolish decisions, false prides, disguising acts of hidden facts, selfish motives, unwanted competitions with unrelated comparisons bring us misery and lead to confusions.
    With the expectation to pluck apples from Chico trees, we engage our teens in impossible missions with unnecessary pressures, which force and encourage them to take extreme steps in life.
    Our attraction towards the fast food, move on wheels, reach by clicks & touch screens, short cut to mint fast money and enjoy fast life pull us like insects towards the fire.
    Due to fashions and styles we carry donkey on shoulders and bullock carts on wheels.
    Being drawn in deep oceans and flown in high sky of information, we have become almost blind, deaf and dumb, which make us to lose tracks of our anticipated destinations.
    We forget the unchangeable barter system where parent's unconditional love and unlimited sacrifices can be compensated only through love, respect and success in life.
    Our pets have become more near and dear to us than our priceless parents with countless sacrifices.
    How can we Handle our Teens with powerful energy, to make super actors and great leaders of tomorrow and lights of future generations?
    We need a serious thought and strong action to rectify errors, which lead our teens to wrong paths of evil consequences.

  • ad, mangloor

    Sun, Mar 16 2014

    Treat the teens as anybody with no exception. Tell them what is right and what is wrong. Teens today are terribly confused.

  • Rita, Germany

    Sun, Mar 16 2014

    your article is enlightening.But I would tell we too were not better than the present.Our time we too wanted the Company of our same Generation .with elder Generation like our parents, we felt" we know better,"and could not discuss our Problem like friends and intern things with them.And it is same with present one also.Inviting their friends home o.k.more you cant mix with them.suppose your child feels sad you can ask and handle them gently,not rough.because they are more sensitive than ours.have more pressure and fear to be a looser and take a horrible step.Present Generation take many times from TV.or Werbung as an example for their daily Dresses or living (Drinks or fashions)as tv stars.we that time had no such Problems.Many times parents presence is not there,since many works in foreign.Nearness works wonders and they feel secure.That is also important.

  • Sofia, Doha

    Sat, Mar 15 2014

    Glad to read this article. Very well written. Every parent must read this.

  • William Rodrigues, Milagres, Mangalore

    Sat, Mar 15 2014

    Very enlightening article. It is rightly said...every parent want their child to be "FIRST" in everything. Then who will be second is the question? Another doubt I have is whether the parents themselves were scoring that high. There is a ready made answer to this too...present day there is lot of competition. Parents please remember ...that from Chickoo trees you will get only chickoos not apples.Means to say the child can only grasp his/her capacity. Children will study, but with proper guidelines. At the young age, they may show some interest, but as the age increases and when parents can not have control over them, then the trouble starts. Parents use a different weapon - indulge in irritating by comparing with others. Children take this as negative and when it goes to a high pitch things go wrong to a irreparable stage.
    Congratulations, Sir Lewis. Today's generation requires such articles and these topics should be made as a part of the curriculum in schools as well as in colleges.

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