Friday, February 15, 2008

Teenagers

are why I dont have kids.

19 comments:

Kamini said...

Ahh, Shyam, you just threw that out to lure us into a discussion, right? Okay, I'll take the bait. As the mother of a 22 year old (daughter) and 18 year old (son) I think I have some authority to write about this!
Firstly, by the time they become teenagers, you've spent all those cute, cuddly, nice-and-obedient years with them, so however infuriating their behaviour, you cannot hate them!
It's a journey and a learning process for both the parents and the child. For me, there was a lot of anger, tears, foot-stomping, door-banging, eye-rolling,, arguing....but also a lot of laughter and wonder and pride as I watched my children struggle with themselves and their world, and emerge into people with their own views and outlook. And in the process, I was forced to re-examine my own views and outlook and prejudices and assumptions - and forced to realize that some of them were hypocritical and narrow-minded. I have become a better, more tolerant, less judgmental person, because of the way my children have forced me to view the world. It has not been easy. I had to be brutally honest with myself, and had to snap out of the safe cocoon of thoughts and values that I had smugly enveloped myself in.
Of course, there are lines my children know they should never cross - rudeness, disrespect, behaviour that harms them and others, dishonesty.... and it has not always been a smooth process navigating them through all that. But, I REALLY enjoy them so much more than when they were little kids. I relish the talks and arguments I have with them, the bits and pieces of their world that they share with me. Intellectually and emotionally, it is invigorating.
The fireworks have far from died down. They burn me up at times, but they also light up my world. I can truly say they have made me a better person. I hope they will say the same of us!
Teenagers - don't just judge them on a few bad eggs or horror stories.
Kamini

chronicworrier said...

I was a very very very docile teen, ya know??
(That my mom sees me as a deviant and rebellious adult is irrelevant, ain't it?)

Anonymous said...

Kamini: you're JOKING, right? You dont look old enough to have adult children! :)

That said, I like a peaceful life as much as possible. If kids could make the transition from children aged 5 to rational (hopefully) adults aged 20 or so, without going through the pre-teen and teenage years, I would probably have lots of them! :D

I'm not dissing you or your experiences with your kids - or other mothers and their feelings. It's just not something I want to take on, that's all.

Chronicworrer: I was a docile teen too - at least I think so, but my mother might feel differently... I find it difficult to be objective about myself :) So yeah, how your mother sees you IS irrelevant :D

- Shyam

Kamini said...

Shyam,
Thanks for that nice compliment!
You're right - if you want a peaceful life, forget children!! Although there was one thing I could not and would not give up - curling up with a good book for at least a short while every day. I would have gone mad had I not had the ability to do that! I absolutely do not believe that motherhood is some noble or exalted calling - those pious and sanctimonious mommy-types grate on my nerves!
I thought I was a very paavam (goody-goody) teenager but my mother obviously believes differently. The glee in her voice when she tells me that my kids' fights with me are divine retribution for my fights with her, is testament to that!
Kamini.

Anonymous said...

Well said Kamini. I am actually looking forward to when my kiddos pass their teenage years. I think that's when I'll see and learn who they are. I have three more years to worry about what teen-time will bring. Pl post this again so we can have another discussion then, willya. Priya

Orange Fronkey said...

Not all teens are the same.. I know I wasn't a horrible teenager.. compared to lotta the ones out there, my friends and I were veryyyy mild! but of course you'll get parents saying that "oh my child was horrible as a teen" blah blah!!!

I think it depends where you raise your kinds.. the kids abroad seen as "wild" because their little "culture" and ours totally clash.. and look at the kids in Asia, they are not that crazy :P

oh i dunno where I'm going with this.. but wanted to let you know.. not all teens are bad :P lol

mumbaigirl said...

Thank god I don't have to be a teenager ever again. For me it was stressful being one. I guess I have to remember that whenever teenagers annoy me!

rads said...

lol, well, you do realize they aren't teens only for the 10 or so years of their long lives right? :p

Strangely, as Kamini said too, mine are on the brink of it and apart from the 40% of the time when they drive me nuts, the 60% is really really nice! There's so much conversation going on, as in full flowing 2 way conversations.

I'll stop here lest you think am preaching ;)

rads said...

ok. faux pas - The 1st line should read "They ARE teens for..."

WA said...

:) so agree with you Shyam, I've got one up for adoption if you are interested. Having read your post I take it that its unlikely :)

As to the comment on the kids being brought in India being angels and the ones abroad monsters. I give up

ammani said...

Aha, Shyam, you certainly seem to be a on a roll! Okay, my thoughts. I've always wondered why teens in India are so very 'unrebelling'. And this, I noted after seeing some very typical teen-like behaviour here in the UK. All the teens I know of in India right now, rarely look beyond their school books. They are obedient and almost worryingly well-behaved. But then, I suspect, I only see one side to them. And there's a much more colourful dimension that they keep well hidden from family.

I remember my own tumultous teen years and god, am I glad to see the back of them. I hated that I had to confirm and there were endless rows in the household as a result. So perhaps it is wrong to assume that all teens in India are docile and 'unwild'.

If my little one is anything like his mummy, I'm in for one helluva ride in less than a decade.

And Kamini, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your comments. And I second Shyam, you don't at all look like mother of a 22-year old!

meerkat said...

well said. when we were in india, it was never a big deal about being in your teens. here, all sorts of bad behaviour, grumpiness, drinking etc is sympathised with.

you have people who were not well behaved in india as well. but they were regarded with concern rather than as being the norm.

i remember seeing an ad recently where this mother picks up a teenager who is dressed like your average teen doing skateboarding in baggy clothes and long frizzy hair. he never looks at her and she has to repeat herself to get even a grunt from him. i think it was the AA ad. i kept thinking that they would not behave like that with their friends so why cant they make an effort for their parents. the answer is because they can get away with it.

shyam, i am sure if you have kids they will be expected to have better standards of behaviour.

meera

LogicGirl said...

My friend's teen brother is talking about bi-sexuality and experimentation! And she is freaking out. What is that all about?? This generation of teens are a whole lot more exposed to new info and ideas, what with the Internet and all. This presents a whole new set of problems for parents than in the generation past.

Anonymous said...

Kamini: Yep, I prefer mothers (and fathers) who let their actions not their mouths do the talking when it comes to raising their kids.

Merino: Hey, of course I know that not all teenagers are monsters :)

Rads: 10 years is a loooong time... :) But I do know what you mean. I've quite a few cousins whom I loved as kids, lost track of at about 10 years and rediscovered them at 18-19 years of age, when I could have a conversation with them again :D

WA: You're a brave woman :) By the way, I'm not discriminatory - I dont think Indian teens are angels and western ones devils. I'm sure they can all be painful to live with if they so choose! :)

Ammani: Um, I think Indian teenagers are catching up with their western counterparts - esply in cities. I'm certain their home persona is way different from their "avithu vitta kazhudhai" one :)

Also, I think Jikku probably has some of his dad's genes to counter yours :)

Meera: yeah, it does seem like the teenage years are way more tumultous in the West. Everybody expects bad behaviour from them and plenty of them live up to it.

And yet I had a couple of classmates in school who were posterboys (and one postergirl) for teenagers-going-wrong. So... I guess rebellious or grumpy teens from anywhere make me nervous.

Logicgirl: I dont have a problem with bisexuality or homosexuality. Each person is who he or she is. But - I dont have kids,so I suppose my convictions and beliefs will remain untested.

- Shyam

churningthewordmill said...

lol! i loved that!! you write a one-sentence post and get 14 responses to it!fabulous!!
cant deny genuine fear/anxiety/stree of having teenagers at home.. but cooome on, not all of them are that bad,rt?may b if you decide to have kids, they'l turn out to be nice, trouble-free, obedient ones. who knows?
btw, can i blogroll you?
mandira

Anonymous said...

Mandira: I've also written loooong posts and got barely one response - so it balances out, I guess :)

Yeah, if I have kids, they might turn out nice - and then again, they might not. It's 50-50, right? I'm not a gambling person and I wouldnt take those odds :)

- shyam

churningthewordmill said...

lol! i like that logic!! :) :) gambling is dangerous, i agree!

WA said...

Brave and stupid probably :) As if one teenager is not enough I am taking in a Canadian exchange student for a few weeks. Should be good fun though.

Anonymous said...

WA: That actually sounds interesting, your exchange student ghin. Teenagers are usually better behaved with strangers :) And it's only for a few weeks! Have fun!

- Shyam