Teenage conundrums We were all teen agers once. The body was changing and a new feeling” I know it all” was emerging.I was in the 11th standard[SSLC] when I turned fifteen[under age for my exam-completed with medical certificate].The faint appearance of a moustache gave me a new identity and a sense of importance.By the time I was seventeen my voice became deeper and suddenly I felt that girls were noticing me when I accompanied my cousin sister as security to her school.It was just a feeling-not a word said but the heart did go round and round. Kiddish halucinations. One to one chat did not exist as parents exercised a strict vigil particularly in the case of girls. The only but the greatest thrill was a stealthy glance at the girls and a reciprocal gesture.Jokes cracked in the hearing of girls were rewarded with peals of laughter and you were in cloud nine.There was no cell Phone,no TV ,no play stations to distract, influencing behavioural problems.There was one breakfast for every one and all of us sat for dinner together.The only luxury was listening to my favourite songs in Radio Ceylon and occasionally news read by Melville de Mellow for its lucidity and passion. There was romance in the air after release of Devadas and Kalyana parisu.Regular visits to the temples,following rituals and festivals were the order of the day.Becoming a graduate and landing on a Government job were the desired goals.Having gone astray , down the memory lane, let me turn to the situation now. Goals have changed.Opportunities are plenty and competition is killing. Teen agers enjoy maximum freedom and minimum parental supervision but for engaging tuition in different subjects.Peer pressure has resulted in behavioural problems. Bullying in school drives teenagers to change and conform to gain acceptance in the peer group.Why?What is your problem in life,I wont do, shut up are the words commonly exchanged by teenagers with parents.Eating out particularly junk food ,sleeping out,dress code,irregular timing for food, mobile browsing all the time etc cause frequent frictions at home.Promiscuity is on the rise without parental watch resulting in disastrous consequences in some cases.Boys go scot free while girls bear the brunt of their infantile,immature and irrational bravado.I heard a mother proudly telling others that her son is handsome and girls are falling all over him.The boy is in the tenth standard. Recent reports say that a fourteen year old boy from an elite school in Bombay talks of gang banging a classmate in a whatsup chat with his friends.He has liberally sprinkled obnoxious and obscene four letter words much to the consternation of parents and public alike.What more can we say of the unchecked depravity of some teenagers. The more dangerous temptations are poronography and addiction to drugs.Gone are the days when the entire family met at the dinner table enjoying companionship.Everybody rushes to his/her room and eats while browsing or watching TV.A girl’s mother says that when her daughter is on the computer she locks her room. . Any attempt to correct results in mood swings and emotional tripwire . While Helicopter parenting has its own risk of cocooning the child from the harsh realities of life,parents cannot abdicate their responsibility to educational institutions..The most important thing is to ensure an inviting atmosphere at home so the child looks forward to spending quality time with parents and siblings.Open and free communication is essential to make it comfortable for the child to confide his/her conflicts and confusion freely with the parents and seek their guidance.Engage them in our discussion on family issues,financial planning,career options etc in order to get a feeling of inclusion.While keeping a watch on friendship,expenditure,online habits etc,make it a point to visit the friends families to get a better understanding of the friendship circle.We don’t have to feel guilty if we do an occasional check on their telephone and what transpires in their social media connections.Stop using the cuss words at home as children pick them up easily and use them as a sign of growing up. Guide and direct their habits to ensure that they are master of habits and not the other way round.Find out their strength and help them develop a hobby.It is worthwhile spending as much time and money on hobby as studies leaving less time for a lazy mind to become a devils playground. Don’t criticise or complain to others ,in their presence.Praise in public and reprimand in private should be the rule and not an exception while dealing with teenagers. “Spend twice as much time with them and half as much money on them”is a sane advice handed over to us for generations.Dealing with them is more complex than following a few tips from a snippet based on observation and laments from the aggrieved parents.