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A year after my letter to Srikkanth

Discussion in 'Schoolgoers & Teens' started by Malathijagan, Jun 25, 2007.

  1. Malathijagan

    Malathijagan Silver IL'ite

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    I am sure quite a number of our members would have gone through my post-"Dear Srikkanth" in the forum parenting and kids. In retrospect to this post I am starting a new thread. This has deliberately been posted in articles and middles since it is more about the present generation of youth, their outlook, their attitudes and their expectations.

    One year has flown by and my son has completed his first year in college with good grades. He is here on a short vacation and wherever he is, in hostel or at home, the laptop is his soul mate. Besides the fact that he uses the laptop for a lot of free tutorials that he gets online to update himself in Linux, the other things he uses for are purely for watching movies and other English serials which he gets from peer sharing.

    The other day I happened to walk into his room to hand him a cup of coffee when a sideward glance at the laptop screen gave me a shock of my life! He was busy on the desktop PC and he did not notice me coming in. The screen on the laptop displayed a nude woman (Topless)! For a moment I was speechless! I was in two minds whether to ask him for an explanation or not! I could just mumble out-" Whats this obscenity on your laptop? I didn't expect this of you!" I didn't wait for a reply and left the room.I felt a numb pain somwhere in my heart. It took some time to recollect myself. Then I went back to his room and just said,' Don't display this screen when dad is around. He would be badly upset."
    May be I was a different mother. Anybody in my place would have lost composure at such a time. I remembered one of my friends sharing her experience with me. Her son, when he was in the final year of his college had worn a tee-shirt with some filthy writings on it. She told me that she had made a big fuss over it and had made him remove it before he left home, but not before a big argument between mother and son ensued which left both of them bitter.

    Now, I started wondering, are we modern parents being too close to our children, treating them as friends and sharing everything with them which has made them so open that they do not feel ashamed to show us the darker side of their youthful minds. May be I failed to give him the privacy which in the western countries is most valued.

    Thoughts led me back to my childhood days. As the innocence of childhood enters the gates of teenage and adoloscence, the harmones start playing havoc with our thoughts and actions. I am sure every generation would have gone through the harmonal disturbances and its accompanying trysts. The hormones affect even the most timid persons in some way or the other and indulge them, if not in some perversions, at least to the extent of going through some soft pornographic books. But we have never been as open as the kids of this generation as to let our parents know about it. Compare this with the unabashed display of behaviour as the one that I started the thread with!

    Days went by and I was waiting for an opportunity for a frank and open talk with my son. The teacher in me gave me the courage to speak with him without hesitation or embarassment. I wanted to know what exactly went through his mind as well as that of others of his age when they looked at these pictures. I was curious to know about the mindset of the new generation. I thought that this article could be of help to a lot of parents of the upper middle class to cope with such experiences
    in various forms with their wards.

    My son had just returned after watching the movie 'Sivaji' and was in a mood to talk. I had returned home from a meeting and needed a break. To add to it my hubby called me up to inform that he would not be joining us for dinner as he had a meeting. So I decided for a simple meal and sat down to chat with my son. After a little bit on 'Sivaji', abruptly I asked, " Okay, I would like to enlighten myself about todays youth. You have told me that your friends (even the ones with a family with very modern outlook) hide even the not so objectionable serials like "Friends" and "The American pie"in their pc-s and watch them when there parents are away. You have had no such problems. May be that is the reason why you were not bothered to have a different display screen on your laptop when you were at home. Genuinely, I was upset about it but I appreciate your attitude of not having hidden things from me. I want to know one thing, are you really interested in such obsceneties and get pleasure by watching them? Or is there some other reason behind this?"

    My son kept quite for some time. May be he didn't expect this topic from me out of the blue. After a thoughtful silence, he said-" When you are in college and especially in hostel, you have to merge with peer groups otherwise you would be a loner. Its a question of survival. I am least interested in these pictures and to tell you the truth, quite a lot of my friends watch **** sites on the web. I have no such interest and they do not appeal to me. And yet, to be accepted amongst the peer I have to follow certain norms. I thought you know me very well and so I didn't want to be a hippocrat by hiding things such as these. There is one more thing I want to reveal to you now! You know, I have boozed with my friends two or three times over the past one year!" Here was yet another jolt! I just couldn't speak! My mouth had dried up! I started wondering-'Should I have started the discussion at all!' Before I could respond, he said-" Mummy, the fact that I am not hiding anything from you should put you out of worries. You can rest assured, I will not become an addict or make it into a habit. These are all peer pressures we have to put up with. It is just a passing phase. All I want is your trust and understanding!"

    I felt like a confused Arjuna in front of Lord Krishna in the battlefield of life amidst the generation next! Ofcourse, I had to take his words and pray that he didn't go astray amidst 'peer pressure'.

    Dear friends! Iam sure quite a lot amongst us would be having teenaged sons. I do not know how many mothers would be enterprising enough to hold frank discussions with them and also be strong enough to digest their revelations! I wonder whether there is an equal set of problems amongst mothers with girls too, if not more. This post is not to frighten anybody, but as I said at the outset it is more to get an insight of the modern day youth and their problems and also to mentally prepare ourselves to deal with them without sensitising them. I am sure, with our proper guidance and loving care they would blossom into lovely adults and bring fame to this ancient and culturally rich country.
     
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  2. raginiprakash

    raginiprakash Senior IL'ite

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    Dear Malathi,

    That was a well written account on your experiences at parenting a son on the verge of adulthood (here, am guessing his age)!! I loved your 'letter to Shrikanth' earlier, should i say this was a good sequel to that!!?? I guess i can!:)

    I'm sure a lot of our members here, who are mothers to teenagers will be able to relate to your experiences.

    Sure there's no denying the existence of peer pressure during the college phase.
    With the changes that is coming forth in the Indian society, what with a more liberal attitude to life in general than the earlier generations, i'm sure the styles of parenting will also undergo a sea change. You have definitely given an insight on that & i liked the way you handled the situation by having a one-to one talk with your son.

    Must say, you're a new generation mom & your sons are sure lucky to have you!!

    Cheers!
    Ragini.
     
  3. slp807

    slp807 Bronze IL'ite

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    Hi Malathi,

    i somehow missed ur previous post , juss now read the letter written to ur son
    i loved the way u expressed ur feelings and i treasure it so that in future it may b useful for me :)

    Now-a-days there is lot of peer pressure in youth,and the way u handled the situation is very good so that u dont need to think about it time and again as what might happen.

    ur sons are lucky to have a caring and understanding MOM!
    All the Best to them

    cheers
    sreelatha
     
  4. Abha

    Abha Bronze IL'ite

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    Hey Malathi

    I really appreciate you being such a cool and smart mom. The way you initiated this conversation, and i'm sure your son is also very wise already and he is definitely not going astray...

    There is a lot of pressure amongst teenagers to be "IN" or "With it" so these things do happen sometimes... and as Srikkanth said this is just a phase, and this'll pass very soon and these very guys are goin to laugh on this and themselves some 2-3 years later, when they will be all matured. But your son seems to be matured now only.

    I would say if someone is totally untouched and unmoved by his/her surroundings, then it wud be Abnormal or probably a Saint... what your son is goin thru is normal and If I must say is "Healthy" way of growing up. Everyone shud experience things, but still have a stern head on his shoulders, which you son has...

    I wud say, be with them, observe things, just dont get involved in those things.

    I really look forward to read experiences from mothers of teenage girls also.

    ~Abha
     
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  5. cheer

    cheer Silver IL'ite

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    Dear malathi,

    That was really a wonderful writeup, thanx for sharing that serious issue with us. I do agree with the kid, sometime to be a part of friend circle they should also cope with them. Now a days becoz of this westernisation our youngster turns to this, but on the same time parients also gets more courage to ask them abt it, which was in our time was difficult, now parients are more frank with kids & vice-versa.
     
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  6. Malathijagan

    Malathijagan Silver IL'ite

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    Thank you Ragini for your encouraging words! I was a little apprenhensive that members may find it a little unpalatable since quite a lot of them would be having teenaged sons or daughters and moms who want to be ignorant about the happenings around them for fear of having to tackle them, might become jittery after reading this write up. Whatever I am today is because of my life's experiences and exposures to various types of people.
    Regards,
    Malathi
     
  7. Malathijagan

    Malathijagan Silver IL'ite

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    Hi Srilatha!
    Nowadays, not only do our kids go through peer pressure, we go through kid pressures as parents! As long as we adapt to the changing world we will come out unscathed. Otherwise like the older gen. we will be leading a miserable life neither belonging to this generation nor to their own.
    Regards,
    Malathi
     
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  8. Malathijagan

    Malathijagan Silver IL'ite

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    Hi Cheer,
    I personally feel it is better for our kids to adapt to their environment without losing their individuality rather than trying to isolate themselves and making lives miserable for themselves. In some extreme cases they get into suicidal tendencies which is worse. The kids of today are exposed to knowledge and experiences from various sources. And as parents it is our duty to keep track of them and bring them back to their centre of gravity without our losing equilibrium! It is a tough balancing act but if we want to remain blind and deaf to the happenings aroung our kids, we may experience temporary bliss-'A calm before a storm!'
    I hope my post is of value to people who have a more stringent way of viewing kids' behaviour!
    Regards,
    Malathi
     
    2 people like this.
  9. Sriniketan

    Sriniketan IL Hall of Fame

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    Both of your articles were very good. It is like a role model for the parents of the teenagers. We are caught in between (thrsanghu sorgam) what to leave and what to accept and where to draw the line. for this we should have an open discussion with the children and know their ideas. That is what you did and it is apt.
    There is nothing like a two-way talk, which resolves many problems.

    sriniketan
     
  10. akalya

    akalya Junior IL'ite

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    Malathi,

    Interesting and thought provoking post. You have gone farther than most parents do in building a trusting and open relationship with your son.

    For a young teenager, I don't know whether it is realistic to expect "No" as an answer to your question : "are you really interested in such obsceneties and get pleasure by watching them?". I probably think they do get pleasure and I also think that it is normal and should be expected. Peers would have exposed him to this, but something doesn't sound right about thinking that peer pressure to be the reason why someone would continue with displaying soft **** even on a private setting.

    My point would be this. We all should probably accept that teenagers will watch intense pornography in this age of internet. There is no getting around it. They get pleasure out of it and with the hormonal river at that age, it is just not going to be controllable. You should just hope that they do it in private with deference to elders.

    As a parent, our focus should be on what behaviours does he exhibit after that? Is he crossing the line on how he approaches, engages and pursues the opposite sex. Is he still continuing to be a gentle youth? If you think he is ready, you should probably have a discussion around pre-marital sex. Explain your value system and let him make the decision on what he intends to do. Also, let him know that if he does intend to have pre-marital sex, he should take proper precautions, because the consquences of not being safe is quite enormous. At that age, it is quite easy to get carried by the heat of the moment.

    Youth now are step change from us. We need to probably to get a little more aggressive with our assumptions on what they actually think and do!

    Akalya
     

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