08 August-Faridabad (by Saloni Chawla) : Incidents of teenage crimes keep hitting the headlines every now and then be it driving at high speed of 100-120 kmph under the influence of alcohol and ramming into other vehicles killing lives; or be it it a school mate stabbing his classmate as a result of deep rooted frustration and hurt self esteem. An analysis of such incidents clearly indicates that the responsibility of teenage crimes on parenting as well as the educational system college as well School authorities cannot be ruled out.
Teenage is a period of rapid physical, mental and behavioural change. This combined with the exposure of teenagers to various kinds of peer pressure, television entertainment channels, variety of internet sites and other environmental stimuli make the teen age all the more vulnerable. The effects are visible in a range of behaviour patterns starting from mild, socially undesirable ones to major deviant ones such as murders and gender assaults. If we believe that a stitch in time saves nine, then it is easy to understand that good parenting and a discipline oriented educational system can prevent many an untoward incident from happening.
The usual loopholes of parenting as well as of the educational system through which many teenagers tend to slip off into the world of crime include giving facilities to children without any heed towards their utilisation; allowing them to drive before attaining the prescribed age for driving and at speeds beyond safety limits; not bothering to know about their activities at home, at school and at social gatherings; not bothering to know about the company they keep and the books they read; educational institutions allowing students under the age of 18 to drive to college and school; taking mutual bullying casually; paying little attention towards their personal and personality problems; and so on.
What needs to be done by parents as well as by the educational authorities is not difficult to conform to :-
- Being a friend to children/ students and developing a trust so that they can confide anything in you;
- Dealing with mistakes, failures and problems by positive remedial measures than by scorning or public insult;
- Educating them well before teenage to make healthy choices about the company they keep, the television programs they watch, the internet sites they visit, the books they read and the interests they keep;
- Channelising their vital energy positively towards forms of art, sports, swimming and yoga than only towards TV and internet. This helps in controlling emotions like anger, jealousy, frustration and hatred;
- Educating them about the risks of smoking, drinking, underage and fast driving;
- Not allowing students under the age of 18 to drive to college or school strictly on part of the educational institutions; and
- Parents and educational authorities following discipline and self restraint themselves to set an example for children.
Teenage is the bridge between childhood and adulthood. How it is built and maintained through education makes all the difference.
Foot note : This article was published in a consized form in Hindustan Times – March 2004.