Today it’s a sensational news in Hyderabad, tomorrow it’s again a past which is at best ignored and fast forgotten. We live in a society where abuse, sex, drugs happen more often in the teenagers than what we see or hear from the media, yet we assume the less we talk about them, the less we are exposing our kids.
Tell me how many of you actually discussed these issues with your kids and are not embarrassed to talk it out with them? Instead what we do is worry about the mistakes we must have made with respect to the freedom and space we give them and end up making plans to be more vigilant and to start monitoring them 24*7 which comes with its own repercussions. We know it’s just our panic talking and yet we chose these shortcuts which only helps us to soothe our anxieties for that moment.
OK! So we are wrong! Tell me what’s right? Isn’t that your question?
Let me stop you there for a second. Do you know why for some this becomes the only choice and for some kids it’s an option they would never choose? Whom should we blame for this? The Schools, kids or the parents?
'Limitless' is how the world looks to the person on drugs. What lures them to this is the real world which has been too tough to handle. Be it the disappointments from their achievements, the pressure of not living up to the expectations of their parents, having parents who are too busy handling their finances and not them, or being raised in a family where they feel neglected, disowned, threatened, represses, judged and abused, there are many things which are responsible. The fact is it is common for kids coming from a dysfunctional family and not to forget, a genetic predisposition to addiction playing some role as well.
To get them back from that other world, the only option is to make the real world more welcoming to them. After all blaming them any more is not helping. We know how it turned out right?
- Start with having meaningful conversations with them. Don’t limit them to the class work, school or don’t make it about enquiring about their whereabouts. Sex and drugs are only a stigma until you talk. Be ready to answer with modesty and not get defensive if they point out your own mistakes. Explain to them how you are willing to change, how that feedback is important and that you understand what is expected of you for your child.
- Raise them in such a way that they don’t have to lie, or hide things from you. Remember the responsibility of getting the trust that they can be themselves when they are with you relies solely on you.
- Don’t make alcohol or smoking a stigma when you yourself are doing it. Show them in your actions the importance of not having to indulge in these things. The more you repress the more they feel attracted to trying these things out.
- How they deal with stressful situations is mostly influenced by how we are dealing with them in the first place. Beware there is someone in the house who is looking up to you for things they can’t solve on their own. Introspection about where you are going wrong is the key.
- Don’t put up a facade to your kids that you are strongest. It’s OK to feel weak at times. The kids should also understand that they can’t be strong every time and just because they are weak, that doesn’t make them a loser. It removes the pressure of winning in all the situations. Most of the time learning matters more than winning.
- Raise them to realise their strengths and accept their weaknesses, but don’t force them to change their weaknesses to their strengths. It only makes them vulnerable.
- Teach them to not give up on trying just because they lost, by not giving up on them when they lose themselves. Let me remind you trying is not about pushing them to a better life which you set for them, but to motivate them to make the best out of the life which they carved for themselves.
- To be open to you about their life, they need to have memories of you filled with a lot of patience, a non-judgemental understanding about their mistakes and the assurance to trust them or in helping them to come out on their own.
I understand these things take time, but so do the kids who have lost themselves in this battle. It’s never too late to start these things and the hope is preserved only if you are trying relentlessly but not when you give up.
On a lighter note, parenting and the drugs are similar in a way where it’s easy to get into but hard to get out of. So I now leave it to your imagination about how hard it is to get on to the road to recovery.
I say a good parent condones the child’s mistake but never condemns the child for the mistake.