June 2008

Out of Control Teens

June 2008
By Ranj Dhaliwal

Children talking back to their parents and acting like spoiled brats is not such an uncommon occurrence with teens these days.  In fact, many parents lose a grip on their child years before their child is on the front pages of the newspapers charged with a criminal offence such as drug trafficking, kidnapping, extortion or murder.  Some might even end up dead.

“What can we do?” is a popular question among parents.  Teach them responsibility.  The first response I normally get back when I make that comment is, “I am.” And then I’m told how the parents make sure their children are awake in the morning and that their children get to school on time.  Wow!  A teen that’s 15 or 16 is being awoken by his/her parents to get to school on time, and that’s being responsible?  “My 18 year old is also working a part time job on the weekends.” Well then, your child has every right to walk all over you in your own house.  Thank you for unleashing this spoiled brat out into the public on Friday and Saturday nights to run a menace around town.  We’ll be lucky if your teen doesn’t go on a rage and shoot someone because they aren’t capable of handling themselves.

Believe it or not Western parents will send their kids packing when they hit 18 if they get out of line.  But then again, Western kids don’t want to stay home after the age of 18 anyhow.  In fact, they can’t wait to get out and experience the world.  South Asian kids are terrified to leave their mommy because they might have to wipe their own noses or be responsible for their own lives.

What do you do? Hmm, parents need to stop babying them after the age of 12.  Teach your children to do their own laundry.  If your teens act out then stop cooking for them and tell them to cook for themselves – they will learn to cook pretty fast when hunger consumes them.  When your child hits the age of 10 you should definitely stop cleaning up after them.

I’m sure many will find all this as common sense and very amusing, but you would be surprised at how children are treated in many South Asian households.  Parents baby their kids right up until the age of 24.  Some even live with their parents after having a child or two as well.  Westerners are usually shocked at this.  Just because your child is going to school doesn’t mean they need their noses wiped by their parents every single day, does it?

Parents are bribing their children with cars, jewelry and allowances in hopes that they will lead a good life.  The day you start thinking about bribing your child is the day you’ve lost control.  If you don’t take action quickly we’ll see them either in jail for injuring or killing someone, or injured themselves.  This is an obvious wake up call to get some outside professional help.

Teach your children social etiquette.  When someone comes over to visit your household, have your teens sub-host.  Involve your teens in the discussions.  This will really help them become individuals, especially when they’re trying to engage in conversations with adults.  This is also the same as when your family is visiting others.  Teach them how to behave and interact when in the company of adults.  Don’t just say “behave” because they need to know that they have to take part in discussions as well, or at least pay attention (this will help improve their “attention skills” in the workplace, school and in every day life as they age).

Involve your children in the family structure.  Let them know that they are part of the family team and that you all work together.

Stop bribing your children with nice cars, clothes, etc., just because you think that will stop them from becoming gangsters.  There is no way that ignoring your teens’ bad behavior is going to keep them out of jail.  If you do not become the leaders in your household then your children will become the leaders of their not so bright futures.  Teach your child to be a good leader by showing discipline and demanding them to be more disciplined.  If your child comes home with red eyes (marijuana smoking) or smelling like booze, then make them face consequences.  South Asian families have a very bad habit of wanting to show off their sons for the public and wanting them to be better than others’ so they hide their children’s bad deeds.  Get real! If you care for your child’s future then you will stop hiding everything bad they do.  They see that you will cover for them and that’s what they will expect for the remainder of their lives, which could become very short if they get caught in the underworld’s dangerous current.

Show your kids how you live by honest means and are managing to stay in a state of happiness even through difficult times.  Be the positive image you want your children to follow.

Until next time …