“Wish my mother can read this and understand what I look forward to in a parent, as a teenager.” – Riya (13).
When I say ‘challenge’, it gives me the courage to do the impossible, to go beyond the human limits of mind and body and the courage to do the unthinkable.
The first time when I read about the suicide of a teen boy who had participated in the Blue Whale challenge, I dismissed it altogether. “How can anyone end their life for a game?” I thought.
But there is also the chilling data of 130 teen deaths around the globe. The sinister game is said to have originated in Russia and has spread across the world.
As the mother of a teenager, the data sends shivers down my spine – “How can I protect my child from such threats?”
Disconnecting with everything and living like we are in the Himalayas is one option. But, would that be practical considering how the internet has simplified our life? I am just a click away from any information that exists on this planet, I pay my bills online, I do my banking transactions – and I order food, groceries and send flowers and gifts to loved ones, all via the internet.
However, what if those loved ones cease to exist?
Let’s ensure that we, as parents, do our best for our teenage boys and girls. Personally speaking, I find the following suggestions quite helpful.
1. Spend time with your adolescent child: It may sounds repetitive and cliched, but my experience tells me that there’s nothing more important you can give to your child than your time and patience. Adolescence is the time when they are going through lot of physical changes and mental pressures. They need you all the time – sometimes to talk, sometimes to laugh with and sometimes to throw their tantrums.
2. Don’t dismiss their opinions and feelings: This is also the time when they are forming their own opinions, when they start to feel strongly. Listen to them patiently and guide them to help them form balanced opinions.
3. Tell them ‘you are loved’: There’s nothing more comforting than these three words: “I love you”. I use them repetitively – when my kids leave for school, when they come back, when I sit with them for their studies and before going to bed. I ensure that they are loved unconditionally.
4. Dance with them: This actually lessens the generation gap that begins to develop around this time. The more your teenager can relate to you, the easier will it be for you to form meaningful relationships with them.
5. Tell them your choices clearly: Be firm when it comes to making the right choice. Tell them that this is how you would want them to behave and this is what you would want them to do. The decision is yours – but let it seem it’s their choice.
In a nutshell, if you are close to your teenage boy and girl, half your battle is won if you know the signs of depression. You would see the changes in their behaviour – and you would know when to intervene and call for help.
Image used for representative purposes only.