For the past three days, software professional Sumita Roy has been attending her friends pre-wedding ceremonies. Her phone begins to buzz at 11.30 p.m. with a reminder to check her phone battery level, share names of friends dropping her home and ensure the one behind wheel is not under the influence of alcohol. And, finally keep her pepper spray handy if she plans to take a cab. I dont care if my niece thinks I am nagging her but I want her to have fun but also be safe, shares aunt Rohini Kumar.
The last few days have been extremely stressful for parents in Hyderabad. The young veterinarians rape and death has shaken us and filled us with anger and anxiety. It is a wake up call but restricting our daughters movements is not the solution; we have to empower them without being overprotective, shares Akila, a homemaker.
Meenakshi Chaudharys only mantra to her teenage daughter Anusha is to be mentally strong. As a single mother, the project head at Infosys never faced any issue in the city. I am raising my daughter in the way my parents raised me, she says and recollects the conversation she had with her father during a crisis. During my PG days in Bihar, an unruly mob threatened me with consequences If I go out to write exams. I called my father and he said, These boys will not be stopping here; if you do not write the exam, you will be only encouraging them to intimidate other girls too. Its your life so you have to decide. The brave step Meenakshi took that day empowered her to be independent, make a career and prepare her for lifes challenges. Anything bad might happen in any situation and that doesnt mean one will sit at home. I ask my daughter to go out, be connected and make herself physically and mentally strong, she says. Anushas open mic and stand-up comedy sessions also helped her to improve her personality. Parenting these days is complex but I will be her worst enemy if I ask her to sit at home. I ensure she is safe and support her to do things she wants to do.
The recent death of two boys from Narayana College who scaled their hostel wall along with their five friends to celebrate a birthday was a tragic one. Why did the teenagers break rules to venture out in the night? Parents must try to have an open dialogue with their children so that the need to do things on the sly doesnt arise, shares Bengaluru-based teacher Madhavi Latha Bobbili. Also a mother of two sons, she stresses on communication as a key to survive the teen years.
R Lakshmi Reddy, professor, NIFT department of accessory design considers critical thinking as an essential skill for young women. With small tasks they learn to become independent since childhood. Parents do get apprehensive about a few issues and instead of snubbing their ideas, should give teenagers the freedom to express so that they will open up and do not feel the need to hide anything. Her two daughters, who now work in London, learnt to be independent, courageous and manage their lives. There are bound to be arguments and anger issues and one needs patience to tactfully deal with them. Bengaluru-based clinical psychologist Dr Shubha Madhusudhan of Fortis Hospitals admits it is difficult for parents to keep in touch with children about their whereabouts. Many children rebel when parents want minute to minute details. Youngsters endorse among themselves that drinking is a social habit, but at home it is not approved. When something is not approved, the adolescent wants to try only that is thrilling and wants to get vulnerable. It is not bad to get vulnerable, but one should know what is that we are vulnerable about, she says, adding that since students spend more time with university lecturers, it helps if mentors and counsellors pass on a code of conduct.