Mango_Man: Mom,I love a girl from my college and want to marry her.
Mother: Idiot!! You have been more into dating than concentrating on studies it seems. Hey!!(To father) just look how our son has been wasting time in college nowadays!!
Father: Idiot!! When did it all start?? You have been just wasting my money all along. Please for god’s sake concentrate on your studies and do not waste time running behind some random chick.
Mango_Man: But I love her and just can’t live without her.
Father: All this shit in his brains is perhaps from the western lifestyle our teenagers are emulating.
Mother: Perhaps there was some mistake on my part in his upbringing that he is behaving in such a manner.
Mango_Man: But don’t we Indians were the ones who supported Child Marriage once. How could those children manage their personal, professional and social life?? I just do not understand why Indian parents are just so cynical about the word “love” at the first place. Why don’t you all understand that romance and academics goes hand in hand and does not necessarily affect each other?
Now let us understand why our Mango_Man and his parents had a difference in opinion regarding ‘LOVE’. Mango_Man’s parents were born and brought up in an environment where ‘love, relationship & sex’ were rarely discussed in public forums while our beloved Mango_Man grew in the post liberalization period. The fast developing consumer market not only allowed entry to new technologies but also to western ideas and thoughts. Mango_Man grew up watching TV soaps on channels like Star World, HBC etc. So the notion of love and relationship became more common to him than ever before. Not that Indian cinema or television media doesn’t portray love but more often than not it has been in the negative.It has been fed into the young Indian minds that teenage love is just a waste of time.
Now let us get into a bit of biology now, now a days boys and girls attain puberty a little earlier than generations before(mainly attributed to poor lifestyle and eating habits) which makes it very natural for children to take interest in the opposite gender. Any attempt to control these feelings might just be cataclysmic to overall psychology of the child.So instead of forcing children to control these feelings, parents should ensure that the topic is well discussed in the household.Parents should be frank enough to discuss their ward’s love life with him/her and try to guide them rather than being irrational to the matter.Parents’ all over the world irrespective of nationality should always try to be behind their children’s back rather than holding their hands and showing them their path.This will not only infuse a sense of self-reliance but also allow children to take better decisions in their life. We Indians fail to understand the very dynamics of puberty.Legal age for marriage has been set at 21 for boys while 18 for girls which is on average some 7-8 years after one attains puberty, adding to sexual stress and thus affecting our productivity.The disapproval from parents is more counter-productive than otherwise thought and brings about fear and anxiety in the teenagers.
Coming to the effect of romantic relationships on one’s academics. The idea that getting into relationships badly hampers academics is extremely callow and jejune. For the matter of fact, this very idea was embedded deep into Indian minds by the British culture which believed that young men and women should not be allowed to intermix with each other and it reduces their rational thinking. But even when the British society has moved forward over the years then why is it that Indian society is finding it tough to accept this notion?
To answer the above question we need to understand the concept of Power Distance Index first. Wikipedia defines PDI as” Power distance is the extent to which the less powerful members of organizations and institutions (like the family) accept and expect that power is distributed unequally.” This can be used to explain how teenagers react to conflicting ideas with their parents. India having a higher PDI (77 on a scale of 100)means that Indian teenagers find it really tough to rebel against what their parents have to say. While British culture, whose PDI is just 35, find it easy to accept new philosophies. I do acknowledge this might be just too much to digest, so I am concluding with the note that I am particularly neither against nor in support of the notion of ‘teenage love’ but what I want our youngsters to do is to follow their heart and interact with their elders as much as possible. The interaction should not be a mere discussion and you ending up nodding and accepting whatever they have to say but rather it should be a more holistic debate where ideas are exchanged and new thoughts are respected and absorbed equally well in one’s life. With this only can we reduce the prevailing generation gap that we experience in our daily lives.