About Us Contact Us Help




Humor - College Admission Time - Teenage Parenting For Dummies

Chitra Parayath

Parents of teenagers when asked will freely admit that those traumatic years should come with a handbook of how to.

The sweet talkers will have you tearing your hair out, confiding in you about how traumatic their hormone addled brains are till you cringe with guilt and shame. They will also take every opportunity to indicate how woefully inadequate you are as a parent to make him/her feel this way. After three years of manipulations by my own flesh and blood, I am no closer to wisdom than I was when I embarked on the journey. A few tips on handling teenage dynamite and escaping unharmed and unhinged could help any flailing parent.

I wish I knew how to out- maneuver the little manipulators by keeping one-step ahead of them at all times.
In my household, the battle lines have been drawn, surface to air missiles are launched during every mealtime as we begin the College discussion phase of our parenthood. For parents with teenagers, there is nothing more daunting today than sending a kid to college. You've got to know your ACT from your SAT, your TOEFL from your TWE, your AP from your IB, and you've got to know exactly when to file your FAFSA or your kid has no chance for financial aid.

The main protagonist is a senior in High School, your typical desi American teenager, eats everything in sight, could easily sweep the Gold if marathon sleeping was an Olympic event, ditto for eye rolling. The husband and I do not talk about anything else. Strategies for broaching the topic are planned and discussed with military precision. Right after the rice and dal course, after a nod from Dad, I start with  Geetha Sharma�s daughter, you know the one who is in U Penn, And before you know it the Sambhar has hit the fan. Accusations of subversive attacks are bandied about as I feign innocence and Dad takes over.

Our sixteen year old has bracketed his mom and dad as you Indians. While freely admitting to be pretty comfortable with his own identity (we live in an astonishingly liberal, literate town), he attributes certain tiresome qualities to all Indians (which we embody, naturally).  You never patronize the arts, he accuses when we question his goal of becoming a street magician or Street Tuba performer. You only believe in Med and Engineering schools when we try to point out his aptitude for Science or math.

  Your hearts lack adventure and spontaneity. When we put our foot down about his plans to bum around Europe for a year before going to college. You have no soul, all you think about is paying off your mortgage, making money and traveling to India every year. Well, that is something we totally agree on, we grudgingly admit.

Was I like this I wonder as I pick up the phone to call my mum after a particularly acrimonious discussion with my offspring? Both Dad and Mom make no effort to break it to me gently.  You were awful, they say, adding  irresponsible, back talking, forgetful, insolent, did we already mention irresponsible, unpunctual, untruthful Ok, Ok I get it, I yell as they both profess to love me. By now they are only warming to the topic, I hang up the phone before they ask to talk to their teenage grandson.
I remember my teenage years; I wasn't half as bad as they make me out to be! Actually, they have changed so much. Lovingly known among us siblings as Hitler (my dad) and Nurse Hatchet (my mum), they have metamorphosed to totally different folks since the birth of their first grandchild. Now they go by the names of Dalai Lama and Mother Teresa. They guard the nefarious interests of their grand children ferociously, yelling at us if we even scold the brats.

Constantly urging me to let my brats pursue their dreams, they seem to have forgotten how my siblings and I were all coaxed and cajoled into going to medical and engineering schools. Is that what I am going to be doing some ten years from now I wonder. Pampering my grandchildren and letting them get away with murder? Or badgering them with speeches about the importance of a good education?

Coming back to the issue at hand, I try constantly, to step back and look at what is happening in my household. Is this not a time, a precious opportunity for me to encourage my kids to look inward, to reflect on what really matters - to prepare them for a life worth living?

What do we think of as a successful life for our children, and is it worth the price? I am reminded of what a Harvard admissions official said about our young people growing up to resemble "dazed survivors of some bewildering life-long boot-camp."

Maybe, Ill let my firstborn decide what he wants to major in, I think. Maybe, Ill let him go the little tucked away in the wilderness liberal arts school and study Jazz Tuba and existentialism.

Bookmark and Share |

You may also access this article through our web-site http://www.lokvani.com/

Home | About Us | Contact Us | Copyrights Help