Yesterday, I peeped into my 15yr old daughter’s mobile screen and swiftly she hid it. The parent in me got suddenly aroused and I said, “Come on, what are you hiding? Are you chatting with a guy?”
With a pure disgusted face, she said, “Amma, so what if I chat with a guy?”
Me: You can chat. But tell me if he is your boyfriend?
Girl: (again with that disgusted look) So, you mean I can’t have a boyfriend?
Me: Of course, you can. But not now, you are just 15.
She along with her brother gave a big gasp and then loud laughter and then said :
“Amma, which world are you living in? Kids of 11 and 13 are having BF/ GF. And I am 15 already. If I find someone good, I will definitely date him.”
Adding to the fuel, My boy (13yrs): Mom, I guess you are jealous of her finding a boyfriend!
The traditional mother in me by now has got the biggest blow on my face! Kids of 13 and 15 talking about dating. Though I wanted to screw them up, I composed myself and asked, “OK OK, so tell me what do you mean by this ‘dating’?”
She: See, basically it’s about two people hanging out together (it could be a man or a woman depending upon your sexual preference; I am yet to figure out if I am a heterosexual or a lesbian), spending more time together, getting to know each other, doing things together, feeling attached etc. And if it goes well then you continue it longer, probably get married in due course. But if it doesn’t go well, you break up and date someone else.
By now, the mother in me is in full force.
Me: Ok Ok, fine. But I won’t allow any physical relationship or intimacy until you are 18. Deal?
She: Of course we know that. Before 18, any sexual relationship is an offence under the POCSO act.
My son got irritated by this and chirped: Amma, dating doesn’t mean sex always!
Me: (a bit relieved) So, do you both have any relationship now?
She: Well I could have, a few even approached. But I said ‘No’ to them. Now, I am trying but couldn’t find one suitable. All the good guys are gone already! So, I am checking out a few now.
Me: So, you mean, you will have multiple relationships? Is it at the same time or one after the other?
He: Well, Amma, You are crazy. How can you just see one person and then get married and have kids! That’s absurd.
Me: But I did that years back! I married your dad without dating many men!
Both of them look at each other and gave a burst of big laughter.
He: Yeah, So it’s proven, Heights of Absurdity!
Me, trying to calm myself down and taking deep breaths, got the big revelation.
Yes, I am an old generation and probably yet to comprehend what the next generation is up to in terms of relationships.
Well, that night as I was in bed, the thoughts went wild.
So, what if my 15 yr old girl elopes with some guy or he misuses her? What if my boy who is a semi-nerd never finds a GF and gets bullied by his friends? What if my girl and boy loses interest in studies or becomes lovestruck? Then realised that they are smarter and they also have the freedom to talk about these to me and hence wouldn’t go into bad relationships.
Well, these thoughts then faded off when the next big thought came up.
“Why the hell weren’t I born in this generation when even a 13 yr old has clarity about dating multiple people before getting settled?” And the 40 yr old me, just wished to go back to my 20 yr old self and my society and say this: “Stop chaining a girl and her character by not allowing her to have multiple boyfriends before she chooses the one to marry or get committed. “
And then I slept.
Well, the above anecdote is about two things:-
- Teenagers must be allowed to talk about gender and sex at home easily.
- It’s also about nurturing better quality men-women relationships in teens and young adults.