By CHUA WEI LIM
Taylor’s University College
I AM not against parents telling their teenage kids to change their ways when it is necessary, but I feel that it’s something that’s been done too often and at times without any valid reasons. Sometimes, teenagers don’t need to be told what to do, but instead they need to be understood.
Our parents were once young adults themselves, so they know what it is like to be on the other side. But sometimes parents do not want their teenage children to be like any adults, they want their teens to be like them when they were that age.
Grown-ups have the tendency to frown upon some things we like, such as the kind of music we listen to, the clothes we wear and the movies we watch.
I am thankful that my parents accept whatever I do, as long as it’s not inappropriate. For instance, I listen to heavy metal – one of the music genres most adults don’t like their kids to listen to, but my parents do not fret.
They don’t mind the Slipknot and Metallica posters adorning my bedroom walls although some of my aunts would complain about it.
My parents nevertheless warned me about what could happen if I got caught up on “evil music” too much.
I think parents should let their teenagers do the things that they want as long as it’s not harmful. They should be allowed to wear whatever they want as long as it’s not inappropriate; they should be allowed to listen to the music they choose, and so on.
What the parents can do is try to give their advice on clothing, music and lifestyle – whether they think it’s good or bad, instead of forcing their fears on us.
Going through puberty without proper knowledge can be sometimes confusing. Thankfully, my parents were very helpful in helping me through my changes. Parents should realise that it’s normal to have feelings towards members of the opposite sex during puberty and that it’s normal for us to go through the changes every teenager goes through. They shouldn’t label these changes as “sins” or “unclean desires”.
I was told it was okay to want to be in a relationship in my teen years, but I was also told that it wouldn’t turn out well if I wasn’t prepared.
Another thing that I believe that parents tend to over-emphasise on is education. They stress upon most teenagers thoughts like it’s a must to study for four hours a day; or it’s a must to have at least three tuition classes everyday.
Thus, most teenagers’ days are spent studying with no time to indulge in other things such as sports, music or art.
I was by no means a straight A student, but my parents understood the fact that not everyone can score straight As, as they themselves didn’t.
Instead, I was allowed to indulge in reading novels, playing music and sketching. I was also allowed to have long enjoyable walks outside during evenings as a form of stress relief.
However, I also did get the occasional warning when I played the guitar instead of studying.
My parents only punished me when I did things wrongly. They didn’t punish me for being different – for liking music or wearing clothes that weren’t similar to theirs when they were growing up.
Teenage years aren’t the time for three tuition classes every day. It is the time to find ourselves, to find our personality, to find passion, friendship and of course enjoy life. We can never grow up to be the same people our parents are right now, which is why it’s silly to assume we need to grow up to be just like them.
It’s not easy being a teenager, but then again it’s not easy being a parent, so teenagers must learn that well too.