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  • Published 1.03.02
Calcutta, March. 1 :    Calcutta, March. 1:  Rukmini, 16, dreads the evenings when her parents force her to sit at the study table for hours. Palash, 17, resents being pulled up by his teacher for watching television, instead of concentrating on his books. Sutapa, 11, feels humiliated because her parents insist on 'screening' her friends. "Why do parents and teachers insist on pressuring us?" asks 19-year-old Sujit. "They are too busy imposing their views on us and are hardly bothered about what we want.'' Voices of anger and anguish rose from around 70 members of GenX who converged at Rabindra Sadan to protest "peer pressure and interference from parents, teachers and elders''. Sahay, the city unit of the US-based Children International, had organised the interactive session for teenagers to give vent to their views. Parents, too, were allowed to counter their children's criticisms. "Actually, nobody listens to the children. The elders, including parents, take them for granted and impose decisions on them,'' says Neeraj Agarwal, director of Sahay. The hour-long session threw up more questions than answers. But it did provide an insight into the teenage mind, in its clarity and its confusion. "Earlier, we would mingle freely with boys and girls of our age. Now, suddenly, our parents resent our spending time with boys. Why should it be like this? Why can't boys and girls be friends without bothering about pressure from parents?'' asked a girl. "Our parents, teachers and elders should change their attitude towards us. Instead of ordering us about, they should treat us like friends and explain what they expect from us,'' said a young boy. The parents, too, had their say. "Our experience tells us that if we allow teenaged boys and girls to associate freely, we fear trouble, often ending in premature pregnancy,'' claimed Pravas Halder, one of the more vocal members of the parent brigade. "Teenagers are immature and prone to mistakes. They always need guidance. It is a time-tested process. It is natural for them to complain when they are not allowed to do exactly what they want. But they will realise later that it is for their good,'' added Ashok Sengupta. The final prescription for a "healthy parent-teenager relationship" - tread a middle path, with understanding being the byword.