Yesterday, I had a long chat with a visting relative. About teenagers. She was dead surprise when I told her that son #2 is in Komtar (the seedier side) at a Perpustakaan Cyber (a Gov. run cyber library with a few computers). Actually son is at the skateboarding shop next door, hanging out with the shopkeepers to learn more about the products etc. (BTW, to the unintiated, skateboarding involves lot of technical stuffs from ball bearings, lubricants to the stuffs we see like the board.) But I left that bit out or she probably has a heart attack. It so happens that #2 son MSN me that he had finished school and will be back later and his whereabouts (hence I can’t hide the cyber-library part).
Eldest son had gone to lepak at Gurney Plaza. So, relative of mine launched into dangers of cyber-cafes blah blah.
A NEW BALL GAME IN BRINGING UP CHILDREN
Well, she had three wonderful adult children with successful careers (in their late 20s and 30s) and one very much younger son age 12. I know for sure that bringing up those adult children in the 80s-90s compare to the current one is a totally new ball game.
Then, she told me about her in-law. The teacher has a 17 years old son. He has gotten a bike licence and free to roam. He hangs out at cyber-cafe and did not want to study. He is doing ok in school. Mother took a steel rod and whack him, leaving a scar or something.
In real life, I hate to impose my ideals. What’s the point? It won’t change much. I just told my relative that nowadays, we can no longer control our children that way. I squirm in my chair hearing these horror stories on bringing up teenagers.
CYBERCAFE AND SOCIALISING
I told relative that I know where my kids are, what they are doing and I do allow them to go to cyber-cafe for Dota or RO or whatever. Relative said if we have computers at home, why the need to go to cybercafe? Because of the atmosphere and friends. I have coffee at home but I would be happier if I can go and sit at Starbucks. In fact, my atm is already worrying if his sons sat in the house whole day for a period of time! He said boys must go out and have fun.
Frankly, I can’t see what more harm can internet to do my kids. P0rn? We discussed that all the time. We talked about gays, lesbianism, ogling b00bs and things like that. We can’t beat p0rn, so might as well bring it out into the open. To me, it is just like a different kind of cartoons. Period. Drugs, smoking, mixing with the wrong companies? Kids need to belong. So, if you don’t alienate them, giving them a space to roam healthily and yet knowing what they are up to, whom they are mixing with, cross fingers that they will turn out alright.
Relative told me that she had engaged a tuition teacher to start a class NOW for the 12 yrs old to prepare them for Form One next year. She had gone to great length to organise it. Why? I don’t know. She is my close relative, so I have nothing to say.
I told her none of my sons have tuition and neither do they study much. (watching documentary and reading DK series books, smarter than most adults count?) Their results is always mid-range. Say for St. Xavier Institution, in a form with 150 students, the result is bordering on 70s.
I am spared of all the tensions, they are spared of all the torture. I am happy, they are happy.
The few things I read in the paper prompted me to ponder this. E.g.:
1) Two teenagers blogs were used to fuel the riot in Paris. Yeah, these kids are using their blogs. Age only 14 yrs – 16 yrs. Are their parents aware? Does the parents even know that their sons blog? Aren’t parents responsible for their kids?
2) The big hoo-haa, finger pointing on those grads who are unable to get a job. My sons, atm and I had a debate on this matter. My sons told us about how ill-equipped some of the students from the other schools are. How they can’t even speak English and totally blur socially. I said certain races are too kiasu, wanting to be ahead all the time. But in the process, forgot that communication skill is more important. My 13 yrs old chipped with ‘They are not street smart. Hampalang gong-gong wan (all dumb). Excel only in studies.”
3) There are 160,000 teenagers without licences who drive/ride a bike.
So, all these point back to whose fault is it? The parents lor. I am not pointing to the individual parents but as a major force in shaping the future generation.
And why are these happening? Because in the process of bringing up children, many have left God behind. There is a lack of emphasis on bringing up God loving kids. So, never forget the most important element in parenting. The Higher Being, the Almighty.