18 till I die
The teenage years start with your 13th birthday and lasts till the day you turn 20. These are the years when we are vulnerable and undergo drastic changes. The teenage years shape us
up mentally and physically, moulding us into the person we will one day become. Lack of proper guidance and control might result in disillusionment due to exposure to matters that are harsh. “Teenagers need psychological counseling, which will help them become bold,” says Madan Man Shrestha, principal of Campion Kathmandu College. Teenagers as adolescents are introduced to many new problems and challenges. They witness new surroundings and environment. Confusion and indecision are very common during this period. Those who cannot tackle these tend to turn the wrong way. This could even mean violence and drugs. As a solution to such problems Madhavi Pradhan, general secretary of Friends Society Nepal suggests that they be encouraged engage themselves and take up certain responsibilities that will will keep them busy and active. Physical and mental growth of a child is rapid in the teenage years. They need to adjust to their physical growth and become comfortable with their bodies in the pubescent years. This is just a natural process, says Dr Ghanashyam Chapagain of Patan Hospital. It is fearful and mysterious in the beginning but slowly they learn to accept it.
As teens, they grow more aware of the changes around them. They crave freedom and sex is still a mystery, but they are able to distinguish the main aspects related to it. Common problems that teenagers face are insecurity and uncertainty of the future, says Devi Prasad Adhikari, campus chief of Padma Kanya Campus, Bagh Bazaar. They are yet to discover and deal with the newly discovered scenario, which confuses them. Sapana Sharma, a Master’s level student of the campus shares that everyone faces this problem sooner or later. “I was also a victim of such problems, but slowly I adapted to it.” Boys tend to grow more boisterous and explore topics of curiosity while girls remain shy and hesitate discussing their problem, states Jayanti Sharma, also a student of Padma Kanya Campus. Most girls discover that flirting and bluff calls can be major problems. This is a social crime and there are insufficient laws to tackle such situations, says Chanda Dahal a social worker at World Nepal, Maharajgunj.
This has become an uncontrollable problem in cities. Most girls prefer to remain silent when faced with such situations, which encourages the boys. In order to discourage such activities,
girls need to be aware and stand up for themselves, says Sarita Bhattarai of Ratna Rajya Campus, Exhibition Road. Violence and arrogance is increasing among teens. Gang fights and disobedience are rampant. This is because they do not receive proper guidance and think that they are superhuman beings capable of anything, says Narendra Sharma, vice-principal of Nobel College. He is of the opinion that mutual understanding between parents, teachers and teenagers should exist in order to solve this problem. Teenage boys enjoy more
freedom than girls especially in Nepal where the social structure dictates the girl be bound by certain expectations. Nepali society is patriarchal and the consequences of such a system is responsible for this situation. Most parents feel insecure about their daughters when they enter their teenage years.
Dayamanti Pariyar (name changed) from Kalanki is a mother to two college-going daughters. She still reserves rather conservative opinions about the way they should behave. She says, “Girls become naughty when they go to college”. This is not the same for Sudarshan Rijal of Kalimati. He is the father of a son and daughter who are completing their high school. “Society is changing and it is our moral duty to create equal opportunities for both sexes,” he says.Teenagers are easily swayed by celebrity, fame and fashion. This attraction is fatal often leading them to take up smoking and disco culture. Disco culture is new in Nepal but a large number of teens have already been victimised by the dazzling allure of night life. A large number of discotheques have opened in major cities. Most teens enjoy the disco culture and here, they are even more vulnerable to sex, drugs and alcohol. They lose interest in their studies and adopt questionable morales. Principal Shrestha of CKC accepts this as a challenge for teachers and the society. The only remedy for this problem in his opinions is to “Introduce moral education in secondary level classes”. Surendra Prasad Dhimal a social worker is optimistic about the problems that teenagers face in our fast changing society. Teenage years are also some of the most creative and productive age of a person’s life. We need to empower our teens and give them the responsibility of not only becoming icons of hope for the future but also agents of change for today.