Nepal | December 13, 2019

Teens and dating: Should they, or shouldn’t they?

PEOPLESPEAK

The Himalayan Times

Some of our readers are dead against teens dating, while others think that it just cannot be prohibited because parents want to. Hence, they suggest that teens should be told about the consequences and dangers of risky behaviour while on dates. They opine parents should handle teens and their relationships with much care, understanding and openness

Graphics: Ratna Sagar Shrestha / THT

Graphics: Ratna Sagar Shrestha / THT

We’ve all experienced love during our teenage years. We’ve loved and been loved. This love adds richness and happiness to our lives. It makes us feel important, understood and secure. It provides us with a chance to discover our own-selves as we share it with someone new. We also learn things — to love ourselves, things we’d like to change and about the qualities and values we look for in a partner. Love and romance teach us self-respect as well as to respect others. Therefore, teen romance should not be discouraged but we have to draw some lines.
— Bidyaaz, Kathmandu

I strongly believe that teens should be discouraged from a romantic relationship. The only rational thing that they ought to do is to focus on their career and make their life meaningful by pursuing the purpose for which they were sent here on Earth. Each of us has a specific purpose and power of making our dreams come true lies within.

However, we can see many youth indulging in romantic relationship where breakups, matchups are common. The teens have the false belief that they’ll get most happiness if they’ll be able to marry his/her girlfriend/boyfriend. But the fact is that they’re just trapped in a vicious circle. A girl commits suicide just because she couldn’t marry the guy she wanted, while that guy for sure will fall in love with another girl again. So, sacrificing a beautiful life just for a romantic relationship is a blunder. Instead, they should focus on their career, how they can perform their best in everything they do.

I’m not against true love. However, being in a romantic relationship at such a young age is not rational.
— Dipti Gyawali, Basundhara

Being in love is not a bad thing. It’s just that teenage is not the right age to fall in love. Teenagers should not be allowed to date as there are more disadvantages in teenage love relationship than advantages. I have seen many teenagers blindly fall in love and then face the consequences later. Most teenagers don’t act sensibly as they are immature and don’t have knowledge of right and wrong. This sometimes leads to wrong activities and decisions.

So, parents have to act more responsibly when their children reach teenage. They should keep an eye on their children’s activities. If their children are found to be in a secret relationship, they should have a talk with them and show them the right path. Parents should motivate children to focus more on their future than on love relationships. Teenagers themselves should try to control their emotions and thoughts for love relationship as far as possible.
— Aishwarya Rai, Golfutar, Kathmandu

Teen romance is common especially these days. I think it is all right if it is within boundaries. They should be allowed to date so that they get to know everything better. If everything is in limits, I don’t think there should be any discouragement. The world is changing, so we all have to change our thoughts with the changing scenario.
— Sweta

The majority of teenagers experience attraction, get close and establish relationship with him/her. We cannot solely blame the age or time for how they feel. It is obvious parents don’t want their children to be engaged in all these things. But this is the age when teenagers don’t think like their well-wishers do. Nowadays, we teenagers are surrounded by television, movies, social media et cetera which I believe are causes for these problems. Moreover, parents must be aware about their children. They should encourage their children for creative response while providing enough time to them. Children can be handled if they are suggested with love and care. In addition, children shouldn’t be pressurised because of their mistakes but they should be counselled about consequences of irresponsible acts. In fact, children seek more care and affection in this age. So, parents should play a leading role.
— Prabesh Banstola, Maitidevi

Today’s young generation and teenagers think that being in a romantic relationship is the modern way of lifestyle. They get involved in romance but belief of many Nepali guardians are rooted in old culture. So, they refrain their child from being in a relationship. They think about their dignity and honour in society and think their child is too young to be in love. They are also afraid of their child being involving in activities like sex.

Teenagers should maintain friendly relationships, but not romantic. Of course they can date so they will be good friends and can choose a good life partner when they are capable of in the future gaining experience of good and bad relation. But parents should also know about their child’s friendship and relationship to check unexpected physical relations or sexual violence.

Teenage dating and their relationship should not be discouraged but sexual attraction must be discouraged. Parents should handle it in a friendly manner. They should trust their children so they will feel good and their son/daughter maintains friendly relation with him/her and not physical relation before the right age.
— Anonymous

It is the parents’ duty to guide their children on the right path. As I sincerely stick to our customs, I won’t advise the young generation to date prior to completion of their studies. This is not our way.

Having a life partner is a psychological need, but waiting for the right time is what makes everything perfect. In addition, opting to date instead of studies will mislead one from the journey of life. Student’s first priority ought to be their studies, not romance. This doesn’t mean students mustn’t enjoy but it should be done at the right time. This is why parents fear when their children date neglecting their money invested on their studies.

There is more to love and romance. Relationship is not easy and one can experience emotional turmoil forcing him/her to commit suicide sometimes. So, one should not take a hasty step to start a relationship. Of course teens get curious about romance because they watch romantic movies, read romantic novels so on. So, the best way to handle teen romance is by keeping them engaged. In a nutshell, studies come first over such a relationship.
— Pratibha Bhandari

Teenage is an age of fantasy. A teenager wants to see him/herself at the top of everything, wishes to get anything s/he desires. They want to be like a movie star or a great rock star. Being in a romantic relationship is one of the things which most teenagers desire to be in. Teenage is also the most crucial age where people should take rational decisions in term of their career or right choices to achieve their dreams. Relationships might hinder them from achieving the dreams. So, relationship is a thing to be avoided at teenage.

But the world is different to a teenager. If they really want to be in a romantic relationship they should look at its consequences too. Physical relationship, lack of concentration, blackmails from romantic relationship are a great hindrance. We all are rational enough to look at the pros and cons of a relationship. If being in a relationship matters to a teenager, elders probably should be informed and limits must be set!
— Anonymous

Teenage is the age of romance. At this adolescence period, one is naturally attracted to the opposite sex. Moreover, media like TV, Internet, films add to it and ready teenagers for romance and dating. In the Nepali society, there is generation gap. Elders ignore physical growth of their teenage children and its changes as well as needs. Many parents are not aware about this fact. Meanwhile, most teachers, parents and elders who know these realities are enslaved to their past traditions and want to impose the same restrictions on their children. Ignoring the changes and realities of time have given many sorrowful episodes of suicides, accidents, fights and and so on. However, teenagers today are far ahead of the limitation of romance and dating. They know fruitful romance and dating. Therefore, fruitful romance and friendly dates should not be discouraged.
— Nanda Kumar Bhandari, Koteshwor, Kathmandu

Free mixing of girls and boys is certainly not in keeping with our culture. Even a couple of decades ago, girls and boys had separate gangs. But, thanks to commercial films and lewd advertising campaigns titillating the sexuality of teenagers, free mixing of boys and girls has become the ‘in-thing’, throwing all norms of precautions and morality to the wind. Now teenagers are not only unhesitatingly sleeping with their partners, many are just having sex with friends or acquaintances for mere fun! By engaging in such ‘bold’ acts, they might be regarding themselves as harbingers of ‘modernity’ and ‘liberalism’, but in reality they are ruining their lives and upsetting the equilibrium of society. The disease of cervical cancer and AIDS are on a rise, thereby breaking the backbone of society. Innumerable girls are committing suicide after being subjected to blackmails by ‘lovers’ who have clicked sexual acts on cell phones.

It is high time guardians and teachers convince the teen-agers to concentrate more on studies and career for their bright future. There will be ample time for romance and date in later stages of life.
— Kajal Chatterjee, Kolkata, India

For many, teenage is the most distracting stage of their life. Many lives of teens are permanently changed and subjected to greater responsibilities of a family, having children at tender age while studies become more difficult to pursue and frustrations. That can happen because of a small mistake of dating. However, dating is not a dreadful activity as many think so. It is certainly a sensitive stage activity which can twist the path of life. Therefore, teens must be adequately educated to understand the real meaning and purpose of dating. When one does it with a clear understanding about what dating is for, it can render confidence on parents about their children’s decision for a meaningful life.
— Dil Dhungyel, Texas, US

Dating can easily change teenagers’ life instantly and their path in life may change. How do you think one can handle it? It is actually neither very simple nor extraordinarily difficult. It is a matter of information and knowledge about the consequences of their activities. When they are aware about what to do at this stage, they can handle it quite easily. One cannot completely stop dating in teens. This is tough work for parents and schools. Therefore, making them aware and educating them about possible consequences of dating may help. Also, teens must be helped to understand the safe way of dating so that their future is not obscured due to some irresponsible situations.
— Anish Bhattarai, Santinagar, Kathmandu

No, teenagers should not be allowed to date because the teenage is the important age to build his/her life. At this age, one can fall in love or go on dates. But s/he should to control his/her emotion as much as s/he can. As one of the most important stages in life, one has to prepare oneself for future life.
— Sonu Kumar Shah, Balkumari, Lalitpur

We live in an age where the most important thing for a teen is to be up-to-date and keep up with the Joneses. We like to talk about love and all its myriad glories. We want to experience new relationships. Contrary to this pop culture 10 years ago, we used to live a different kind of life. We didn’t involve ourselves in romantic relationships and we used to keep our counsel on such matters. Marriage was mostly arranged and gender equality was unheard of.

As time passed, culture, society, rules and everything else have changed. I believe we have to keep up with the time and change ourselves. Sure parents are concerned that we may end up with the wrong person and that is fine. If so, they should talk openly with their children about these issues. They should draw a line on what things their children can do and cannot. However, discouraging dating altogether is not an option.
— Ishan Tamrakar, Mahaboudha

In the midst of a terrific generation and the battle of technology with knowledge, people often tend to lose themselves in the whirl of wrong and right. Teens often go through the unacceptable horror of reality which they rather like to neglect. About relationships they least know and physical relationship are quite influential among these tender ages. This fact makes teenage quite worrisome, especially for parents.

The definition of relationship seems to have changed. Movies interpret it differently and teens quickly adopt it. In this crucial time, grooming must begin early which is why parents must have a good communication and understanding with their children. This will ensure honesty of the child, which is very important. Teens have aggressive minds, at times they should be left alone to make peace with themselves, if possible meditation can be adopted. One should always make sure that their child hasn’t been overruled by technology. Everything has an age and giving a 13-year-old iPhone-6 is never a good idea! With the availability of resources and influence of various things, teen romance has become an “alluring medal of honour” in the eyes of teens. A lot of people eventually do realise what’s important and what’s not but other people end up in a terrible state of life.

Talking about dates, they’re fine if you know who your child is with and if s/he is mature enough to take care of themselves. Limiting the freedom of teens will only worsen things and parents/guardians/ teachers should be aware of this. Moreover, the best way to handle fun loving teens of today, is to make them aware of their inner-self. Focusing on other important and creative ideas can also help. And the role played by parents, guardians or teachers is to show teens their path, understand them and deal with them in a calm way.
— Janabi Joshi

It is often taken as negative when teenagers involve in romantic relationships. Teenage is transitional phase from childhood to adulthood. During this stage, teenagers go through the process of development. Their physical, mental and psychological states are on the way to maturity. Most of the teenagers fantasise a lot in this age. They are not fully mature to take independent decisions. Nowadays, almost every teenager falls in romantic relationship, every school child has his/her boyfriend or girlfriend. I consider this as a result of social media, movies and information technology. Such modern technologies have made teens creative and smart in the same regard most of them fall in romantic relationships.

During this age, they need a lot of parental care and support. Parents should establish congenial environment so that teens would not hesitate to share anything with them. Teens often do not share their feelings with their parents because of strict environment in family. Our country is still not advanced to easily welcome such relationships of teens. If parents know their child’s relation then it is important to discuss the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships with them. Nowadays social networking sites play a vital role for teens to develop relationships with many unknown people. As a result, many children get victimised. Cyber-bullying has become a major issue these days. Many children have suffered from this. So, the responsibility of every parent is to know the activities of their teen child and prevent them from such hazards. In conclusion, teenage is not only limited to romantic life, rather this age can be made fruitful by indulging teens in creative works, participating in youth clubs and music class, providing platform to excavate their hidden talent. So, the sole role goes to their parents either to make or break the teens’ future.
— Anonymous

Strict parents raise sneaky children. Dating and getting into a relationship is like a forbidden fruit for teens and getting influenced by western culture is what makes them want to follow it more. However, in Nepali society, it’s not taken positively. Parents are often worried about their children’s grades, future and are bound to act harshly if they see their sons/daughters engaged in a romantic relationship. Teens should be allowed to date. They should be allowed to explore and know what they want in their specific other. A few heartbreaks can be a lesson and teach them about human nature and the fact that they don’t have to rush into a relationship just because everyone’s doing it. The best way to handle teen romance would be staying open to the idea of it. Most of the schools teaches sex education now but that doesn’t mean parents should avoid ‘that talk’. Every once in a while parents should do a check on their children but trust the fact that they can handle issues on their own.
— Bani Karki, Tinkune

Teenage is a transitional stage where physical, mental and social development occur. It is a growing period. Due to the sexual hormones production, desire for sex increases. Hence, the imagination of sexual intercourse creates an illusion in their mind and sexual excitement takes place. So it’s natural, teenagers may spend a lot of time thinking about romantic relationship. Thus, such problems of adolescents must be addressed by teacher, parents and guardians. They must guide them in this age otherwise a big social problem may arise in the family as well in society. Because of shyness to talk about sex, teenagers cannot discuss their problems related to reproductive organs with parents and teachers. They get pressure and may adopt wrong measures to overcome it. Hen-ce, proper guidelines regarding problems of wet dream, cha-nges in reproductive organs, menstruation should be given to teenagers. To distract them from this unusual activity, let them participate in social activities. Meditation can be the best method of getting peace and controlling unnecessary desires. Sex education should be provided to teenagers which may help them in knowing about sex related crimes, responsibility of family, teachers and also they could know about the changes in the body structure at this age. At this stage, attraction between male and female is natural. So rather than controlling them, parents and teachers should guide them in a proper way.

But I don’t think it’s the right time to allow them to date. They are not mature enough to think about relationship. They are too young to struggle around in a relationship.
— Anonymous

Teen romance is not a new phenomenon. Nowadays it seems like even little children are having crushes on peers and celebrities. Teens are actively engaged in the hunt for a partner. But most parents often dread the time when their teens begin to date. The best way to handle teen romance is that parents should not be judgmental towards their teens and the lines of communication between parents and teens should remain open. Parents should allow to date for socialisation of their teens. It helps them to develop personality and learn to get along socially. It leads them to maturity and better understanding of adult relationships. By allowing them to date, teens begin to learn how to compromise and cooperate with partners. Finally, they become able to choose their mates.
— Shashi Sharma

There is not much point in opposing teen romance as it would be swimming against the tide — it simply cannot be stopped. Instead, it would be better for parents, teachers and guardians to offer healthy advice to the teens so that their romance does not take unpleasant ups and downs. Teen romance if healthy, enhances self-esteem, boosts confidence and, in most cases, acts as an antidote against bad habits like drugs, drink and sex addiction. Many teen romances survive for years and culminate in nuptials. A few others egged on by lust and infatuation might fall along the way.
— J Talchabhadell, Bhaktapur

I think teenage romance should be discouraged. It is the time when they learn more and grow more. Instead of wasting time dating, they can utilise more time for studies. It is manpower that can change the country’s face. So, they must understand what is their destination and responsibilities.
— Apsara Katuwal

Being a transitional time of mental and physical transformation, teenagers are more curious and fragile about opposite sex. So, it is obvious, they think and fantasise about romantic relations. They do not like anything by force whether it is good or bad. Hence, why not we,guardians go for another way to make them feel free and let them do things by themselves? It does not mean we totally close our eyes. Instead, let’s give more time to them, befriend them, make them free to talk and share with us, and show them we care for them. This will allow us to know them and their intentions so that we can direct and assist them to choose and hold right friends for them. For this, mums to their daughters and dads to their sons would do the job more conveniently. As a result our children would feel good and responsible on their own which every parents, guardians and teacher expect from our teenage boys and girls.
— Shree Gaha Magar, Butwal, Nayagaun

The best way to handle teen romance is by bringing a change in the perspective of parents, guardians and teachers. Just because they weren’t involved in any romantic affairs while they were teens doesn’t mean today’s teens would do the same. Time has changed but their way of perceiving things are still the same. Therefore, now is the time for the people to become open-minded regarding love affairs among teens. Romantic relationship among teens should be allowed because we, humans, are prone to love. Sooner or later everybody needs love. But, they (teens) should be able to maintain other important aspects like their education, responsibilities et cetera along with their romantic relationship.
— Sagar Bohara, Nayabasti

QUESTION OF THE WEEK

Every single poem may not be liked by all. People have their own choice of poems that they enjoy the most. Who is your favourite poet and the most enjoyable poem and why? Illustrate.

Send your replies in not more than 200 words by Friday, July 10 by 2 pm to Features Department, The Himalayan Times, e-mail: features@thehimalayantimes.com


A version of this article appears in print on July 05, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.


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