So much to do and see, so much to experience and learn but so little energy, constantly tired and sleepy, growing by inches in just a month, raging hormones, bitchy all the time. Sounds like the teenage years of an average kid.
Teenage phase of life sure is confusing. Reckless decisions characterized by what I like to call ‘mood roller coasters’, teenagers are bound to make mistakes in this age. Underdeveloped pre-frontal cortex, we blame you! Fueled by curiosity and irrational thinking, teens are most likely to rush into things that are generally not deemed appropriate for their ages, topping the list are romantic relationships.
Romantic relationships, being a hush-hush matter in our society, hold a special significance in the eyes of a teenager, who has just begun to experience the joys of his newfound freedom. The thrill of doing something forbidden and ‘grown up’ instigates the youngsters to engage in such relationships. Yet this practice can affect the psyche of the person in many ways that are often overlooked.
Romantic relationships are primarily linked to a person’s interest in body image, independence and privacy. Teenagers, generally at such a tender age, are not mature enough to understand the significance of these concepts in depth. Their minds are filled by the stereotypes involving relationships that are fed to them by the society, media and their surroundings, and hence they start to loose their identity and uniqueness, trying to become what the society dictates. They see romantic relationships as joy rides with literature and media mainly portraying ‘chora and chori in chaanay ke khait’ and not something serious. It is often seen that once a teenager enters a relationship, they begin to stress over their looks and appearance too much, trying to loose or gain weight, styling their hair or wearing clothes a particular way. This is because they feel obliged to make their partner happy by moulding themselves in ways their partner might want them to be.
Clingy behaviour and lack of independence is the ‘trademark’ of relationships in this phase of life. It seems as if teenagers aim to dictate and be aware of each second of their partners’ life (if they do consider them people and not toys). Hence, you see teenagers texting away 24/7 and asking that cringe worthy question ‘melay baby nay khana khaya?’ and what not. Sure, communication is fundamental in any relationship, be it romantic or not, but teenagers need to understand that ‘communicating’ how many times you chewed your bite, or when you hit the loo is a bit too much. Similarly, trying to control their partners and not giving them any independence whatsoever is another trademark. I personally know a kid, in 8th grade, in a relationship (imagine that), who went to a boarding school and instructed his friends back at home, to keep an eye on his girlfriend so that she does not cheat on him. There are so many things wrong in this scenario that it might take a whole hour to identify them.
“Physical attraction is possessive and restricting. Love is freeing and liberating.”
Not understanding what they want to be and what they want in relationships, teenagers complicate matters and pressurize themselves. They cannot grasp the complexities of romantic relationships and how someone they spend their time with can have a huge influence on them, where either they become emotionally dependent in their present and future relationships, constantly demanding attention and support from their partners, or they become extremely controlling and paranoid.
Teenagers need to understand that this is a very important phase of their life that they should dedicate it solely to themselves. Instead of entering romantic relationships, teenagers should strengthen their relationship with themselves, get to know what they like and dislike, their flaws and their strengths, and most importantly, what and where they want to be in life. This ‘transitional’ phase of life should not be wasted in doing something to look cool and ‘hip’ or under sheer peer pressure. Instead it should be spent with an aim to love and to accept their own selves. With the assurance that they don’t need to be in a relationship to feel wanted and precious, teens are statistically capable of making better decisions and having fulfilling relationships.
Written by: Talia Asim