Counsellors flooded with teen crush cases

Counsellors flooded with teen crush cases

More and more teens are complaining of ‘love failure’ and turning violent

Last week, a 16-year-old student stabbed and killed his classmate over a love affair. This was the second such murder in a year.

More and more teens in the city are facing problems arising from infatuation and rejection. Parihar Makkala Sahayavani, a helpline for children running from the office of the city police commissioner, gets at least 10 cases of teenage angst a day. Counsellors elsewhere also see a similar number.

Preethi S Baliga, counsellor at Parihar, says those between 13 and 18 are facing severe problems arising from infatuation. “What these youngsters battle with is not true love; it is infatuation that wears off after some time. What comes to the fore is their animal instinct. They are protective and possessive about their object of infatuation,” she says. 

Such an impulse sometimes leads to aggression, she explains. When children don’t have anybody to confide in, they begin to harm themselves. Many go to counsellors with cuts and burn injuries. “All this is a result of infatuation gone wrong,” she says.

B S Saraswathi, senior counsellor, Vanitha Sahayavani, has seen a 50 per cent increase in teen angst cases over last year. Parents and educational institutions must help children, especially those between 14 and 18, to understand infatuation, she says.  “Most of them confuse infatuation for love and the conflicting signals lead to problems. They must be encouraged to talk openly with family,” says Saraswathi.

Counselling centres in educational institutions are also witnessing a spurt in the number of cases related to what is commonly referred to as ‘love failure’. 

Sheela Dange, coordinator Centre for Extended Education (CEE) at Mount Carmel College, says many teenagers are experimenting with the idea of love. “The feeling of rejection and disappointment is something they can’t take. They must get what they want and they can go to any extent to get it,” she says. Youngsters try to replicate what they see on social media. This trend must be contained before it gets out of hand, she warns.  

S Girish, DCP (crime), blames social media for the increasing crimes involving teenagers. “Providing access to fancy cell phones at a young age and unregulated use of social media have given teenagers the confidence to do anything they please. You don’t see such cases in the villages because of limited access to social media. Movies, YouTube videos and constant chatting on Facebook contributes to such cases,” he told Metrolife.

He also thinks a peaceful atmosphere at home could also prevent behavioural problems in teenagers. “Children who see the father beating up the mother tend to believe they too can get away with harming other people. This is a wrong message,” he says.  

Two types of obsession
Psychiatrists are treating more and more teenagers complaining of broken relationships. Dr Divyashree K R, consultant psychiatrist, Aster CMI, divides the cases into two groups. The first comprises those affected with erotomania, a delusion of love. Teens in this group think their object of infatuation is in love with them but not showing it. They misinterpret gestures. They can become violent and dangerous if not handled carefully. In the second category, boys think is it all right to stalk and bother the girls they love till they give in.

“Our movies glorify this and I think it is ingrained in our culture that it is acceptable to annoy a woman. And when they get rejected, they take it very badly,” says Divyashree. Aggression is also on the rise, she observes. “Self-harm is a big thing nowadays. I see teenagers make cut marks on their hands, take to drinking, send abusive texts to women, call them names and sometimes even shame her on social media,” she says. Divyashree says spreading false rumours about women has also become a part of coping with rejection.

Recent teen-love crimes
- December 2018: 17-year-old girl is instigated by her 19-year-old boyfriend to run away from home. The duo plan to get married but are stopped by their families. The girl’s father registers a missing complaint. The girl then threatens to end her life, if not allowed to live with her boyfriend.
- December 2018: 16-year-old hits his classmate’s head with a stone and bites him on his cheek after he proposed to the same girl he loved.
- January 2019: 18-year-old girl committed suicide in front of a prestigious college in city after a failed love affair.
- Seek immediate help in case you come across abnormal thinking.

What you can do as a parent to help your child
Psychiatrists suggest some measures against teenage aggression.

- Develop a culture of acknowledging relationship problems once children reach adolescence.
- Prepare and normalise rejection as a part of life.
- Support children during periods of depression in the wake of a rejection. Emphasise it is a temporary phase.
- Look out for signs of substance abuse, self-harm, aggression.

BS Saraswathi, senior counsellor, Vanitha Sahayavani, lists what triggers behavioural problems in teenagers

- Broken families and constant fights between parents. Children tend to do things that garner attention.
- Inferiority complex resulting from high expectation from parents and teachers.
- Peer pressure where a child is instigated to doing something wrong.
- Mushrooming of nuclear families.
- Movies that show violence as normal.
- Social media: WhatsApp, Facebook and other chat sites.