Teens with crushes seek help

At least 30 percent of the cases that come to Parihar Makkala Sahayavani are related to teen infatuation.

Senior counsellors at the Parihar Makkala Sahayavani, office of Bengaluru City Police Commissioner’s office, say that cases of teenage infatuation, leading to youngsters running away from home, are on the rise. The counsellors inform that about 30 percent of the cases they see every year are related to teen infatuation.

The Sahayavani has seen at least 10 such cases in the last two months alone. Many youngsters between the ages of 14 and 18 years, obsessed with the opposite sex, are being brought to the Parihar centre for counselling and therapy.

Preethi S Baliga, counsellor at Parihar, says teenage infatuation could lead to serious consequences, especially for the boy, who could face a jail term of up to seven years depending on the gravity of the case. “If the girl and boy try to elope, the boy could be taken into custody for having a relationship with a minor. What we do in such cases is to counsel the child and family,” she says. She adds that they also follow up with at least four sessions of counselling just to make sure the child returns to his or her routine.  

In cases where teen pregnancy is involved, the boy could even be charged with rape under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act), Preethi points out.

She attributes the increase in cases of teen infatuation to social media. “It is now deemed fashionable to have a boyfriend. Many teenagers click pictures of themselves with their partners and upload it on Facebook”, she points out, adding that celebrities too play an important role in moulding the opinion of the child.

Parents too are indulgent with children and buy them gadgets like smartphones without bothering about the consequences, she adds.

Rani Shetty, in-charge at Parihar, says teens who get into such a situation find it hard to face society when they return. Instead of humiliating their children, parents must be understanding, she says. “Parents must educate and counsel the child. They must be sensitive and understand the hormonal changes their child is going through and guide them rather than drive them towards becoming rebellious,” she adds.

She observes that children from upper-class families usually look for validation or love from external sources; this happens when they don’t get it from their parents. “The need of the hour is to make sure the children don’t slip into depression and are counselled onto the right track,” adds Rani.

 

Most recent cases

- A 14-year-old girl bought a mangalsutra and landed at her 17-year-old boyfriend’s house. She had run away from home and wanted him to marry her. They were then brought to Parihar Makkala Sahayavani for counselling.

- A 15-year-old girl and a 19-year-old boy ran away from home, claiming that they can’t live without each other. Their love developed over chats and phone conversations but they had seen each other only twice

 

What drives teen infatuation

- Over expectation from parents.

- Substance abuse like sniffing of whitener, glue, cigarette and consumption of ganja.

- Glamourisation of sex and love affairs by social media.

 

What must parents do?

- Parents must build trust in their children from a young age.

- Don’t overcompensate for lack of time and pamper your child.

- When the child is wrong, communicate that clearly to him or her. Make them understand that he or she has done something wrong.

- Have at least one meal together and thrash out all the problems over the meal.

- Never let children take sides

- Never fight in front of your children.

 

 

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Teens with crushes seek help

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