The Wish of Teenagers of Be Adult – 15 Jan 11


I mentioned yesterday already that teenagers do many things in order to look adult to the people around them. Often these things are all those which their parents don’t approve of. They start smoking, they drink more than is good for them when they are with friends or on parties, girls wear clothes that seem to invite boys and boys make moves towards every girl they think is receptive for their charms. And this all starting at the age of 12.

Why do they do this? Because they want to be adult. Why does it vary from country to country what exactly children do? Because adults behave differently in different countries. In India, many men chew tobacco with betelnut and then spit it out at the side of the street or some corner. So when boys here are 15 or 16 and when they want to look adult, they secretly go and buy one of the small plastic packs in which you get this mixture. Although it does not taste good at all and is harmful for the body, they chew, smile at each other and spit it out again. One more step towards really being adult!

You need to see that there are quite a lot of small things, some more harmful and some less, which children can imitate to feel adult. Whether it is alcohol, nicotine, tobacco or even only coffee, these all are ingredients in the main dish of life that you get to eat when you are adult. They don’t want only the appetizers anymore. And it is understandable why: you teach them all of this. Don’t you say ‘When you are adult, you can do this all, too’ or ‘You will have to wait until you are adult yourself’?

In my opinion we should reduce those things in our lives of which we believe that they are harmful for us. It will reduce your risks with your children. If you don’t smoke, your child has less reason to start smoking. If you don’t eat tobacco, there is a good chance, your children don’t like it either. Because for them, you are the first example of an adult. When your children are small and in the beginning of their teenage time, you should live as you would like them to live. When they will reach an age in which they learn from their surrounding, you already have made such an imprint on them, that they know what to take care of. If they never saw you drunk, they may as well be disgusted by the behavior of a drunken person and not feel like they need to try it, too. If you were drunk two or three times a year however, it is part of adult life for them and they want to do it, too.

At the base of this all there is one point: Your children want to be like you. This is your responsibility, think of that and live your life accordingly.


  1. Deniz

    Even if parents, family, and teachers are able to set good moral examples for kids, it seems now that kids would still often be exposed to lots of bad examples through their peers and also through the mass media entertainment venues, which are now rife with immorality and bad moral examples. I think that if a potential parent is able to wisely reflect on whether the current culture climate is one that they would like to be born into, and whether they would truly be able to provide a child with the right circumstances to grow up with in the midst of this, this should effect their decision about whether to become a parent or not now. I personally would not choose to bring a child into circumstances I would not choose to be born into. On the basis of the laws of karma and also the Golden Rule, this seems like the right kind of moral deliberation to have when deciding whether to be a parent or not at this time in history.

  2. Nancy Johnston

    Don’t forget, children also mimic to get approval, not just to try and look bigger.

  3. Rebe harshaw

    I agree. If you don’t want your kids to do it- just don’t do it!

  4. Jesse

    When I was 12 I caught my mother smoking a cigarette. To a twelve year old in the U.S., this is a cardinal sin. I was really sad and afraid that she would die because of smoking. I wanted to make her stop. I demanded it and told her that if she did not stop I would start. Two years later I started smoking for different reasons. Now the two of us smoke together sometimes. I see what we are doing and it is really disturbing. Even worse, the other day a teenage boy that shared my taxi asked me for a cigarette and when I didn’t give him one he pulled one out of his pocket and lit it. I could tell he wanted to be cool. I am terrified and saddened and ashamed that I want this drug sooo badly that I have not stopped the damage I am doing to myself or others.

  5. Chrissy

    I mean, my children do things that aren’t harmful because I do them. They eat pizza. They read books. My girls borrow my skirts. But We like different toppings. They’re favorites are best-seller’s and mine are classics. They constantly try to get me shopping with them so they can change my style. I guess I just mean that there is something very authentic about the way each human behaves. And while you are an influence it is complicated, factor in what you show them, what your family shows them, what their incredibly confused peers show them, what they see on TV, what pure chance shows them as feedback on their actions, how can you imagine that the ways they act are that simple. Well, some things are that simple, but I hesitate to make it seem simpler than it is.

  6. Katnis Everdeen

    I remember many occasions in childhood where I did things in order to feel grown up. I know exactly what you mean! These days I sometimes do things to feel young again, or better put, to regain the wisdom and openness of youth. For me the difference has seemed to be that in my youth I was trying to build up an impression of myself. Now I would like to tear it down.

  7. Jeremy

    We are fooling ourselves when we believe that we have a grasp on the control of input our children receive. Base line is this: your kids will see some crazy and harmful things in their lifetime’s. They just will, and the best thing you can do is teach them how to handle things, how to find their way to thrive and be happy and love. I don’t think you can necessarily do that by showing them a list of specific do’s and don’ts. Because their lives will be so different from you life, they need to know how to use who they are and the situations they have to be great.

  8. Haymitch Jorgen

    Well said Katniss. I find myself in the same process. I remember many times in my life, maybe even most of my life, spent scrambling to build and image of myself. Que lastima. Down the walls must come.

  9. Nathaniel

    Deniz, u r so rite.

  10. Peeta Pocket

    Wow,It is funny to realize that all the things I would like to stop doing now are the things I could not wait to do when I was a child. This entry was an eye opener. I’ve never seen things this way before.

  11. Nancy H.

    Acts of rebellion among teenagers and even pre-teens can be so dangerous they loose their lives; alcohol poisoning, drunk driving, drug over doses, STDs. Swami Ji, I think it takes a lot of courage not to try to force your children into behavior that you deem safe as a parent. I deeply respect your last two entries and I agree. Putting them into practice is another thing.

  12. Nancy H.

    Acts of rebellion among teenagers and even pre-teens can be so dangerous they loose their lives; alcohol poisoning, drunk driving, drug over doses, STDs. Swami Ji, I think it takes a lot of courage not to try to force your children into behavior that you deem safe as a parent. I deeply respect your last two entries and I agree. Putting them into practice is another thing.

  13. Karen Rodgers

    I recognize this in my kids and my own childhood. You said it all Swami Ji.

  14. Mirela

    Adolescence is always a little bit confusing, baffling and chaotic. That’s the way it is, that’s simply nature and nobody should try to fight against it. This doesn’t have to mean that it’s ok when teenagers start to consume alcohol. But I think it’s all in the education and also it is about the love, that parents are able to give in this time to their kids.

  15. Tricia

    As a teacher I am constantly thinking about my behavior, because many of the children that I teach don’t have much interaction with their parents, they look to their teachers for influence and whatever I do sometimes I see children do without even thinking about it. Either that or my nephews who watch every move I make and observe all of my movements and imitate me simply because they admire their aunt who lives in China (that’s how they refer to me…)

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