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.