An increasing number of schoolchildren in their plus-two partied without parental supervision these days, alcohol being part of most of these gatherings, point out counsellors and psychiatrists working with kids in the city.
According to them, there has been at least a 30-40% rise in cases of conduct disorder or impulse control disorder, almost always connected to drinking from a very young age as a matter of compulsion.
Though the Sunny Park death has suddenly brought teenage drinking and aggression under the spotlight. Such behaviour is routine, though things rarely graduate to murders. “Go to any hookah bar or nightclub and you will see how groups of schoolchildren hang out there. Where do you think they are getting all that money from if their parents were not being indulgent,” said Salony Priya, a leading counsellor attached to a large number of schools for the past 18 years. “If parents say they are unaware of their kids’ behaviour, they are feigning ignorance. It all starts with parents allowing kids to ‘enjoy’ life a bit as they grow up. And soon things go out of control. “Priya points out that with the taboo earlier attached with drinking now going away and it becoming a part of any joyous event, even kids are attracted to it. “Every parent knows when the child is drinking and chooses to ignore it, thinking the child, especially a boy, will not like their intrusion as he approached adulthood. But that is a wrong approach.What they need is your time and not lenience,” Priya explained.
Agreeing with her, psychiatrist Amarnath Mullick said he had noticed a tremendous change in societal orientation over the past five years. “Today, the amount of money that children are given to entertain themselves is unthinkable. Who monitors how they spend it? Isn’t it natural at their age to be attracted to negatives? There is a large number of teenagers who are depressed and frustrated and seek release in drinking and aggression. It all stems from the fact that parents have no time for kids and to make up for that, they become overindulgent to keep their children happy till it backfires,” Mullick said.
Schools have started holding counselling sessions for parents of adolescent kids. “We ask them to monitor their kids at home and outside school.We also ask parents to keep an eye on their children’s internet activities,” said Rita Chatterjee, principal of Apeejay Schools. Mukta Nain, principal of Birla High for Boys, said as most kids came from affluent families, parents should keep an eye on how they spend their pocket money .