Teenagers, Tough Love
Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami , 1998-10-30
Today Gurudeva answers a question from a parent concerned with teenage drug abuse. Gurudeva discusses what happens when children use and deal drugs. For example stealing becomes a habit to obtain drugs. Gurudeva gives advice to parents on how to discuss this, and how to guide their children. The risks of both parents working are brought up. The responsibility of parents and the changes that drugs bring about in a child's mental, physical and emotional being are put forward. Gurudeva tells us about tough love.
Today at Kauai Aadheenam. It is October 30, Sun 2 by our Vedic calendar. It is beautiful here on the Garden Island of Kauai. The five Talaivars or co-ordinators of our five schools all meet to co-ordinate their activities. There is one for publication, one for garden and grounds maintenance. Another is for cooking and temple, fundraising for the Iraivan Temple, the other for finance, buying and selling, and another for managing Saiva Siddhanta Church, the international congregation of extended families.
The beautiful 'Island Temple' brochure arrived, It is absolutely beautiful and it is going out to thousands and thousands of people around the world. We are sending two mathavasi monks to California. Sadhaka Thondunatha and Yogi Tapodana are going to raise money to build the foundation for Iraivan Temple. It is very important that the foundation go up this next year. So they are going on a fund-raising mission. They will be meeting devotees who have been supporters of the Temple for many years. Let us get the job done. Why wait?
I have here, from a concerned parent, a question. "My husband and I both work. We have two teenaged youth. Gurudeva, what happens when young people in their teens start taking drugs?"
Well, you must come from a generation that should be knowing these things. It is a good way for them to ruin their lives.
First of all, where do the children get the money to buy drugs? They don't have jobs. Drugs cost a lot, more than their allowance. So, they can do one of two things. Steal from their parents or someone else, or deal drugs to pay for them.
This is very, very dangerous and you should be very, very careful as a concerned mother and father to watch what is in their closet that you did not buy for them and have them buy for themselves.
Now, a teenager dealing drugs is obviously very very dangerous. Young people don't appreciate how dangerous. They might think, that they are just selling to their friends, saving on money by buying in bulk, just like you do in stores. But, you should sit down and explain to them, what might happen if one of their friends get caught by the police. Will he stand by his friendship with you or will he turn state evidence? He will get off a life sentence by turning in your child, your young adult, as his pusher. How much punishment will he take just to save you? He is not thinking of friends, not when it comes to something like this. If your children are not thinking this way, guide them. Children basically don't think. Parents are supposed to think for teenagers and guide them. That is your job.
Shall I go on just a little bit? I think that I might.
Dealing drugs makes money for children. I have personally heard that young people dealing drugs make half as much as their parents do in honest jobs. In Los Angeles, a twelve-year old can earn $100 by doing just one drug drop for a pusher. Somebody told me that and I don't doubt it. He can also get shot by a rival pusher. That has happened.
Yes, your boys can make a lot of money and can spend ten years in jail for it, too. Of course, that is free room and board, if you think of that. It is very difficult when the mothers work and the fathers work. There is nobody home. The home is like a hotel or even worse. Watch your kids. If they are in the realm of dealing, they are on the wrong side of the law. They always have to watch their back, worry about the police, worry about rival pushers, worry about getting caught.
Well, you have a lot to talk about. Your children to your husband, your husband to wife and, husband and wife to the children. Make it real in their minds, a good high school diploma and graduating with better grades. Like on this island, children have two choices. They can either make good grades and graduate from Kauai Community College, KCC or they can go into the lower world and land up in Kauai Community Correction Center, KCCC, the County Jail. We don't want that. It is for the mother and father to protect them from themselves.
I don't know if you can convince them of this or not, at this age when hormones are bouncing around in their bodies. But, drugs are specially dangerous for growing young adults, youth just coming into puberty, experiencing all sorts of major body changes. Science has only begun to understand the impact. It is believed that drugs, and these are the illegal ones, have a serious permanent impact on the natural growth process, especially on the development of the brain, from all sorts of chemicals and also the emotions.
I have personally seen these young people on drugs from eight, ten, twelve years of age and they are just not normal. They haven't developed physically, mentally or emotionally into normal people. Don't risk it. Give your time, your spare time if you work. If you are a mom and go to work, try to adjust your budget so you don't really have to work. You don't want your teenagers to spend the rest of their life paying for it and you spend the rest of your life remembering that maybe, you could have made a difference in their lives.
Well, this is a tough talk. It is tough love. Not everybody talks like this but not everybody loves like this. Take care of the next generation and they will take care of you as you become older. They will love you more because you loved them then.