Thursday, July 24, 2014

Being a Teenager in Cuba

Being a Teenager in Cuba
July 23, 2014
Mercedes Gonzalez Aguade

HAVANA TIMES — At the pharmacy, I ran into some of the mothers of my
son's friends. We had a long conversation and, like always, almost every
topic had to do with the central issue in our lives: children.

We spoke about education, clothing, teenagers and their changes, in
short, everything that's wrong in the world and how to fix it. Then, we
started talking about something that worries us: there are no places
where they can vent and channel all of the hormonal energy of this stage
in life.

Sometimes, they go to places that aren't suited to their age (they are
either too old or too young for a particular environment) and almost
always end up taking away the negative side of that environment.

That's why, most of the time, we force them to stay at home, sitting in
front of the TV, the computer or videogames, denying them the right to
have fun and generally enjoy themselves. As mothers, we worry about
their safety and integrity, but we feel guilty about this situation.

I say this thinking about my own son, who barely goes out. There are
very few options out there: Vedado, the Coppelia ice cream parlor and
the occasional party thrown by a friend or classmate. The movies could
be another option, but, in the age of DVDs, kids see the cinema as
something old fashioned.

Everyone, mothers and children, would be grateful if there were places
for teenagers at affordable prices, where alcohol and violence were
strictly prohibited.

Some mothers offer their homes once a month so that kids will have a few
hours of fun, listening to music in a safe environment without alcohol.
That is all fine and good, but I feel it limits kids a lot, as,
ultimately, they continue to be confined between four walls, and it is
good for them to go out and get to know the world.

Another concern of ours is that, once alone and away from home, they
should want to experience their teenage years to "the fullest" and,
overwhelmed by their wish to have fun, should skip that beautiful stage
in their lives, a time when proper guidance is hard to offer.

Source: Being a Teenager in Cuba - Havana -

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