Not the most easily transportable, not the most easily adjustable, not the most co-operative and a nightmare to travel with, guess what……teenagers.
I need space, no-one here understands me, why do we have to live abroad, why can’t I for once cook what I like for a change and that’s just me, they’ve different gripes, why can’t I wear this/that. What can’t I go here / there. Why can’t I go somewhere / anywhere/everywhere?
It’s true it’s not easy raise teenagers in today’s world. Even if you lock all the gates and doors in an effort to try and keep them out of harm’s way, they still have full access to the big bad world, online, up- stairs, in their bedrooms. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Pinterest, Vine, Viber, Skype, it’s all there, the online community offers little by way of protection all you have to do is fake any age before 23rd January, 1997 (unnerving) and bingo they are permitted to open an account, thus inviting the whole world in apart from just two people, Mom and Dad. An online gathering hosted by your son/daughter with everybody from Venezuela to Crosshaven invited apart from you, can’t be right can it?
The fiscal community offers as little protection as the online community. Its easier get a bottle of vodka from the local supermarket than it is for them to get a provisional driving licence. Recreational drugs are as easy as buying oranges at a fruit market, provided of course the dealer hasn’t been caught recently, but even then, he’s had thirty seven previous convictions and comes back every time so no problem on that score. Issuing dress codes for younger teenagers, who choose to dress like two dollar hookers are taboo, as it would seem that society in general is hamstrung when it comes to commenting on inappropriateness for fear of getting a lash of the freedom of expression stick. The bouncer at the underage disco wouldn’t dream of telling Ami and her pals to go home as they were inadequately dressed or he’d have some nut parent hauling him onto a radio show as she would defend her daughter’s rights to the bitter end and perhaps even accusing him of leering at her 15 year old.
For many parents in Ireland, the teenage years must be a roller coaster, where the best you can do is close your eyes during the big hoops and nervously peep when the track seems smooth, but always looking forward to the end when it’s over.
If you never needed to emigrate it may be a good idea to see out the rollercoaster in Qatar, where the internet is censored for anything that may contain ‘adult’ content and society plays an active part in parenting.
Just last week, my daughter was sent home from the mall by a security guard because her shorts were not down to the knee, yippee I didn’t have to do a thing. As it turned out it didn’t matter because she couldn’t go to the over 15’s movie anyway without her passport to prove her age. I could just commiserate and because as a western expat I couldn’t be manipulated into ringing the radio show in a hissy protest. I
The supply of alcohol is prohibited so the best they could do is steal a spare bottle from the parents drinks press, ha, trick! expats in Qatar don’t have ‘spare’ bottles, they need as much alcohol as possible so that’s that avenue of supply closed off.
Drugs. Are you on drugs? Nobody in their right mind would risk getting their hand chopping off just to smoke a doobie, (assuming this is the course of rehabilitation advised) even if the Bangladeshi driver was willing to supply.
As for a kiss and a cuddle, there are two places kids can hang out, malls and compounds both are crawling with security cameras and deportation faces families who break the rules. Admittedly I sympathise with this, I mean everyone needs a kiss and a cuddle.
All in all, society dictates the pace, parents don’t have to work as hard, you can issue all the yes’s you need to keep your teenager on side and rest assured that Qatari society will look after the rest.