I JUST came from a very messy private altercation full of recriminations and tears. Perhaps, my sharing today could also open the eyes of the adults and the young to the now widening gap between parents and children.

Why on earth are girls and boys going steady as early as high school? Are coeducational schools promoting this frenzy of pairing off, holding hands, dating and heaven knows what else?

Are parents to blame when both spouses have to work and the young grown-ups (teenagers believe they are already adults) are left to themselves with allowances more than what they need? Why do parents give their teenage sons cars?

I’ve seen so much damage done by iPhones, computers, DotA games etc. When a family goes out to celebrate at a restaurant, the kids are not talking to their parents. They are busy with their phones or texting their friends. Do parents use these I.T. “miracles” to ensure peace and quiet at the table? Do they monitor the activities of their young?

A young mother found out only after a year that her teenage son had just pretended to go to school. He was busy at an Internet cafe enjoying himself, using his mother’s hard-earned money. He was so complacent in doing so because his father had left them. How does one prevent situations like these?

Are the telenovelas, featuring teenage handsome actors and pretty actresses involved in love triangles also to blame for the way young people act?

This is an example of a text from a teenage girl to her steady. “When will you go to sleep? Will you dream of me? Will you hug your pillow and pretend that I am caressing you?”

My eyes bulged in wonder as the mother of this girl showed the text to me before she broke down in tears. Actually, behind her was a very belligerent daughter who refused to look at me when the mother came for help.

The boyfriend was a school dropout. He was her text mate. He had managed to convince the girl to demand that she be allowed to stay at a dormitory near the school she would enroll in college. That way, her parents couldn’t monitor her comings and goings. After an hour of trying to get to the bottom of the problem, I knew that this was a problem I could not unravel. I called my psychiatrist friend and brought the two to him.

Why have the young of today become so bold as to demand from parents, even things that could destroy their future? The usual excuse given is that, “Love drives people to do crazy things. Some even commit suicide!” If that is an excuse, may I counter back with, “The attitude of the teenager is molded from birth!” Parents must be with their children from birth. But are they? What priorities do parents have?

Are parents themselves living lives worthy of respect? I always feel a surge of pride when I see former students who nurture their families with so much love.

The children are examples of sobriety and strength of character. It is always gratifying to know that children get the values which rub off from parents who are steeped in faith and who practice their faith.

Do we speak of a loving God in our homes as often as we can so that our children get to know the God who watches over them? If we don’t do something about the widening gap between the children and us, are we willing to face the consequences of juvenile delinquents?

Do we play with our young? Do we encourage them to join games that require physical activity?

Alyssa Valdez, famous star player of Ateneo Volleyball team, speaks glowingly of the lessons she learned, and the camaraderie she has with teammates. Games with a lot of physical activity help our young boys and girls to be pals, buddies and good friends. Foremost in their minds are the joys of competing, the practice sessions, the winning of trophies but mostly the knowledge that one can have as many good friends as they can. Focus need not be on just one friend!

We cannot allow what is happening to our young today to escalate. We have to intrude into their world and know “where they are at.”

We may be old but do we just give up? Can we afford to just let go?