'We just want to have fun' - teens say

Guyana Chronicle
April 25, 1999

"This is a different generation. Can't they understand that!"

"Times have changed!"

Those are the familiar responses of many teenagers when they are questioned about their parents' reaction to their habit of `hanging out'.

Recently, I raised the issue of `Teens as party animals' to a group of parents. Many of them acknowledged that their teenagers are never home, that they are always at a party.

One parent said her 15-year-old daughter recently attended her first big party and ever since, she only wants to `hang-out'.

According to that parent, her daughter will definitely not be `hanging out' for a while, not until after her exams.

Another parent said her only child, a 19-year-old University student, frequents nightspots, especially `Nightflight'.

She recounted that in an attempt to explain why, her son, remarked: "Mom, you're only young once and you have to enjoy it while it lasts. Besides, this is the 90s!"

Another parent related how worried she is about her daughter's partying habits.

"Every time I say `why don't you relax this weekend', she replies, `I work hard all week and I need to free up my mind. It's no big deal'", that mother complained.

However, many parents are fearful for their children's lives because of an increase in violent crimes, and the use of drugs, particularly where youths gather.

"Every time my son leaves the house to attend a party or hang with his friends, I become very worried. I don't want to bury my only child," one parent lamented.

After listening to these parents, I decided to ask some of these same teens if they considered themselves party `freaks'.

One University student said she studies all week and tries to complete most of her assignments, so the only free time she has is on weekends, especially on Saturdays.

When asked where she enjoys hanging out and why, she responded, after a long pause: "You can find me in Nightflight where all the fun is and (where) my friends are".

She added parents should be glad their children are having fun and are not into drugs or criminal activities.

A 15-year-old student said she had fun at a top disco once and that was because her older brother had taken her there.

However, she said when she has completed her exams, she is definitely going to be a faithful fan of the disco.

Another teen added she hangs out at `Players Club' and `The Net' as a form of relaxation.

"I sometime go to `Sidewalk Cafe' and `Pegasus Poolside' where I meet a few friends and just chill out and talk," she added.

A group of boys explained that they are usually at `Shel Shok', the latest night spot in the city.

But, unbelievable as it may sound, some teenagers actually hang out at home every weekend.

One of them, a nineteen-year-old University student said she has very strict parents and so she makes herself happy with her siblings at home.

"I live out of town and my mother complains that the world is crazy and very dangerous for teenagers," the student lamented.

According to her, she is the last girl of five children, and her weekends are spent watching the television or walking on the beach - not at a popular hang-out spot.

In the final analysis though, most teenagers point out that they just want to have fun, whether at home or at night clubs. But they must remember that there is a limit to everything: if they are `partying', they should conduct themselves in a respectable manner.