Pune, Porsche, and Pity!: Teen rage turns into murderous road rage — identifying signs of volatility in teenagers

In this week's Soch with the Coach, our dear Coach AB talks about the Pune Porsche case. He also talks about the less addressed topic of teen rage, flagging behavioural tendencies as normal and not normal
Pune Porsche Case and Teen Rage
Pune Porsche Case and Teen Rage(Source: EdexLive)

Dear all,

The Pune Porsche Case has been the talk of the country and a topic of ridicule, given the series of episodes that have unfolded since the tragic incident. From getting bail almost as fast as making instant noodles, to writing essays, changing blood samples and the glaring corruption, bribery and how strings were pulled to mock the rules of the land — we have seen it all!

From my perspective as a coach, it was very clear that a few aspects weren't particularly discussed or given the required emphasis.

Teen rage is a sensitive time yet a boisterous episode in everyone's life, but have we forgotten about what can be termed 'normal' and what cannot be?

Hence, in this week's Soch with the Coach, I have decided to delve into the topic of teen rage, taking the Pune Porsche road rage into account.

I would like to refer to it as The Volcanic Vexation of the Immature!

The reason I bring in this metaphor is because the irritation and frustration of a teen is nothing less than a volcanic eruption! 

The word "immature" can be deciphered in two ways: One, perceived as immature but it may not be the case always and two, in the playful sense, while referring to someone on the path to maturity but not quite there yet, both of which hold true in the case of teens.

Teen rage is a manifestation of intense emotional responses, typical during the adolescent phase and is usually characterised by significant physical, emotional, and psychological changes. Some level of emotional turbulence is normal and most of us who have passed that age would be familiar with it, but extreme cases of anger and aggression can lead to destructive behaviours.

Teen rage is often confused with the usual 'temper tantrums' though it isn't quite so. It's exactly like the molten lava which has many elements in the mix. So, the next question is, what ignites this inferno? Is it the usual factors like homework, rules or curfews? Not really! 

Based on my experience, one of the main culprits is the earth-shattering hormonal changes which usually leave behind a trail of mood swings, irrational behaviour, risk-taking tendencies and emotional whirlwinds in its wake. Other factors can equally affect them such as peer pressure, and academic stress, not to forget, family dynamics also play crucial roles.

Watching out for the red flag

In a nutshell  Too much is too bad. So, here's what you need to be aware of and be on the lookout for, once it moves past a point.

1. Mood swings: Teenagers often experience fluctuating moods due to hormonal changes, but they tend to bounce back in a couple of days even during the worst of their mood swings. If mood swings are the 'new normal' then there is a volcano waiting to erupt, a sign of teen rage.

2. Seeking independence: Teens usually push for more autonomy from parents and guardians, wanting to make their own decisions and assert their individuality, but on the other hand, if your teen is trying to dominate or is trying to be 'the boss', then it's a red flag and a sign of teen rage, as it's pretty clear that there is some unresolved issue where they want to forcibly assert control on their superiors.

3. Risk-taking: Among teenagers, a sense of confidence is palpable, but the ability to judge how much is good for them, may be missing. A certain degree of risk-taking is normal as teens test boundaries but if they constantly test boundaries, then it's definitely a sign of underlying rage and a big red flag.

4. Rebellion: Seeking independence and occasionally challenging authority is part of growing up which makes it quite normal for them to rebel and openly exhibit their unhappiness regarding a particular decision but if the rebellion leads to unruly behaviour and involves any form of damage, it is clearly then a sign of teen rage.

5. Peer influence: Peer pressure is an unavoidable phenomenon. They adopt behaviours, mannerisms and styles to fit in with their peer group. The influence can sometimes be negative or the other way around. During this phase, a child has a vague understanding of how they should shape themselves within a social circle, especially among their friends. Even though parents can have a positive effect on their child, yet, a child may choose to not listen to their parents and in defiance, they find victory. This should not be encouraged.

A deeper dive into alarming red flags

Apart from the ones mentioned above, if any of the following red flags are noticed, you must swing into action.

1. Extreme aggression: Persistent violent behaviour or extreme anger outbursts. Not just throwing or damaging stuff, I'm referring to a behaviour that has escalated to hurting people, not feeling any remorse and not even acknowledging the consequences.

2. Alcohol, drugs or any form of substance abuse: Yes! It's an age when they experiment and most even pick up a vice or two, but if there are any indications of any sort of abuse or the use of drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism, it's a rage that has been left unaddressed.

3. Constant legal troubles: As I've mentioned earlier, a level of risk-taking behaviour is acceptable and teens usually learn not to repeat those mistakes quite quickly, but if there are repeated encounters with law enforcement and no visible changes in behaviour, then it's a clear indication of both teen rage and unresolved issues.

4. The most simple yet the most effective yardstick... academic decline:

A sudden and significant drop in academic performance can be an indicator of many factors. Apart from the academic challenges aside, it also points towards depression, anxiety, inability to cope with change, being bullied, and so on.

5. Isolation: I've constantly emphasised this aspect as a red flag in most individuals irrespective of whether they are youngsters or adults. Withdrawing from family, friends, and social activities is quite a loud alarm, especially in teens. Also, drug abuse or any other suspicious and shady activities can be noted

The Pune Porsche incident involved a teenager driving a high-end sports car, resulting in a fatal accident and the subsequent actions of altering evidence, blood samples, and the involvement of influential figures definitely highlighted deep-seated issues within the system. This case also exemplifies how unchecked teen rage and a lack of accountability can lead to devastating outcomes.

What could be the ramifications?

Well, one thing is sure: The Pune Porsche incident has sparked debates on whether the current Juvenile Justice Act is sufficient to handle such cases. The act aims to rehabilitate rather than punish young offenders, but there are calls for reforms to address severe offences and ensure accountability.

So, here's my opinion:

I definitely feel that most of our laws are quite outdated and/or need stricter reforms without allowing any loopholes. For example, the boy who drove the Porsche was very close to turning 18. Legally there are several arguments, but sometimes, common sense needs to take precedence.

Also, it was revealed that the teen was just four months away from turning 18. I very firmly, confidently and openly shall give this statement, not only in the Pune Porsche case but in any case that results in rape, murder, death, financial scams or any other illegal activity that can lead a person to either lose their life or livelihood — anyone above 13 is fit enough to face the music in today's day and age.

So to sum it up, here are the top three aspects where there is a need for immediate change in the Juvenile Justice Act.

Stricter penalties for severe offences: Implementing more stringent measures for serious crimes to deter future incidents.

Equal parental accountability: Holding parents equally accountable for all crimes committed and also, in case of failure to provide proper guidance and supervision.

Enhanced rehabilitation programmes: Developing comprehensive rehabilitation programmes that focus on behaviour modification

As I sign off this week, I wish to appeal to all parents to do exactly the opposite of what was followed in the Pune Porsche case by the parents and ensure that you make your children understand the repercussions, face the consequences and experience the severity of their actions.

With regards and urging you all to drive safely,

Your beloved coach,

Adarsh Benakappa Basavaraj.

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