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Aden - Yasmine El Tohamy - Another teen in UAE reunited with his family after missing for two days.
When Indian national Mohammad Aftab Alam's 15-year-old son went missing for a little over two weeks in June, his family's life turned upside down. The teenager, Mohammed Perwez, had slipped out of his home in Sharjah's Muweilah area after his mother rebuked him for watching YouTube videos late into the night.
He was reunited with his family after locals spotted him walking aimlessly in a residential area in Ajman.
Also read: Pakistan expats help missing Indian teen in UAE
The incident sparked a meaningful conversation about adolescent mental health.
Speaking to Al Khaleej Today on Sunday - when another boy who had run away from home was reunited with his family after two days - Alam said the incident had changed the way he communicated with his son. "Even now, when I think about what happened those 15 days, my eyes tear up. I know he (Perwez) carries a lot of guilt on his shoulders. Also, I know he won't repeat it."
Perwez, too, has changed the way he deals with his family. "He does everything at home. He takes good care of his mother and sisters, and is going to school on time.
However, he doesn't go out much as he fears getting asked a lot of questions."
Alam said he is not angry with his son. "As children grow, sometimes parents raise their voice at them. I realised I needed to be more relaxed with him. Give them some freedom. Earlier, I was very strict; I'd blocked the Internet at home. Now, I allow him to use it as he wishes."
Meanwhile, Perwez, a boy of very few words, said: "My relation with my family has improved. When I think about what I'd done, I still feel very guilty. I won't do it again."
He has a piece of advice for parents. "I think parents should be encouraging. Don't put exam pressure on kids, and give them some freedom."
Originally from India, Dhanusha Gokulan has been working as a journalist for 10 years. She has a keen interest in writing about issues that plague the common person, and will never turn down a human interest story. She completed her Bachelor in Arts in Journalism, Economics, and English Literature from Mangalore University in 2008. In her spare time, she dabbles with some singing/songwriting, loves travelling, and Audible is her favourite mobile application. Tweet at her @wordjunkie88
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