PAINSOF GROW­ING UP

Society - - SOCIETY SAYS SO -

pu­berty or en­ter­ing teen years has al­ways known to be tu­mul­tuous. This is a time in one’s life where they are not chil­dren any more but aren’t even adults. Teen years are full of ques­tions and a strug­gle to fig­ure out one’s iden­tity. As per psychologist Harsheen Arora, changes in these years are not only bi­o­log­i­cal, but also psy­cho­log­i­cal. They strug­gle with is­sues of self­es­teem, the need to be un­der­stood and ac­cepted, hav­ing a sense of worth and want­ing to mat­ter. Teens are known to ex­per­i­ment and take risks be­cause of peer-pres­sure, parental and school ex­pec­ta­tions or me­dia in­flu­ence. Now with them hav­ing ac­cess to the world-wide-web at the tap of a fin­ger, they not only have to learn how to be­have in the real world, but also strug­gle to main­tain an ideal im­age in the vir­tual world. Just like the way we teach our chil­dren to han­dle the real world in or­der to pro­tect them; we need to teach them how to be­have in the vir­tual world too. Look at the case of the boy who lost his life play­ing the deadly Blue Whale game. We need to ed­u­cate chil­dren to as­sume re­spon­si­bil­ity with the power that we hand them. To­day, a child as young as two years ac­cesses YouTube videos on phones and tablets. Yes, it can be mon­i­tored, but let’s take a look at what re­ally hap­pens. When chil­dren spend more time star­ing at a screen, their brain is be­ing highly stim­u­lated as op­posed to when they read a book. From a young age, chil­dren are get­ting used to this kind of stim­u­la­tion, which wires their brain to al­ways crave this ac­tiv­ity. This leads them to have at­ten­tion deficits or hy­per­ac­tiv­ity. They get bored with things quickly and are con­stantly search­ing for the same kind of high. Hence, they do not re­ally learn to value any form of knowl­edge or in­for­ma­tion be­cause

now they don’t have to work hard to ob­tain it, they’d rather just Google it. They have ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion that they might not even be equipped to un­der­stand. Us­ing a screen to com­mu­ni­cate with every­one has led the kids to have is­sues with mak­ing real friends as the only way they are con­fi­dent to com­mu­ni­cate is via a screen. Chil­dren to­day are be­ing deprived of learn­ing to work hard, or value things. With so much ease in­tro­duced into their lives, they are trained to look for the easy way out. In­stead of learn­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity and be­ing in charge, they re­sort to es­cap­ing re­al­ity and us­ing self-harm and sui­cide as ways to com­bat their emo­tional dis­tress. We need to teach the young to strive to be bet­ter than their own self and not some­one else. Low self-es­teem, dis­con­nect­ing with friends, want­ing to be alone, with­drawal from fam­ily mem­bers, re­luc­tance to leave their elec­tronic gad­gets unat­tended, avoid­ing school, changes in per­son­al­ity (anger, sad­ness, cry­ing), dras­tic change in ap­pear­ance or weight, fresh marks on the skin or wear­ing clothes that hide these marks even in sum­mers, are a few signs that may help a care­giver, friend, or fam­ily to iden­tify a need for help. In such cases, it be­comes im­por­tant to make the per­son feel that help is avail­able with­out judg­ment. En­cour­ag­ing ex­press­ing one’s feel­ings either in spo­ken words, a let­ter or a jour­nal helps in re­leas­ing the amped up emotions. Re­in­forc­ing to them that they are brave and have done noth­ing wrong, to chal­lenge their be­lief that they de­serve the pain by show­ing them com­pas­sion and sup­port will help the per­son move a step away from harm. We need to let them know that it is okay to be con­fused or scared; to help them un­der­stand that they are loved and are wor­thy. Par­ents and care­givers can help boost chil­dren’s self-es­teem by tak­ing a pledge with them: That from this mo­ment, I choose to love and ac­cept my­self even with my flaws and short­com­ings. When I feel con­fused, lost or scared, I will close my eyes, take a deep breath and re­mind my­self that in this present mo­ment, ev­ery­thing is fine. I pledge that ev­ery day I will ap­pre­ci­ate my­self rather than be­ing crit­i­cal. Re­mind my­self that I de­serve love and un­der­stand­ing first from my own self. I am im­por­tant and sig­nif­i­cant.

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