The teenage years are an exciting time of life, although these years can also be challenging. Teenagers have to face a lot of problems. They suffer from low self-esteem and develop stress and depression. They feel unable to take a decision and get confused. They lack enthusiasm and feel a lot of pressure to cope with peer and adult expectations.
Generally, they do not know how to deal with their problems yet they hesitate to talk to their parents. They rely on their friends and the internet to find the solution to their problems.
However, friends and the internet do not always give the right answers. As a result, teenagers remain entangled with their problems and sometimes get into bigger troubles.
If you are frustrated because:
- You have not received opportunities,
- You have been stopped by obstacles that prevent you from making changes,
- You are discouraged by failures,
- You are ashamed of making mistakes,
- You are disappointed in making the wrong choices,
- You are anxious about the things that are not working in your life,
Then you are just a human. We all feel these things sometimes. A fighter, however, is not limited to them.
So here are the tips to make these years, from 15 to 18 the most exciting and enjoyable time in anyone’s life:
1 A wise selection of friends is important:
Small children do things as per their parents’ guidance, but as they grow older, their cognitive abilities develop and get stronger and they start believing that their own thinking is always right. As a result, they do not seek parents’ or guardians’ advice. Consequently, parents are forced to try to get information. They want to know what their child is involved in and want some control over their lives. This leads them to impose rules and limits on the freedom of their teenage children.
On the other hand, teenagers develop a need to have independence. This creates conflict between parents and children and as a result, sometimes teenagers get into wrong friendships because they trust their friends more. Since children trust friends more, friends play a major role in building their personality so it is important to choose friends wisely.
2 Stay away from Peer pressure:
Reasons why teenagers face peer pressure:
- They want to copy other children in order to get acceptance from them. Therefore, they want to have those things which other children have.
- They fear rejection and mockery by their peer group, hence sometimes they are forced to indulge in unethical practices like smoking, substance use, Sex etc.
- Their use of social media and the internet can be unsafe due to peer pressure.
All the above things are not going to help anyone anyway. Hence, it is good to be friendly with everyone but one should never lose one’s identity.
3 Follow safety rules while driving:
- Do not use headphones, or mobile phones while driving. Do not take your eyes off the road, even a moment and do not use the radio while driving. It is unsafe to drive while talking as it diverts the mind and you can hurt yourself or others.
- Do not drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This is both unsafe and illegal. Do not drive when you are feeling unwell.
- The use of seat belts is a must for both drivers and passengers.
4 Get regular health checkups:
- Teenagers generally suffer from stress and depression. So by a routine health check-up, the doctor will be able to identify such problems.
- There are other problems with delayed growth, irregular appetite, body image issues, substance use, and sex which also can be discussed with the doctors without any fear.
- As a teenager, seeing a dentist and eye specialist once a year is also recommended.
- Have a healthy lifestyle:
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet, preferably home-cooked food. Gather knowledge about the nutritive value of food.
- Incorporate some exercises into the daily routine.
- Get enough good night’s sleep.
- Limit the time spent on social media and the internet.
- Consult professional counsellors:
Whenever you are stuck up in some problems which you are not able to discuss with your parents or guardians, discuss them with a professional counsellor. They will advise you more maturely then your peer group because counsellors have both experience and knowledge of such issues.
- Career counselling:
Even if you have decided on your career, you must consult a good career counsellor for his expert opinion regarding your choice. In case you have not yet decided what to do, you must meet the counsellor for sure.
- Learn how and when to say ‘No’:
Mostly teenagers feel uncomfortable saying no to their friends and as a result, they do things which they do not like.
So here are tips to say No:
- Say no politely and assertively. Put a genuine smile on your face.
- If required repeat your words. Words like excuse me or sorry should be used.
- If still required, tell the reason. The reason can be manipulated.
- Learn how to deal with Bullying:
Bullying is an act of a person harming and scaring someone who is weaker and alone. People who are strong gang up to harm the weaker ones. This starts with the children in schools.
The students, who are victims of bullying become frustrated, and depressed and develop low self-esteem and hatred. The psychology of the child becomes complicated and it becomes very difficult to come out of negativity from this experience.
Both boys and girls are involved in the act. It should be stopped completely from the school and school authorities must maintain the strict discipline to rule out its possibilities.
However, it does not happen. So here are a few tips to face such negative experiences:
- Talk back boldly even if you feel scared, Use the phrases “Leave me alone’ or ‘do not try to scare me.’
- Walk away from the place
- Tell an adult, parents, teachers or school counsellor. A parent or teacher can then take steps to stop the bullying.
- Speak up when you see someone else being bullied. If it is too bad, walk away and tell an adult.
- Take immediate action so that it does not escalate and worsens.
- Stress and anxiety:
Stress can come from outside, such as family, friends, and school. It can also come from children themselves. Just like adults, children may expect too much of themselves and then feel stressed when they feel that they have failed.
When a child is under stress symptoms like feeling nervous or anxious, feeling tired, procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities and feeling overwhelmed, having negative thoughts and experiencing changes in sleeping habits are shown. Changes in eating habits (eating too much or too little) are also seen in stress.
Tips to manage stress and anxiety:
- Write in your journal: Children often find it helpful to write about the things that are bothering them.
- Take deep breaths: Breath in slowly to the count of three and then breathe out slowly to the count of three. Repeat three times to relax your body and mind.
- Talk about your feelings. Everyone in life experiences different emotions at different phases of life. Hence it is just fine to have such emotions. You need to express them in constructive ways.
- Let go of being perfect: Remember humans can make mistakes. Mistakes are just part of learning.
- Use humour. It reduces stress and helps us look at challenging situations with a positive outlook.
- Stop and re-think: When things go wrong, try not to jump to conclusions. Ask yourself:
“How differently can I think about this?”
“What are those things which I can control?”
“How differently can I plan?” Take a moment before you respond.
- Work on developing Inner strength:
Inner strength, often called “resilience,” is the ability to cope with the stressful situations that life throws at everyone. Everyone is born with this capacity and one should work on it throughout our life.
Building inner strength begins with simple actions or thoughts, such as planning for what to do next and learning to accept changes in lives. Inner strength helps a person face problems in life.
Children who have inner strength:
- They grow into healthy, happy adults, even in the face of poverty, divorce, or family tragedy.
- They face peer pressure positively so they can avoid using drugs, drinking alcohol, and smoking.
- They are confident to face criticism.
- They are confident when meeting new people.
- They like to volunteer for others.
- They develop into loving and optimistic persons in life.
How to develop Inner strength:
- Accept that the things change.
- Look at change as a challenge rather than a threat.
- You cannot change what happens, but you can change how you feel about it.
- Find what is positive in stressful situations and learn from the situation.
- See the funny side of bad situations.
- Meet with people who make you feel better.
- Build relationships with people who are loving and caring for you and your family. Help them and do not hesitate to seek their help.
- At the time of any problem, brainstorm to get the solutions. Ask friends for suggestions.
- For your self-confidence, list the things you have achieved in your life or those that make you proud. Take good care of yourself.
- Be grateful for the good you see around yourself.
“Whenever something negative happens to you, there is a deep lesson concealed within it.” ~Eckhart Tolle
Self-esteem is, a person’s belief in himself or herself. The self-esteem of a person is reflected by a person’s day-to-day activities. How positively and productively he or she does the things in life depends on his /her core belief in himself/ herself. Although self-esteem varies from time to time, the pattern usually leans toward a healthy or unhealthy view of self. A person achieves real success in life only when he/she has healthy self-esteem.
Although building self-esteem is a lifelong process, the foundation of self-esteem should be established in childhood by elders. However, a teenager can develop this virtue of his own by being aware of a few things which he/she usually ignores.
Acknowledge the love and affection of parents and guardians. Parents are always there to help and guide you. Hence, understand and accept them with their shortcomings. They are also humans who can make mistakes.
Tips to develop healthy self-esteem:
- See yourself as a special person and take good care of yourself. You should learn the most important aspect of life which is self-love and so accept yourself with all your good as well as not-so-good things. Treat yourself as a human being who can make mistakes.
- Talk to someone close to whom you can share your thoughts. You must make some close friends and relatives with whom you can share everything you are going through in your life. Talk to your parents as much as you can and learn how to disagree with them.
- Take a few positive challenges like having a positive competition with the peer group. Set a new limit for yourself.
- Learn to embrace criticism. Take it as feedback on your performance and use it to improve the performance.
- Checklist to know whether you have depression:
Symptoms of depression
- A child may be depressed if he or she:
- He is irritable, sad, withdrawn, or bored most of the time.
- Does not take pleasure in things he or she used to enjoy.
- Loses or gains weight.
- Sleeps too much or too little.
- Feels hopeless, worthless, or guilty.
- Has trouble concentrating, thinking, or making decisions.
- Thinks about death or suicide a lot.
The symptoms of depression are often overlooked at first. It can be hard to see that symptoms are all part of the same problem.
Whether depression is mild or severe, there are treatments that can help.
Teens may benefit from counselling. It can help them change negative thoughts that make them feel bad.
Medicine may be an option if the child is very depressed. Combining antidepressant medicine with counselling often works best. A child with severe depression may need to be treated in the hospital.
A thing that can be really helpful in coming out of depression is developing an attitude of service. If anyone focuses on doing something for the betterment of society, he can make his life meaningful and purposeful. And his focus shifts toward a bigger purpose rather than thinking only about his own himself. Societies, where values of service, sacrifice and community participation are there, do not have these issues of depression and suicides. The Sikh community is a great example of this.
Life is a combination of both happiness and pain. Pain is unavoidable, but suffering is optional. Having a positive outlook on life gives you the strength to move forward through painful times. Remember that your life has meaning to this world. With all its infinite possibilities, this life is a gift for everyone. It can become a source of happiness not just for oneself, but for many others as well.
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