How is it like to be a TEENAGER?
Let me rephrase the saying for you – “Never sail in two boats at the same time because it will disturb the balance and won’t lead you to anywhere”. To cover such a journey with your feet in two different places, is what Teens go through! They are tied to many threads and constantly pulled apart by different vectors. If not fueled correctly, the resulting motion would be stationary.
Teenage is an age sandwiched between the late childhood and an early adulthood. These species would be found roaming around aimlessly, lost in their own world. They would be the cutest creatures to look at, with their childhood innocence still intact. But there would be gushing tides of changes occurring at their mental, hormonal and physical levels. They, themselves being unaware of these modifications, will find it hard to express what they feel. Hence, would most likely be misunderstood!
What are the TEENAGERS expected of?
Since they have recently zoned out of their carefree childhood and stepped into their teen years, the first drama that they will encounter are the physiological changes taking place inside and outside of their bodies. Surging hormones are going to do their work in the best way possible!
This will influence their growing brain and enhance the maturity of secondary sexual characteristics. An alteration in their outer looks and thought processing is a naturally occurring phenomenon, and also the definitive reason held accountable for giving birth to:
- Self – consciousness,
- Mood swings,
- Impulsive behaviour,
- Over – sensitivity,
- Irritability & irresponsibility.
All of this is ought to happen but such sudden and unpredictable features appearing in their kids might be a new experience for parents. The stiff reactions of their teenage children could seem less flexible to get along with. What would be required the most during this phase is great amount of understanding with a touch of patience, especially from the parents.
But what most people end up doing is, build up walls around their teenagers in order to confine their growth and assuming that they might be able to prevent these evolutionary effects. Well, seeing their obedient child transforming into some rebellious teenager is not an easy-to-digest factor for parents. This switching of personalities would obviously scare them and they would try their every wit to keep situation under control. Our makers would never want to lose, after all!
Teenagers would be expected of the compliance & respect, to look nice and cheered up all the time, let parents mould them and steer their directions, do good in school/college, be a superman and what’s left?… Oh yes, handover their authorization to the parents to shape their destiny!!! This might work for some, but this isn’t the ideal manner to treat your teenagers. You cannot expect your teens to be the same as they were kids. Parents need to accept and adapt with the fluctuations that their children are going through.
How the “World Today” is affecting the TEENAGE life?
It’s undoubtedly difficult to be a “Teenager of the 21st century”. You would never be able to understand them even if you put yourself in their shoes! Being a child or an adult is easier as comparative to be a teenager. As this age lies between two extreme ends, they would be expected to hold onto their childhood roots and also act responsible as a would-be adult, all at the same time.
Furthermore, this competitive century would drive these young minds nuts with its rules and reasoning. A study conducted by APA (American Psychological Association) demonstrated that teens have higher levels of stress & anxiety than that of their adult counterparts. The reasons are very obvious for an age like this:
- Social media –
As exciting it is, it can also turn toxic in inappropriate dosages!
The knowledge of technology is vital in this advancing world. The thrilling experience of sharing media, chats, tags and emojis on various social networks is quite addictive. But every sweet flavour has some bitterness, hidden somewhere inside it!
The dependency on social media is increasing among the teenage population because they fear of being left out. They have become plagued by it and enjoy expressing themselves hidden behind the screens. Many are unaware of the misadventures happening over social websites and thus are exposed to cyber bullying, blackmailing, lack of confidence and self-doubting.
In worst scenarios, it might lead to the depression and suicidal tendencies among the teens.
- The obvious changes –
Sexual maturation is a normal process during adolescent period. Unfortunately, such discussions are considered as Taboo in many developing nations like India, South Africa and many Asian & Middle East countries.
This is the phase of expression of their sexualities. Both boys & girls would become self conscious of their looks but on the contrary to this, they would least likely be informed of the hormonal changes and their behaviour. It’s all going to happen very quickly and subtly. The newly formed crushes, attractions, risk taking abilities, rebelliousness would be the end result of these adaptations. This is a time where they can either get friends for life or indulge themselves into some regrets. Blame the raging hormones! These changes can make them do things they never did before.
- The Pressure cooker –
The vicious cycle of the competitive society is taking a toll over these youngsters. They keep oscillating between the expectations of their parents and school. Parents, instead of realising their child’s strengths and weaknesses, demand them to get good grades. School, on the other hand, wants children to stay active in whatever they serve them.
It’s understandable that guardians need to be stern with their children to keep directing them towards the right path. But who knows what’s right or wrong? This is an age to make mistakes and learn from them. This constant pressure would do more harm than good. Their tender emotions might fail to withstand the weight of your dreams and you could even lose the individual that your child was trying to become at the first place!
- Survival of the Fittest –
Considering their amateur brains and thinking ability, Teenagers are incessantly bugged with the idea that whatever they would do, it will never be good enough because there would always be someone coming along better, afterwards. This is an utter discouragement for anyone who’s trying to learn new things in life. Observing the world around, parents would expect their children to be like everyone else, trying hard to make them fit in this whole damn bunch of geniuses.
Pushing someone beyond their capacity would only have adverse effects. In order to satisfy your dreams, teens might end up as the victims of severe depression, anxiety and unnecessary stress and paranoia.
- Peer influence –
“You become what you are surrounded with”.
Same age group can greatly affect the thoughts and behaviour of young teenagers. It would leave more imprints on their mind than anything else. This is an age of experiencing everything for the first time. So whenever you find something you like, your brain responds with excitement by releasing Dopamine. This drives your craving for risks and thrilling adventures, which you cannot resist. These temptations, I tell you!!!
In what ways we can help them survive this Age?
Adolescence is a very tender age and it requires more than enough of compassion, understanding and acceptance. Forcing your ideas on teens and expecting excess from them would have its own repercussions. They need a gentle treatment as their brain is developing everyday and its’ their experiences & reactions that would shape their brain.
They can survive better if we assure them of our support and love. Things that we must do:
- Realistic expectations
Expect the obvious things considering their age. Don’t load them with unnecessary responsibilities. Let them sing and swing with the flow. Spend time with them and try to notice their interests and inclinations. Allow them to dream while painting their wings with the realistic world.
- Refrain from suspecting them
Tricky teenagers are presumed to get into some mild or severe troubles. Start updating them with guidelines in initial years so that nothing befalls on them as a surprise. They already undergo through a constant fear of other teens, teachers, being ridiculed or mocked by others; don’t further oppress them with your suspicions.
- Air of freedom
A private air to breathe is dearest to everyone. The more restricted the teens would be, the more content they will hide from their parents. Free them to explore themselves and the world. It would give them a chance to know what they really are! The independence can only make someone stronger and capable for self decisions.
Give them their freedom while they still think it’s yours to give.
The transition from childhood to adulthood is going to be a drastic one. With all new additional changes summing up into their personalities, teens might find themselves in a lower self esteem. We need to assure them of their individuality, teach them about how to be comfortable and confident with their skin & sexuality. They must happily accept themselves just the way they are.
- Share personal experiences
To know your children better and to extract out the daily events & emotions of their lives, we need to be well acquainted with them. Get them in your confidence by opening your secrets to them. Don’t paint the canvas with all the perfect colours. Show them some gray shades as well to make them learn that the world is not a perfect place and neither they are. Make mistakes, regret, learn and be bold enough to overcome them.
- Open home to the friends
Friends/ Pals/ Squad/ Fam are some popular words used to describe the friendship groups of 21st century. If you find your teen spending more time with their friends, please don’t bother at all. It’s easy for them to get along with someone who shares their age group. Instead, try and get to know their families, invite them home, and arrange outings for them together. This would also give you a chance of monitoring their company.
Reward them when they bring home trophies or grades. Gift them something when they cook a special meal for you or help you with your work. Say nice things to them when they try to do something for you but fail miserably at it. Embrace both their successes & failures. These small appreciations would encourage their wits and also strength the mutual trust and bonding.
- Minimise the quarrels
Teenage mood swings and impulsive behaviour would give birth to numerous misunderstandings. Don’t give fuel to their fire of rebelliousness by inviting them to the least required arguments. Their cognitive development is slow during these years and it matures with age. Stop judging and correcting them for their mistakes, all the time. It’s an age to shower empathy and not force punishments.
What definitely must NOT be done?
- Don’t limit your children to your own learning for they were born in different time. Loosen their strings and let them wander, they will find their destination at the end. Never try to curb down their aspirations.
- The education has become more practical now. Don’t ill – inform them of the history or myths. Educate them and learn with them. Keep pace with the time.
- Put a Full stop to the ritual of comparison. Every teenager is a unique identity and we must accept their strengths and limitations. No one can become perfect. Prepare yourself and also make your children ready to shine even in their lows.
- Set them free to make their own choices. Don’t forbid them of the adventures. Let them face the challenges, analyse, and make their own decisions. Distance is necessary to grow out of the comfort zones.
- Criticism has rarely ever helped anyone. I personally feel taken aback when someone keep criticizing me in a row.It has more negative and heart- wrenching effects than encouragement. Don’t disapprove of their decisions. You are not an immortal entity and hence, won’t be there forever to make decisions on their behalf.
A reminder for the TEENAGERS
“Be water, my Friend – be amorphous and adaptable, don’t let limits restrain you.”
At a sensitive age like this, anyone can play with your heart & mind, but try to keep your soul, pure and intact. That’s the most powerful thing of your existence. Know yourself and try to become one.
Your parents are the reason you are breathing today. There should be an immense respect and love for them in your hearts. But don’t get carried away! Your life is completely your responsibility. Take charge of your decisions, no matter how many times you fail, at least you would get to know what not to repeat again. Learn the basics from them but be wise enough to apply it with your own acquired knowledge. Don’t blindfold yourself; widen your vision because there’s an ocean of content to learn about.
At home, school, public places and in many other odd situations, you can find yourself draining out and alone. Be your own companion. Entertain yourself. Friends and families is a great pleasure to be with but you would find yourself the most comfortable with the inner you. Believe me, that person can scan you and show you the mirror!
Never try to portray yourself as an epitome of perfection. Humans look beautiful with their imperfections; it’s the objects which need to be perfect. So how do you want to see yourself as? People would tell you not to make mistakes. Well, we won’t recommend any such thing. You must make mistakes, do blunders which no one can ever imagine, but just BE YOURSELF. The best teachers are the experiences that time teaches you. Learn from them!
Keep flowing like the water. Be as smooth & peaceful as its stream but don’t forget to change your directions with that turbulence, when required.
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