Posts Tagged ‘help’

The story of what I gained and what I lost

Every child is unique. Each person has a strength that may not necessarily be the same as others. For children going through peer pressure, this can sometimes be hard to see. In order to be accepted within their friend circle, children want to be like their friends. Being different means rejection for them!

I passed through such a phase myself. I was exceptionally bright at academics, due to a strong work ethic set by my mother since a very early age. However, I was not a physically strong child. I also did not have any siblings until I was nine years old, when I was blessed with a brother. Due to that, my formative years were spent mostly reading or engaging in some kind of intellectual activity. During the evening, when a couple of my friends came over, we usually played some creative game that had to do less with physical exercise and more with mental activity. And I loved it.

At school, it was a different story though. My peer group was athletic and very “street-smart”, so to speak. They seemed to know a lot of social ways whereas I was a star only in the classroom. When it came to playground and other social activities, no matter how much I tried to “be like them”, I was still the odd person out. I was the butt of jokes and everyone seemed to be united in making fun of me. When dividing teams, I was always the unwanted one as I didn’t really bring much athletic ability.

It was an intense and frustrating struggle to cope with this. At the age when friendships and socialization mean a lot to a child, having no real friends was not a pleasant situation. On the outside, I kept showing a strong interest in my friends, but on the inside, I started being lonesome.

But just like every individual makes adaptations for survival, I started to make mine. I started to build a shell around me. Being good only at academics started being enough for me. My hobbies were reading and writing. I stopped trying to be good at anything else, although I secretly did wish that I was, when I looked at my classmates. Since it was embarrassing for me to play with others as I had no skills to show off, I started avoiding my friends. Whenever someone else told me that they needed help with something and came to talk to me, I felt very uncomfortable and apprehensive as I anticipated ridicule.

Although I managed to stay clear of a lot of embarrassing situations, yet this lonesome lifestyle had a toll on my personality. I was not able to shape and sharpen my social skills. I went into isolation when any guests arrived and felt really uncomfortable getting along with others. I did not ask for help when it would have been helpful; I did not get a chance to explore the multi-faceted nature of people; and I even fantasized schemes against others when my brain was idle, as I had been suffering at the hands of others. Of course, these schemes never came to fruition (thankfully in retrospection) as I did not step out of my own shell to carry those plans out.

Through my initial experience, I was not able to open myself up for a lot of successes that could have been mine. Adolescence struck soon enough and it became even harder to deal with the changing hormones as well as changing schools and friends. I was apprehensive of approaching and befriending people for the fear that it would only lead to me being bullied and hurt. My overall performance started to decline in pre-University years because I couldn’t balance the intense course work as well as my emotional tension that came with the desire to still be a part of the peer circle.

Fortunately for me, by the time I entered University, I had found a way to be at peace with myself. I started discovering my own strengths as a result of being a “loner” for a long time. Putting those strengths to use, I turned into a more mature person with goals for myself and strong personal values and morals. This helped me re-achieve my academic brilliance with the understanding that each individual’s strength is different.

These skills have stayed with me since then. But I do feel sad for some irreversible losses of my personality. I still don’t feel socially confident and always feel apprehensive of expressing myself for the fear of being ridiculed. If someone had seen through my childhood issues at the time they were occurring, I might have been a stronger person today.

In case of children who go through such issues, family members probably consider the child’s social incompetence as a flaw in the child itself instead of an external issue that can be resolved with timely intervention. They lecture and discipline the child and feel frustrated on receiving no positive response. I was often questioned as to why I did not like to dance at family gatherings and why I preferred being a ‘bookworm’, and I received several ‘guidance sessions’ with family members to learn the ‘wisdom of the world’, but what I needed at that point was someone who could  read the hidden messages being sent out by my actions.

A good option might be to dwell deeper on what embarrasses the child, what gives him pleasure and what are his fears? The child’s indifferent behaviour could be a survival mechanism used for coping with a hostile world. In that case, your child needs help and parents are then the most important characters in shaping the journey that would determine the child’s life.

Nivedita Shori


Read Full Post »

Children make a lot of independent choices and take many decisions every day. Whether it is something as simple as going out to play or something as big as what career they choose, all these decisions have a basis in the mind of the child.

We often question our children’s decisions. We either agree with them or disagree. Yet, we do not pause to study their choices. It does not occur to us that whatever they choose is a reflection of who they are and what their experiences have been. Sometimes, studying their decisions can give us important insights into what a child might be going through.

Instead of focusing on the surface of their decisions and telling them why it is wrong or correct, at times it is more valuable to focus on what might be their reasoning behind doing so. For instance, if they want to stay out of social gatherings, they might be having some unpleasant social experiences; if they have recently decided to play a lot of football, they might have found a role model in their sports teacher; if they are opting for a major change in their profession, they might be feeling suffocated where they are.

As guides and counselors, our job is to study and support our children at all times. By going deeper into their decisions, we might be able to provide the right assistance at the right time, to help them overcome their hurdles and to nourish their personalities.

Read Full Post »