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Posts Tagged ‘parents’

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

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Video games have turned into a very significant technological invention. Children are often seen spending hours glued to these games. As we enter a highly digitalized era, it is interesting to note that these games that were once thought to be only a source of entertainment have now been proven by researchers to have an educational value too. They can help build the technological and intellectual skills which will be a vital requirement that these kids need as adults. Studies have indicated that video games can enhance self-esteem and confidence, the ability to visualize and coordinate and help build language and problem-solving skills.

It might be more important however, to be cautious of the negative effects that video games can bring. Just like other technological devices, the wholesome picture of video games is also not free from risks. Besides the obvious adverse effects like addiction and eye-strain, these games come with some other severe setbacks:

  • Excessive video gaming takes away time from other developmentally important activities like family and peer interactions, Y school work, physical activity and intellectual or vocational hobbies. It could thus hinder personality development.
  • About three-fourth of the video games have violent content. Engaging in them for extended periods of time can lead to increased aggressive thoughts, feelings and behaviours among kids.

Some checkpoints that might help to ensure good video-gaming behaviour:

  • Set up rules for video game usage specifying the time allowed.
  • Monitor children when they play to know what they’re playing.
  • If general aggressive behaviour is noticeable in children, consider checking the content of their video games.
  • Give importance to family time where everyone leaves their personal work or hobbies aside to chat, laugh, eat and celebrate.
  • Model good alternative leisure activities.
  • Turn video-games into teachable moments by discussing some situations that kids come across while playing.

Keeping in mind the positive and negative effects of technologies like video games, a little bit of care and conscious effort could help in making sure we harness only the advantages.

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Teenage is a very tough stage of life. Not only do teenagers experience physical and emotional challenges but also behavioural uniqueness. Research has proven that the way teenagers act is not just a result of “tantrums, whims and fancies”. The root cause of their behaviour actually lies in the way their brain processes information. Usually they do not have much control of it.

However, what they need at this stage is to see appropriate behaviour and models around them, besides a caring and empathetic environment. That way, as soon as their brain is ready to use the newly formed connections they will know how to do the right thing as they would already have experienced this before.

Take a peek into the teenage mind in this video:

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Sometimes children want to do things that parents disapprove of. Moms and Dads make decisions and try to impose this on their kids. Of course, they do this with all good intentions.

Well, if you’ve tried doing this with teenagers, you probably know that they need their own space and seem to have their own ‘logic’ for things. What’s fortunate is that they usually do realize in the end that they were making a mistake.

Anyway, here’s a cute song by Clique Girlz for you to enjoy. Hear and read the perspective of a teenager yourself!

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How often do your kids see you having fun? If you are fond of singing loudly when you take a shower, do your children hear you doing that? If you like to shout out with pleasure when your favourite team scores in the match, does your family hear you do it? If you love cracking jokes, do you do it with your kids frequently or have you just saved that talent for guests and parties?

Have you ever thought that life will pass by us and we will keep trying to gather things – some meaningful, others not; or we will keep preaching – some things that we ourselves practise, others which we don’t; or we will keep working endlessly – sometimes towards a purposeful goal and at other times just aimlessly? In all of this, we forget the most important thing of our wonderful life. The journey!

We need to enjoy every moment of life. After growing up, we don’t have to stop having fun. The most important thing we can teach our kids is to live life joyously. We also need to model this. Words are hollow if there is nothing to prove them. So in this new year, let’s resolve to enjoy every moment, thereby giving our children a chance to see that life is wonderful if we approach it with the right attitude.

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It has been proven that kids do better at school and at studies when their parents spend time with them at home. Even though a lot of parents understand this, most of them find it hard to implement. Reasons could be several – lack of time, lack of interest or even the lack of understanding about how this should be done.

 Well, to begin with, here are some pointers to get started:

  •  Designate a study area for the child with adequate lighting and minimum distractions. To do well in studies, kids need to be away from family chatter, siblings’ activities and telephone locations. This is one of the first steps in helping a child with his or her homework.
  • In consultation with the child, set up a schedule when you will be sitting with him, focussing not only on the start time but also the end time. Children have a certain attention span. Younger children cannot absorb new learning after 10 to 15 minutes. If the work is made to stretch for too long, you and especially the child might lose interest for future meetings.
  • Approach the situation with happiness. Turn the study time into a pleasant experience by starting with an interesting educative discussion or an interesting mind-stretching exercise that you can both do together in the end.
  • Try out various types of activities during your meeting. Make it interesting for the child as well as yourself. You don’t have to show during this time that you’re the boss. Sometimes you could read the textbook aloud for them and even ask them to spot mistakes of pronunciation.

 These few minutes of your time spent with your children cannot only help them succeed academically, but can end up being an important part of your relationship and a memory to cherish for the future!

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