ADOLESCENCE- not a drop in water but water in a drop
Written By: The Progressive Teacher|
May 24, 2017|
Teens are becoming a widely discussed subject today as their changing lifestyles are bringing about a lot of change in the world. In the past, the lifestyle of teenagers was not the same as of now. In those days most of the teens were more interested in studies, sports, hobbies and day to day activities. But today it is different. Today, teenage life is all about movies, parties, mobile addiction, etc.
The scenario regarding teenagers in 1970s and 1980s — mostly children belonged to joint families or nuclear families where the mother was the home maker and children spent most of the time with their mother or father or grandparents. The affection and values of the family members impacted them which included both respect and fear. There was very little scope for the child to be lonely. The conversation among the family members and bonding with siblings built confidence and awareness in teens. The absence of internet and television in most of the homes gave scope for teens to play games which gave physical exercise and relief from stress, bonding with friends, learning tolerance and sharing. The movies made were socially appropriate with less violence. The spare time available in the evenings provided scope to interact with parents and grandparents; this helped not only in inculcation of good habits or values but also helped in tackling real life situations.
In the present generation, there are many contrasting features in the life of a teenager like the transformation of most of the joint families into nuclear families. Mostly both the parents are working, so the child spends time alone or with only siblings at home. This gives scope for children to spend time with electronic gadgets, television, internet, etc. All these have ill effects on children like eye sight problems, obesity, lethargy, insecurity, decrease of thinking skills and creativity, lower retention, etc. The pressure put by parents to excel and peer pressure is developing a mind set of intolerance and unhealthy competition in children. The influence of media like negative news every day in the newspapers, movies and television programmes not appropriate to age , easy access to internet no doubt influence the thinking of the teenagers and disturbs their mind. Physically the body undergoes many changes in teenage due to the release of hormones and this also results in stress both physical and mental.
Every parent will agree that in their teenage they were not as smart as their children are and it is applicable to next older generation too. Thus it is observed that generation after generation the intelligence of children or teenagers is higher as compared to the previous generation. If we look at present day teenagers, the confidence levels, communication skills, independent thinking, ambition, learning skills like sport or art are very high compared to their parents. As per Darwin’s theory of survival of the fittest, teenagers are trying to prove themselves to be the best and win fame as early as possible. But in this race for fame and money the attachments or bonding with family, values and traditions are losing out. If the multitalented teens are carefully moulded, they can become balanced and productive adults. It is vital for parents to spend valuable time with teens, to understand them by placing themselves in their shoes and at the same time explaining to them what is right and what is wrong. Importance of mutual understanding can be discussed. In building confidence and trusting parents, situations can be created to give freedom to teenagers to take their own decisions. Psychologists say that it is difficult to teach values and it is certainly true that children are honest and considerate. The best way children learn values, is by observing what parents do, and draw conclusions. Children observe what parents do, and really value and develop value system of their own. Along with parents, peers influence teenagers. Research says that the child and parent bond must be strong so that the opinion of peers is filtered through the values. The working parents can plan their day in such a way that the available time is spent qualitatively with teens. It is rightly said at home parent is the teacher and at school teacher is the parent. The role of parents and teachers is most vital in shaping a good person in the society. Teachers handling teenagers can take the help of a counselor or psychologist of the school to get them on the right track.
Television, movies, books, peers, religious institutes are all strong tutors regarding values, but no matter how strong these cultural forces, most teenagers still point to their parents as the primary source of their strength and values. Thus, quality time spent by parents, concern, acceptance of views or feelings of teens, teaching them to accept ‘no’ in life, relating to them their experiences so as to have awareness of life situations, will develop a strong and healthy bond between parents and teens with more scope to remove negativity and develop positive attitude. An ear to hear is what teenagers search for and with whom they are comfortable. It is the responsibility of parents to provide a healthy and congenial atmosphere at home so that there is no scope for teenagers to get diverted from academics, life skills and values. How many teenagers do we know, who say ‘my best friend is my parent’.
The highly energetic teens must learn a sport or any art form (music, dance, etc) so that their energy is spent constructively and their fast thinking brain remains engaged. These activities help the teens to learn aesthetic skills, overcome restless attitude and give stability to the body physically and mentally. The stress caused due to various reasons can be easily overcome, if the teens are involved at least for an hour in these co-curricular activities every day so that they become physically fit and their concentration in academics can be improved.
Empathy and values cannot be taught. Teenagers can learn empathy and pick up values if they are treated empathetically. Mahatma Gandhi – ‘You must be the change, you wish to see in the world’.
Surekha Nayani, M.Sc (Chemistry),B.Ed has fifteen years of teaching experience in CBSE schools and has been teaching Physics and Chemistry to secondary school students.
Presently, she is working as Head of the Department of Science and also as CBSE Co-ordinator in Delhi Public School, Nacharam, Hyderabad. As HOD she trains teachers in teaching-learning processes like developing and presentation of content, preparation of worksheets and question papers, designing CCE etc. and also conducts workshops on various aspects of teaching science.
She has written articles on teaching science by focusing on creative methodologies which arouse interest in the subject. She strongly believes that every teacher should emphasise proper planning, preparation and effective presentation of subject matter, every day and in every class with commitment which influences and empowers student learning.