Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017

Adolescence

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November 30, 2017

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Adolescence

As parents or teachers we have to change our relationships with these children for the better. The lack of interaction between young people and adults seems to be a major cause of the anti-social trends. If teachers and parents were to have open lines of communication with the children, were to give them more support it is possible that much of the tension and hostility that now exists between adults and teenagers will diminish.

Adolescence is a time where one goes through drastic changes as he/ she transitions from a child to an adult. It is an understatement to say the adolescents’ feelings towards parents, teachers and other authoritative figures are mixed. They are in constant rebellion trying to understand and accept their own self, needs and aspirations while trying to balance them with the expectations of the elders around. On the one hand, they feel the need for love and respect and recognise the need of guidance, support and on the other hand, they long for independence, self sufficiency and resent having to ask for permissions, assistance or direction. These latter feelings often lead to defiance and rebelliousness which are generally supported and applauded by the peers.

The fact that adolescents desperately need acceptance they get from peers gives the group great power. Adolescence is the stage during which the behaviour, actions, thoughts are all based on meeting expectations of friends. They will do what their friends do – be it the norms of behaviour, choice of clothes, hairstyle, language -everything will be dictated by the friends – the peers.
Since time immemorial, adolescents have sought to proclaim and attain adult status. How they long for independence from their parents and adults. ‘We want to feel free’, ‘leave us alone’, ‘why do you ask so many questions’, ‘I will do as I want’, ‘give me some space’, are familiar sounds to the parents of growing children.

Many a time this behaviour is to get attention from or to tease the parents, or a form of experimentation or curiosity and some of it is a smokescreen to cover up feelings of inadequacy and insecurity. This behaviour and phase is often also characterised by activities that are contrary to the norms of the household, school or society at large. Attempts to smoke or drink are ways of expressing these rebellious feelings.

In their attempt to prove themselves and their peers that are truly liberated from the constraints of adult society, many adolescents come into conflict with the law through minor actions like shoplifting or underage driving. Certainly, there is a relationship between such delinquencies and teenage peer groups; but of greater importance is the relationship between these individuals and adult society.

As parents or teachers we have to change our relationships with these children for the better. The lack of interaction between young people and adults seems to be a major cause of the anti-social trends. If teachers and parents were to have open lines of communication with the children, were to give them more support it is possible that much of the tension and hostility that now exists between adults and teenagers will diminish.

Dr Shayama ChonaDr Shayama Chona, is the former Principal of Delhi Public School, R K Puram, New Delhi; Founder President of Tamana (NGO for physically & mentally handicapped children); Founder of Anubhav Shiksha Kendra (a school for the under-privileged); she has been a member of 96 Advisory Boards and Committees; she has been nominated to Managing Committees of 46 schools and other educational institutions; she has been named in the Limca Book of Records 2007. She has been awarded the State Award for Services in Education 1993, National Award for Services as a Teacher of Outstanding Merit 1994, National Award for Outstanding Performance for Welfare of People with Disabilities 1997, Padma Shri 1999, Padma Bhushan 2008, and 49 other awards. She lives at C10/8, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi-110057. Email: shayamachona@gmail.com, tamanapresident@gmail.com

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