Every stage in life is fraught with a unique set of challenges and opportunities. And adolescence is no exception. “The biggest challenge of adolescence is that of making the right choices,” says Dr Jitendra Nagpal, senior psychiatrist at Moolchand Hospital.
“This is the age when young boys and girls start asserting their individuality,” shares Nagpal. However, it is clearly the most difficult period in one’s life to arrive at the right choices. “And this is not just because these young men and women are not adequately mature to always know right from wrong. Today, the problem of making the right choices gets compounded by the simple fact that there is so much to choose from,” explains Nagpal.
Be it technology platforms, products, social and political ideologies or extracurricular activities, today’s times are all about variety and contrasts. While the right choices can help in personality development the wrong choices can have adverse repercussions on one’s overall development. So on the surface, the relationship of choice and adolescence is a daunting one. “With a positive mindset, however, and a little support from parents and teachers the challenge can be reversed into a fantastic opportunity of self awareness and growth,” says Nagpal.
It is not an exaggeration to say that supportive parents are a prerequisite to a meaningful journey of self growth and discovery through choices. As a first step parents should understand that the choices and opinions that their children make at this stage are unlikely to be permanent.
Therefore, parents should not be unduly stressed if their children make inappropriate choices. Talking about some ways in which every adolescent girl and boy can celebrate this stage, Mona Salaria, who teaches biology at Mount Abu International School in Rohini, says, “It is an interesting time in one’s life to observe and understand the connection between the mind and the body. After all this is a time when the human body goes through a major phase of transition that invariably impacts overall temperament. These changes can sometimes be overwhelming, frustrating and even confusing. Parents and teachers should encourage every youngster to recognise and celebrate these changes.” Instead of stressing on ‘why things are not feeling right’ youngsters should be encouraged to understand themselves better by identifying the triggers for various moods and feelings that sometimes defy logic.
Parents can be best friends too
# Instead of fretting about unwanted behaviour patterns parents should try and understand what is causing their child to behave in a particular fashion.
# Adolescence is a stage in life when people embark on a journey of filtering wrong options before understanding and accepting what works best for them.Hence parents # should be patient with their children and not admonish or embarass them for wrong choices
# Every adolescent has a unique need for autonomy and parental support. Parents need to understand this and balance the act of granting freedom and support