You are at a stage in life when you strongly believe that your friends and peers are the most important part of your life. A valid belief, most would say. All of us have gone through this phase when we would spend the most significant part of our day with friends. It is thus understandable when an adolescent comes and says that I want to do this, have that or be this way because my friend does this, possesses this or is like this. However, a line has to be drawn somewhere. Knowing how to make that distinction is the key to developing yourself in a holistic manner as you make the journey to self-discovery.
Students take note
You are who you are: Remember, you are an individual first. You have your own likes and dislikes, interests and disinterests. You do not need to change these for anyone or anything. Be confident about yourself. Doing things just because everyone else is doing them is not the way to be. Being more certain about yourself is essential and this will ensure that you realise your potential and individuality.
No need to emulate: Every individual has a distinct identity. You, me, the person next to you and others in your life are all individuals who differ from each other in various respects. You don’t need to be like anyone else. If someone has to like you, it should be for who you are and not for what they want you to be. The day you are comfortable with yourself, others will be comfortable with you. The key is YOU!
Parents take note
Understand the pressures: You and I have gone through this phase as well. These are normal pressures that every adolescent experiences and you don’t need to attach too much meaning or importance to them. Remember, it is a phase and it will go away the way it did for you and your friends.
So, don’t put additional pressure on your children for something that is a normal part of growing up and developing one’s identity.
Involvement in decision making: What you can do to ensure that your child develops his own identity based on his abilities and interests is providing him or her with learning opportunities. Allow your child to be part of decision-making so that they can learn about themselves.
The author is a psychiatrist, and chief, Department of Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences, Max Healthcare