Ask our counsellor

Ask our counsellor

Tread with care when dealing with teenagers

Phyllis Farias

My tuition teacher used to always commence the class by making fun of a student before leading up to the topic of the day. One day, he made fun of me and humiliated me in front of the entire class after which I was branded “foolish” by everyone. When I failed to answer a question, he hit me with a stick. As a result, I began doubting my abilities. I was very disturbed and could not concentrate on my studies. I did not tell my parents as I thought it was my fault that I could not answer his question. He continued to embarrass me. I also noticed that he never poked fun at good-looking students. I scored 95 per cent in 10th standard but only 70 per cent in 2nd PUC. I feel like taking revenge. I have lost my self confidence and I want it back now. I How do I do this?
Angry student

Dear  student,
You are upset, hurt and angry just as anyone in your position would be. Most tuition teachers want results at any cost as their income depends on it. Sometimes, they try to achieve their goals at the cost of the psychological well being of their students.  In  circumstances such as these my advice would be to communicate with your parents or any other significant adult.  Firm talking, a police complaint, especially for the corporal punishment, withdrawal from the class in protest could help.  
Even now, you can tell your parents about the entire episode. They can help you decide what to do about it, especially as you are worried that others could face the same treatment as you did. You can tell yourself that it has been a learning experience and that you will never give anyone the power to make you feel small. You say you have lost your self-confidence and want it back. Where will you go looking for it? It is right there inside you.
List your strengths and consider the episode as a mere speed breaker in your life. As for not being good looking - even the most ordinary looking person can be beautiful if there is enthusiasm and zest for life.
Move forward with a spring in your step for the world is waiting for you.

Dear Madam,
My younger sister, who is studying in 10th standard, has started speaking to a boy on the sly. Initially, we were unaware of this. Once we found out, we tried to speak to her about it.
She then stopped speaking to him for a few days. Now, as school has re-opened she and her  friend have started meeting near her school. I tried talking to her again in vain. She wants to know what is wrong with what she is doing. As a result of the confrontation, she has turned cold towards us and indifferent to her studies. The boy stays near our house. So she sits around waiting to catch a glimpse of him. Please help us solve this problem. She needs to concentrate on her education.
Star T

Dear Star,
It is very important how you and the family handle her feelings. It is common for a teenager to turn rebellious when restricted. She may do exactly what you are trying to prevent her from doing. The best way is to open up lines of communication. The communication should be warm and friendly. Get her to talk about her feelings, and acknowledge her feelings without being judgmental. When this happens, she will realise that you are not an enemy who wants to curtail her freedom, and she will be more open to suggestion. Help her put down in writing the pros and cons of such a relationship at this stage of her life. Do not criticise her as a person. Instead, highlight the behaviour that needs to be changed. Sometimes, when young people do not feel loved at home, they go in search of love outside the home, often with the wrong people.

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