Have a realistic plan

Have a realistic plan
Dear Madam,

I am a college student. I have a friend who is very close to me and even shares her secrets. But when we are in a group she keeps a distance and mingles more with others. Sometimes, it makes me feel sad and I don’t know why she does this. Can you please help me with this?


Dear Aishwarya,
I think it will be very helpful for you to talk to a counsellor about this. Sometimes, these fears and possessiveness stem from our own insecurities about ourselves. Often we start looking for validation in our friendships. And so feel concerned if our friends talk to others. We start expecting our friendships to be exclusive, which puts too much pressure on the friendship. The reality is that people can be friendly with many different people at the same time, and not at the expense of each other. So think about it. What are your insecurities? What are your fears? What is your worst fear that is driving this? Talk to a counsellor. It will help you gain insight into yourself, and that is the path for self-growth.

Dear Madam,

I am a II PUC (Arts) student. I took up arts despite opposition from my family. I am really interested in singing, dancing and painting. I am not financially well off and hence, I have not been able to develop the necessary skills in these fields. I am confused about my future as I don’t have skills in my field of interest. But I have big dreams. Please guide.

A student

Dear student,
I am not a career counsellor so cannot give you any guidance on what career will be best for you, or how you should go about pursuing your career, and which is the best place to do it. However, while it is good to dream big, often to achieve it and get there, you need to break it up into smaller goals that you would need to reach to fulfil that big dream. And when you define each small goal you get a chance to assess whether your larger goal is realistic and achievable or not. Often to excel in a field, you need to have a passion and a skill in that field, and you need to be willing to put in a lot of hard work and effort in that field to cross each milestone.

Success is not achieved based on dreams alone, but on a realistic and implementable plan to get there. So assess what is realistic given your circumstances, define your path based on that, and then stay focused on the path.

Dear Madam,

There is a 15-year-old boy
in our neighbourhood from an underprivileged background. Other kids don’t accommodate him in their group because they think that he is not well-behaved and has the habit of stealing. There are situations when he is cornered and I have seen his aggressive side. I fear that it is not good for the kid and want to help him. But my son doesn’t want me to interfere. I am confused. Please guide.

A parent

Dear parent,
I am unsure of what help you are wanting to give that boy, and what is the end outcome you are seeking. Your son might be having his own assessment of the situation based on his interactions with him. You will need to respect that and not interfere in that dynamic. At 15, we parents cannot orchestrate dynamics within peer groups without being interpreted as interfering parents. So, you can either talk to your son about the situation to help him see a different perspective which may make him reach out to this boy in a more empathetic and helpful way.

Or you can reach out to that boy at a time and place when you see him independently, not with your son around, and not involving your son at all. Clearly, trying to support him in everyone’s presence is going to compromise the boy’s sense of self-esteem and make the others uncomfortable as well.

Dear Madam,

My 12-year old son has been playing video games for the last one year. He spends around three hours every day on the system. But according to him, he plays only for 30 minutes every day and rest of the time uses the system for study purpose or to watch some serials. The problem is that though I know he doesn’t lie, I get worked up whenever he is on the system and show my irritation in many ways. This is causing a lot of problems in the house and I do not know how to go about it. Please help.

A mother

Dear mother,
It think it is extremely important for parents to get some counselling and emotional support for themselves so as to be able to deal with the challenges of parenting in a way that does not harm the child in the long-run. It is important for you to be able to understand what the situation means to you which makes you feel such intense emotions. It is important that you understand your own anger and frustrations around this issue and bear in mind that violence is never an answer, no matter what the circumstance. No relationship can be built on the foundation of physical violence. In fact, it only gets that much harder to rebuild.

Having said that, it is important for you to be able to define boundaries of acceptable and unacceptable behaviour with your child. Children need guidance and firm boundaries, but these are effective and more easily built if you are able to have a healthy meaningful communication with your child.

Three hours of screen time a day is definitely not healthy. So, you need to make changes in order to influence that behaviour. And remember, behaviour is often only a visible manifestation of underlying thoughts and feelings that are not visible. It is often easier to modify behaviour by connecting to the thoughts and feelings rather than looking at the behaviour in isolation.

Dear Madam,

I am an undergraduate student and above average in studies. Of late, I think too much about making money and as a result, can’t focus on studies. I know it is wrong and it is not possible to make a good career without sound education but don’t know how to overcome the situation. My friends are decent and good at academics. Please guide.


Dear Prabhu,
Please remember that making money is a by-product of a successful career. It is not a goal in itself. It is the result of achieving a goal. Whenever money is the main goal, the path to getting it is often illegal and dangerous. So try and understand for yourself what you are trying to achieve by making money. What are you trying to prove, and to whom? What are you wanting to do with the money? How much money do you consider as enough? When will you be able to say that you have enough and that making money is no longer your goal? Is that ever going to happen or will ‘enough’ always be a mirage that you keep chasing?

Once you have understood the significance that ‘making money’ has for you, you can then decide on the path you want to go down to make that money. Remember, that the rags to riches stories are significant and important because they are just that — they are rare and unbelievable and therefore they are told repeatedly. If they were the norm and commonplace no one will talk about them.

They are exceptions. So exceptions may happen, but they are not the norm. You cannot live your life based on the possibility of an exception happening because that may not be something you can control. You have to live your life based on being the best version of yourself that you can be. If the exceptions happen that is a bonus. All the best! Maullika Sharma is an MBA graduate with specialisation in counselling. She works with
parents and adolescents.

Send in your queries to Education, Deccan Herald 75, MG Road, Bengaluru-560001 or e-mail us at dheducation@deccanherald.co.in with ‘Ask your counsellor’ in the subject line.
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