From the desk of a psychologist!

Archive for the ‘Adolescence’ Category

“We apathise they abuse”

I read a book today. It is called “The Kid Trapper” by Julia Cook. I need to share the jist of it and the situation of this boy ( being a counselor even I know someone like him).

This boy who was trapped in a sexually abusive situation.

How did he get into it?

Simple easy steps which works every time

A friendly stranger makes you feel special

Invite you for a fun time in his place ( or a secluded one)

Let you do something, you always wanted to, but your parents never allowed you to do so

And once you are done, his game begins

Because you did something, you don’t want your parents to know you have to fulfill his wish

The wishes will grow & grow

This is the moment you know, you are TRAPPED

He will make sure you never talk to anyone about it and feel dirty and responsible for the situation. Trust me, that is his power and his biggest weapon. Your fear and shame. picture-to-represent-child-poverty-581748424

You feel your parents/loved ones will hate you if they would come to even know about it but that is your biggest mistake. They love you and they would never be able to forgive themselves if you won’t reach out to them. The moment you’ll talk, the web will disappear.

Parents/ Adults/loved ones:

Do you know?

There is no specific description of an abuser. He could be anyone and anywhere and most of the time he is a very close one.

Be there for your child. Give him the strength to reach you. Be a friend, who doesn’t even need words to feel the pain of his loved one.

Sometimes, because of our own fears, we convey this message to our children that talking about sex ( or sexual abuse) is unacceptable. We believe in the ostrich syndrome…lets dig our heads in the sand rather than looking at the problem.

Though it sounds rare but this is the most common type of abuse which exists anywhere & everywhere!

Please, lets accept this as a fact that sexual predators do exist among us, rather than feeling ashamed and going in a cocoon about it because without this acceptance we will never be able to feel comfortable in talking to them about it and consequently will not be able to equip our kids with the necessary skills to identify and deal with them.

 

 

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Rogue Relationship

Sometimes you know that some relationships are more toxic than being a support. You understand that it’s a mistake making your life heavy and exhausting . You spend all your energy & happiness meeting the expectations but nothing suffices. In this vicious cycle you lose your personality, identity & the want of living.

Deep down you also know the only solution but refuse to accept it to yourself let alone the world. There could be several reasons for you being in the dysfunctional situation:

  • You are scared of hurting yourself as well as your loved ones.
  • Have become addicted to this relationship and like a substance abuser know the repercussion but doesn’t have the power to come out of it.
  • You even refuse to accept the truth to yourself & live with the hope of a miracle going to happen someday.
  •  Don’t want people to feel sorry for you.
  • The fear of unknown.

If any of these rings a bell, break the chains and start living your life from today. Let go of it because this relationship is like a virus, which will eat you and make you forget to live the only life you’ve got.

I know saying it is really easy while even thinking of implementing makes you shiver. Take the step to liberate the real you. In the beginning, go through the process of  healing which may involve grieving for your dead relationship but all of this will actually empower you. You would love to find your confidence again and letting go of the shame & guilt developed during the relationship.

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
Dr. Seuss

Warning: Before taking the step be sure that you are in a dysfunctional relationship. Don’t take a low phase as the whole relationship. Be objective and if you can’t seek external help to decide. This post is strictly for those you are a part of an emotionally abusive relationship.

 

 

Gifted or Galling?

 

It’s amazing to see that there is relatively a lot more awareness for differently abled children than those who are gifted. I am not saying it is right or wrong but it certainly puts a question mark to our whole struggle of equality. If you are one of those who swear by the philosophy of  giving ‘ Equal Rights’ to all the children/ people under this sun, I am sure you would understand the place I am coming from.

I am in the field of education and sometimes we come across children who are disruptive, seem disinterested and ask the teacher questions which make them look like a novice. These children are generally labeled as rude, arrogant, lazy or sometimes even harboring behavior problems. The problem is we know so little or nothing about a ‘ Gifted Child‘ , let alone identify and appreciate them.

The main problem with this whole concept is the idea of ‘ Giftedness’. In this world of ‘multiple intelligences‘, you can’t limit yourself to IQ. You have to come out to the whole arena of various intelligences and then perceive a child’s capability and his potential.

Is the child who seems to be getting bored during your lecture about life actually way ahead of you spiritually more connected to himself. May be he already has established the whole meaning of his existence. You find him lazy and unmotivated and he finds you boring because the information you are putting in front of him has already been figured out by him and he expects validation not introduction from you as his teacher to keep him interested

The term ” Gifted” was first used by Francis Galton. He used the term for adults, who showed exceptional talent in any specific field. Understanding this is very crucial. We have somewhere lost this whole essence and now we only refer to those who are intellectually superior as ‘ Gifted”.

What about the child, who made a whole new music instrument from his toy car?

Time for us to reflect, be honest to ourselves and change the way we look at our child, who irritates us because we somehow aren’t able to keep up with him/her.

 

Why RESPECT?

“I’m not concerned with your liking or disliking me… All I ask is that you respect me as a human being.”
~ Jackie Robinson

What is it that differentiates us from animals?

According to Kazimierz Dąbrowski, the ability of humans to inhibit and transform our lower animal instincts into “higher” forces is what separates us from animals.

Going by this definition, I understood one thing, that we are born with too many basic impulses. These need to be trimmed and tamed to form a beautiful personality. We are also born with a disregard for oneself, others and our environment. As we grow and start building our identity, we start realizing the importance of RESPECT.  It is a major building block of our character.

We are nobody without our self respect. We demand respect from others to make our self esteem grow. If we actually observe our actions on an everyday basis, we will realize that they are governed by the need to be respected. We do our best to earn it whether through our intellect, behavior, heritage, strength or sometimes even try to buy it.

But, this reasoning is at an advanced level, sometimes people aren’t able to understand it. They try to gain respect without bothering to actually pass it on. They aren’t able to appreciate the cycle of respect. It is not a material gain but like all other human values, it is spread through sharing. If you like to be respected, you need to start respecting others without considering their background.

What is RESPECT?

Respect is a need which comes from within, influenced by the way you are treated. It comes from  achievements, contributions & merit. It is not a feeling of fear or obedience. It is a regard of honor which no one could force to happen, but oozes by itself where it is due and then no one could stop it.

Respect is when we show a significant amplification of attention and care through words or actions towards people or our own self.

Respect is when we modify our behavior or choice of words in such a way that it exhibits  a significant increase in attention and care and is supplemented by a feeling of admiration for their suggestions, abilities and achievements.

While researching for respect, I realized one vital point. The meaning of respect varies with age and so does its treatment.

For a child, we generally think that it is as simple as being polite and courteous but actually it is much more complex. A child is very well conscious of whether he is respected or not?

Children deserve to be heard & be dealt in a thoughtful, civil manner. Disrespect a child and he will wait for an opportunity to do the same or worse with you. A child also learns the way he is treated and the way he sees others being treated. The seed of respect starts from childhood. It can’t be taught but it certainly could be shown.

For a teenager, Respect is basically when you consider their decision. When you show them your regard, value their point of view, give them the place of a young adult. Disciplining is not being disrespectful. Don’t ever think that if you will point out their wrongs, they will stop liking you. May be they will but they will definitely start respecting you!

For an adult, the definition of respect goes to a different level altogether. It is not merely a value or attribute but a self fulfilling process. An adult learns to start respecting oneself and takes it forward to other individuals, society and nature. It is a journey of self actualization, finding oneself!

Why RESPECT?

Because we all have worth and value as human beings.

Respect is talked about a lot, people use the word all the time to generate authority, fear, love, obedience but actually it is a culture. When it is present you take it for granted but the moment it is lost, every minute is a slap in your face!

Respect is a healthy choice. Now, we know that it is a cycle, you get respect when you give it. So, for inner peace you need to be respected and your worth as a human being need to be appreciated. The mere thought of being disrespected is intolerable by all of us. I would say start respecting each human entity. Resist your basic nature of payback.

Let’s start the culture of respect by being an example… BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE!

Addiction in India: The War Goes On!

I am so thankful to Aamir Khan for giving voice to an  important & relevant major cause, which exists in our country but no one is willing to listen. I am an addiction counselor, who came back to my country with huge dreams of  changing the world of addiction treatment here. But am not ashamed today to accept  that I left my struggle because it was full of hurdles.  I am so grateful that today after watching Mr. Khan’s episode of Satyamev Jayate, my candle of hope has started burning again.

I have worked in various addiction treatment setups in India and it is sad but a fact, that most of them are only there to mint money. No one has a clue of what works. Because people are needy they trust them which is then misused. I was a part of this system. It made me question my integrity and disturbed me. I wanted to help but didn’t know how. I realized how much it means to me to find the answers. I traveled to the hub of addiction study, United States of America, and completed my chemical dependency certification and worked there for some time. It helped me understand this dubious disease in a better way.

I came back with huge dreams and hit the reality pretty soon. It was a WAR against the age-old mindset. I gave up but with time I had learnt one important lesson that I am not here to change the nation but to give something back to the society. Even if one person learns something from this blog, I would think that my goal is achieved. I have this powerful tool of my blog today and this post goes for the passion of my life… Addiction. Though in the show the talk was only about alcohol but here we are going to talk about addiction, whether alcohol or any other chemical ( marijuana, cigarette, cocaine etc.). The disease remains the same.

We have a very sorry state of addiction in our country. There are so many prevalent misconceptions & myths that there is no help for it.  I would like to put some light on this topic through an Indian perspective:   

  • Addiction is a disease not a bad habit or moral issue: Why in a party some people can be decent drinkers while a few make a fool of themselves. People actually wait for them to bring entertainment in a lifeless party.

I will give an example to make you understand it in a better way. Two friends decide to go for a drink. Let’s say Mr. X & Mr. Y.

Mr. X suffers from addiction while Mr. Y has no such disease. When they have the drink, Mr. Y may enjoy it but for Mr. X it is a new never  felt  before state. Mr. X is never going to forget about it.

  • Chasing the dragon: Then the chase starts. An addict, every time when goes under influence, it is with the wish of reaching the same state it felt the first time. This never happens only the substance keeps on increasing.
  • Tolerance is not good: How many times have you heard someone boasting that I can hold my drink . The biggest indicator of chemical dependency is increased tolerance of the substance.
  • The different stages of the disease: It’s an ongoing treadmill which ranges from experimentation, use, abuse to dependency on the substance. If you have the disease and you introduce your drug of choice to your body, this is how the disease will progress.
  • Hit the rock bottom:

Tony Robbins once said there are two things that motivate people to make dramatic changes in their lives: inspiration and desperation. In the journey of addiction recovery, there needs to be a kick which can stop us from the journey of  self-destruction.

Teenophobia- The cure

India is rapidly changing as a country. People, thinking, attitudes, relationships almost everything is changing. The equation between parents and children are also going through a huge transition. As we all know by now, change is good but often painful.

I am a person, who witnesses both sides of the coin. I don’t know whether I should take it as an advantage or not because it makes me feel for both and I find myself in a fix. I understand the dilemma both go through on an everyday level.  There are a lot of confusions, frustrations, irritations which leads to utter chaos.

If you are a parent of a teenage child, these are some of the statements you often must have heard,

” You need to trust me”,                  

” If everyone is allowed to do it, why can’t I?”,

” My friends understand me better than you.”

” Why do you compare me, all the time?”

” Why should I do something just because you want me to?”

” What’s your problem with my phone or computer use…It is my life!”

” You are never satisfied or happy with me.”

And as a parent you must have seen yourself repeating these sentences over and over,

” Do you even listen to me.”

” Put the phone down.”

” You need to do this because I say so.”

” Where is your respect?”

” I am just asking for a little responsibility.”

” I have seen the world, trust me.”

The gap, between both of you, all of a sudden looks so huge. Something, somewhere has changed drastically in a couple of years. It is like as a parent you were doing great and now nothing you do is sufficient.

Every day I have at least a couple of sessions which give me the feeling of déjà vu. After dealing with quite a number of these cases, I have understood some things, which  I would like to share with you today:

  • There is a lot of Miscommunication or Lack of communication between an adolescent and parent: While talking to both the parties, I have realized one thing…both have a lot to say to each other, which they never do.

Parents are generally uncomfortable in talking about certain issues, like sex, substance abuse, which leads to them either opting to not talk about it at all or becoming overly aggressive as soon as the topic is brought up.. This also makes the kids uncomfortable. They sense the discomfort of their parents and find it easier to hide or lie about it.

  • As parents, we need to understand that the world is changing, as so is our culture. We need to be aware about what  the general trends are as far as the freedom and independence of our kids are concerned. We need to know the outing hours, frequency of peer outings, time on laptops and phones of the friends of our kids.We can neither live in the last century, nor just let go of all the rights of a parent.

It is always a good idea to be in regular contact with the parents’ of the peers of our teenager. We should know what is being allowed and accepted by others. This will help us with the typical, ” The rest of the parents are cool with it.”

  • We need to have our own home rules and regulations. It should be talked with the adolescent and make them understand the point and the reasons behind them. It is also a good idea to abide by these rules yourself before implementing it.  They will learn the best when they will see you rather than hear you.
  • It is a good idea to always give them the reason behind your decisions. Just because you have gone through a childhood, where rules were made without any questions and answers, that doesn’t mean you could do the same.

If you’ll make decisions without giving reasons, you’ll lose the trust of your child. They will start taking you as a dictator and stop sharing their thoughts and issues with you. They will think that their friends understand them in a better way than you.

Generally, I have seen that you stop giving reasons when you yourself are out of it. Reflect and see, whether the point you’re sticking to is even worth it?

  • There is also a major issue of ‘talking back’ of children: The generation we are talking about is very forthright. They will ask till they get an answer, which they like. We need to understand it and should be tactful in such situations.

If the ‘ talking back’ becomes disrespectful, you need to be clearly voice it to your teenager. There also is a need for the presence of proper consequences when there is crossing of limits, which needs to be decided beforehand.

You should always remember that whatever is the situation, you need to be emotionally available for your adolescent.

For a teenager, the times are really difficult. They are going through change within them as well as the outside world . They are highly confused and as a result very vulnerable. Be gentle with them.

Your child is seeking support, though it comes with an attitude. You can’t blame them, it is their age of confusions!

P.S. If you are a teenager reading this article, I have a message for you. Your parents love and care for you and that is why they always want to protect you from this big bad world. They are scared and don’t know how to reach you. Help them help you!

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