1. What you feel is important, and critical to admit to it – could be anger, resentment, boredom, frustration, irritation, envy, love, happiness, sadness or even being tired. It is normal to experience a range of emotions (and the ‘negative’ ones are not ‘unacceptable’ but real emotions so there is no judgement when you share what you are feeling) but critical to have a ‘vent-out’ for these. Could be a friend, a teacher, a family friend or your parents, and in some cases your counsellor or therapist. There has to be ‘someone’ to discuss this with preferably someone in a position to be objective and able to assist you as you work out how to deal with it. There has not been a single teenager in this world who does not experience these, so you are not alone, and it is matter of ‘dealing’ with it and moving on that is the next step.
2. Given the age bracket you belong to, everyone ‘older’ believes they are in a position to guide you and there will be plenty of advice. Do not turn your back to it … listen attentively, and absorb. The trick will be not to ‘roll’ your eyes or ignore them because their experience will come in handy for some of the choices you have to make. So do not turn your back on it, ‘utilise’ the strength by listening and also writing it down someplace – on your notepad on the phone, or send yourself an email and park it. It will be useful – that’s a given.
3. Avoid ‘on-line’ strangers on gaming platforms or social media sites to become your ‘confidant’. A stranger on-line whom you do not know, will never ‘understand’ you simply because they do not know you so do not drift down that dangerous path. Statistics about cyber bullying are staggering and you certainly do not want to become one.
4. Identify something that you like to do – could be music, dance, sport, games, cinema- anything that will help you relax and wind down when you are feeling overwhelmed. At the risk of sounding preachy, some physical fitness will help you regulate those negative emotions, and it is time tested. Be a walk, or a run or simply listening to music and exercising for some time is great for fitness, weight-balance and not to mention puts you in a better frame of mind.
5. Inculcate the habit of reading – could be dailies or articles, or interesting stuff on social media that is informative not simply educational. It helps to know what’s happening around you and also upgrade your knowledge outside of the textbooks. It helps when socialising as well, not to mention will do wonders for success in the classrooms as it broadens your mind, allows you to participate with relevant facts.
6. Communicate with your parents. It is critical that they also learn to understand you. By storming out of the room, or breaking down when they dont allow you to do something that you want will not win you any favours. As you transition into the adult world, it is important to have people understand you especially your family, and for that you need to also express and convince them. This is again true when your own beliefs conflict with theirs. It is possible to start with baby steps and introduce them to the way you think and allow them to build their trust about the choices you want to make. As much as you do not tend to believe this, they have only your best interest at heart and want to protect you because they care and in order for them to give you space, you will have to open up to them. If you cannot face them, send them a text … whatever form, but share what you are thinking and what you would like to do. Also ‘your’ parents are not the worst the world, every parent is also battling the same emotions and it helps to have both parties wanting to ‘work it out’.
7. It is easy at this age to be cynical about everything and everybody, and the world appears to be a drudgery and an ordeal for most parts. You cannot wait to become an ‘adult’ and earn some freedom, which is completely understandable. Well, it comes at a price. Live a bit longer as a teenager, it has its perks. Being an adult is no cake walk. Also, ditch that ‘know-it-all-attitude’ for a bit of empathy, patience, open-mindedness and compassion for your family and friends. It earns you more friends for sure and make you a happier person.
8. It is easy to look at someone and say, “wish I was that pretty, or smart, or confident or rich”. There will always be someone who you will admire and want to be like. The reality is that, there is also someone looking at you in the same way. So don’t go down that path of being envious, use it as an inspiration. Admire them but never believe they have it better because you simply do not know their story. Live in your reality not what you see on social media.
9. Find things that can make you laugh. One of the things that teens troubled with this experience of being a teenager have admitted is that humour worked for them. They started feeling better because they had the ability to laugh at themselves and with others about a range of things. ‘Huge’ stress buster and it made their world more ‘liveable’.
10. Your academic work is your responsibility and the fact is that these grades will eventually matter. Your effort will matter and it does count. So if you find yourself slacking and unable to cope – get help. A tutor, a support group, a teacher who can become an advisor, enrolling for study-hacks classes, do what you are comfortable with but get the intervention going for yourself. Because the regrets are painful, and you cannot ‘re-do’ it. If you are the type to get overly anxious, remember prep helps, and some calming exercises. Just a fact of teenage life that the work output remains your responsibility so treat it with a discipline and balance things around it.
Hope some of these can be put into action and truth be told, only when you become an adult will you realise that ‘these are really the best part of growing up years’. So live them up!