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Standing up to your friends is difficult

A teenager shares his experience of standing up to his school friends

I was always a little feminine. Call it my North-Eastern heritage where matrilineality exists. I always saw my mother earning, taking control over monetary matters alongside my father. I belong to the Khasi tribe. When I shifted to Mumbai, I was seen differently, something of an outsider. I had, like they say it, "chinki" features. I wasn't as tall as other kids on the block. Nor did I use a lot of curse words. My father is a Mangalorian. Both my parents are Catholics. Having said that, I grew up in a colony of church-going, God-fearing people where we enjoyed Sunday mass with my parents and jiving on the weekends. And, the endless excursions with my bicycle around the city.

I used to go to a Catholic school that had a mixed population of Muslims, Jains and Catholics. I used to hang out with a group of guys who were differently brought up than I was. They did not  go to church whereas I used to. My gang used to play football at Chowpatty. Once they threatened me to come for football and miss going to Church. They said they will exclude me from playing football with them. I stopped going for mass. I adopted their tone of language and started eating what they ate. I wanted to emulate the gang leader, he used to smoke a lot. I picked up the habit so that I can become like him. Slowly, I started drinking because I was part of the cool group. I got addicted to the feeling.

If I would differ, they would threaten me to leave the group. Gradually, I could not take my own decisions. I lost my individuality. I was fond of long hair. But my guy friends constantly asked me to keep my hair short, otherwise they would poke fun at me. I was told that boys don't have long hair. I lost touch with my sister because I was told that boys are superior. I was under a lot of pressure from my peers to agree to their thought of thinking. I used to dissent, but they would threaten me again and again. They said they would not let me enter school. It was a terrible phase of my life. But it also taught me how to stand up for myself.

This is a first-person account of Bruce, who battled feelings of loneliness during school. He is pursuing his passion for football, and hopes to play for a big club in the future.

Our in-house counsellor Kshitija Sawant explains how to deal with peer pressure:

“Knowing yourself and being assertive is the key to dealing with peer pressure. Being assertive means standing by what you believe in and yet being mindful of other people’s opinions and point of view. The objective of being assertive is to make sure that everyone learns to respect one another despite obvious individual differences. This might take some time, but taking that first step is necessary if you want to shatter deep-rooted stereotypes.”

If you find yourself in a similar situation, chat with the Teentalk India counsellor by clicking on Teentalk India Expert on the Homepage.

If you have a story to share, Email it to us HERE.

If you have a query, Email it to us HERE.

You can also chat with the counsellor by clicking on Teentalk Expert Chat.

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5 reasons why teenagers rebel against their parents and teachers

Being an adolescent is synonymous with being a rebellion. It causes tension between teenagers and parents at home; and teenagers and teachers at school.

According to our in-house Counsellor Kshitija Sawant, “The urge to rebel as a teenager is a normal phenomenon. However, it is equally important to be aware of the consequences of your actions and take your decisions in life accordingly”.

What is rebellion?

In simple terms, being a rebel means demonstrating behavior that purposely opposes rules and authority.

Your parents have asked you to be back by 8 pm in the evening, but no, you will deliberately reach home at 12 pm.

Your teacher has asked you to finish a Physics assignment, but no, you will not become the good boy of the class and submit it later.

In both scenarios, coming back at 8 pm and finishing the assignment would have eventually helped you in the long run.

According to an article in Psychology Today, psychologist Carl Pickhardt says that “Although the young person thinks rebellion is an act of independence, it actually never is. It is really an act of dependency. Rebellion causes the young person to depend on self-definition and personal conduct on doing the opposite of what other people want.”

Rebellion can take two forms:

  1. The rebellion of non-conformity:  When you choose to cut your hair differently from the rest of your friends.
  2. The rebellion of non-compliance: When you choose to become an artist instead of an engineer.

5 stages of being a rebel

1. Does not want to be treated as a child anymore (9-12): The young person has realized what he/she does not want to be. Making fun of teachers? In your group of friends, it will pass off as cool. But when you need your teacher’s help with college applications, calling teachers old-fashioned was a mistake!

   
2. Break rules imposed by society (13-15): Is it a war zone at home? I’ll not do the homework. I’ll not come on time. I’ll not attend tuitions. I’ll not do anything parents ask me to do. This is the period when opposing authority is the norm among friends. But remember, not all friends stick around. But parents will, all the time.

3.  Liberation from childhood dependency (16-18): The will to be free, the excitement for carving out a life you want to lead and the thrill of achieving your dreams. At this stage of your life, the world is at your feet. Pay heed to your parents, they have your best interests at heart.

4. Dethroning parental authority (19-23): This is the stage when you have completed your college and have a job. All the things you fought for have been realized. The last stage is to conquer what you set out to do.

5. Acceptance: The last stage is a place where the young person realizes that he/she has to function within societal norms. Acceptance is the beginning of adulthood.

If you want to reach out to the Teentalk India counselor, email at [email protected]. You can also read more about it in the Relationships tab.

If you have a story to share, Email it to us HERE.

If you have a query, Email it to us HERE.

You can also chat with the counsellor by clicking on Teentalk Expert Chat.

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Disclaimer: TeentalkIndia does not offer emergency services and is not a crisis intervention centre, if you or someone you know is experiencing acute distress or is suicidal/self harming, please contact the nearest hospital or emergency/crisis management services or helplines.