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A teenager left home to travel and in the process, healed his trauma

Counselor Radhika Sharma helps us understand how teenagers cope with trauma

Siddhant's earliest memory of his parents fighting was when he was four. Abuses were hurled, hands were raised. He grew up listening and watching them fight. 

In the midst of emotional turbulence, Siddhant would often retreat to his room or spend a major portion of the day at school. He created a fantasy world, and would "zone out" during lectures or family gatherings. He was often labelled as "absent-minded" by his teachers. It would be surprising to know that Siddhant's absent-mindedness was actually a coping skill for self- preservation. 

According to counsellor Radhika Sharma, who works with trauma patients, kids internalise hate through actions and words when they are as young as two and three. She also reveals that when the kid becomes an adolescent, they are not "silent witnesses" anymore. "Teenagers would either take sides or leave the house completely," she says. 

And that is exactly what Siddhant did. Saturated with negativity that was brewing in his immediate surroundings, he chose to walk out to maintain his mental equilibrium at seventeen. Unfortunately, apart from defining an individual's sense of the world, trauma affects both the mind and the body. He went through bouts of migraines, flashbacks and homesickness. When he entered the world of dating, he would find it difficult to interact and trust women. He reveals a time in his life when he felt "voiceless" and incredibly "alone." However, he stumbled upon a travelling opportunity. He instantly connected with the wild forests, seamless sea and rugged terrains. Travelling unearthed a new version of himself, somebody Siddhant was hiding deep underneath his exterior. 

He started meeting people who showed him the other, pleasant side of relationships. And after every adventure, Siddhant would discover something new about himself. Slowly, he has re-gained his sense of control over his emotions and has become emotionally receptive. 

Tips on how to deal with trauma:

1.Accept your feelings: You might feel various emotions ranging from shock and anger to guilt and sorrow. It is absolutely normal to feel these emotions. Give yourself as much time as possible to mourn what it is hurting you. Be patient with yourself.

2.Maintain your routine: While this may be difficult, continue to do the tasks you are doing on a daily basis.

3.Express your feelings: You can write your emotions in a diary or release your pent-up emotions through playing a sport.

4.Reach out to others: In moments of loneliness, reach out to a trusted adult, friend, teacher or a parent.

5.Seek professional help: If you feel you cannot deal with your situation you can reach out to a counsellor.

If you have a query, you can also write to the Teentalk India Expert at expert@teentalkindia.com


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How parents can help their kids to reach academic goals

How parents respond to their kids makes a lot of difference, read how!
Nishtha JunejaTeentalkindia Content Writer

There is a natural anxiety for doing well in exams. Especially in class 10 and 12 when the results of those exams are going to determine your future and your career. There is bound to be pressure. In such a situation, Dr Maya Kirpalani says that, “telling doesn’t help. In fact when the teenager is told that there is pressure, it gets doubled.”

There is immense responsibility of the parents in such a situation. “Parents and the teenager need to sit and have a supportive dialogue.” Some of the questions that can be asked are:

  • Are you anxious?
  • What do you think the worst thing that can happen?

After opening the floor to a dialogue and gauging response, emphathise with the teenager.

Facing the fear

Oftentimes, when teenagers are not able to fulfil expectations, they tend to self-blame. “This is called a ruminative thought pattern where they keep repeating beliefs such as “I am a failure” to themselves on loop.” The key to breaking this pattern is to inject a new thought-process that says that, “By re-inforcing that you are not a failure and this is a feeling with help,” says Kirpalani. Also not letting them get weighed down by their feelings will help, she adds.

Many things can bother teenagers such as:

  • I am not as good as my friend
  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of not reaching the goal

Parents attitude matters

Teenagers need to be heard and listened to but sometimes parents are over anxious and expect a lot from their kids. Some points to keep in mind:

  • Comparison might dishearten the teenager
  • Injecting values such as perseverance will help
  • Family environment matters. If there are fights, the teenager might get distracted
  • Families need to talk to their teens about their dreams, fears, aspirations in addition to their academic goals
  • Teaching kids gratitude and discipline

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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.