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Tips to teens to reach their maximum academic potential

Maya Kirpalani, Consultant Psychologist and Family Therapist at Jaslok Hospital.

Is there something that one should avoid telling teenagers before exams?

Maya: 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, telling them to do well 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. 

Could you elaborate on what it means to have a “supportive dialogue” with your teens?

Maya: 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, empathise with the teenager. Listen to them. Only after grasping their point of view, difficulties they are facing while learning, other worries in school and more, can you really help them. 


 

Can you suggest one habit that teenagers can adopt to increase their success in exams?

Maya: 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. This new thought process should re-enforce that the teenager is not a failure. Here the parents can play an important role in not letting them get weighed down by their feelings.

What are some of the common things that bother teenagers?

Maya: Many things can bother teenagers such as:
•    I am not as good as my friend
•    Fear of failure
•    Fear of not reaching the goal

Do parents attitude matter when it comes to their teenager’s academic performance?

Maya: 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

What are some ways to build bonding between parents and teenagers?

Maya: One effective way is to have a meal together every day. When you are all together, try and talk to the teenager about different topics, and not only academics.
 

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Tips to use the internet safely by Dr. Avinash Desouza

Dr. Avinash De Sousa, Consultant Psychiatrist and Consultant Psychotherapist on how you can navigate the World Wide Web and still be safe....

Dr. Avinash Desouza is a Psychologist who works extensively with teens and helps them tackle one a too many of their teenage issues.

We got in touch with Dr. Desouza and asked him to shed some light on the use of internet and how to steer clear of its disadvantages.

Here is what he had to say about using the internet safely...

TT: How can one be safe and still use internet optimally?

Avinash Desouza:

The internet today is a necessity and I love the internet just as much as you do. The whole aim is to learn to use the internet in a way such that it is beneficial to you and not the other way round.

You might chat with people on social media, you might use certain sites to post photos, but it is important to be extremely careful while you do that.

Often we love to get as many friends on Social Media as we can, I might gain 800 to 1000 friends on Social Media but how many of them do I actually know in my real life and how many of them are actually worth knowing. Sometimes in our bid to get more friends we tend to accept every request that comes our way. It is however important that we carefully choose our friends on social media because we are opening up our personal lives to this large so called “friend circle”.

TT: What is Internet addiction and how to steer clear of it?

Avinash Desouza:

While social media brings us closer to our friends from around the world; sometimes it can get so addictive that we tend to get so hooked on to it that we move away from our families. We might end up ignoring people around us when we are busy chatting away on social media.

The internet is lovely because we learn, we share, we grow – but it is the time we devote to internet that matters. I have seen in my practice, teens who devote 4 and more hours to internet every day and as a result their personal lives suffer. Their personal relationships with their parents and friends go downhill.

So it is important that you teens use the internet for your benefit and don’t allow yourselves to get addicted to it.

TT: Your thoughts about chatting online and authentic information sharing?

Avinash Desouza:  

When you use the internet for chatting, it is important to know who you are chatting with. Often we tend to blindly trust the information we get online – the information could be with regard to health, with regard to friends, with regard to people we know little about.

It is important to doubly check the information you consume on the net as it could be fake. It is important to check if the source of that information is authentic and only then use that information.

This is also crucial when you are chatting with someone online and you don’t know them completely. Don’t just trust the information they give you about themselves.

Make sure you don’t share personal information like where you stay, what your parents do, who your friends are, who you are, your credit card details, because someone can misuse this information and damage you in the long run.

TT: The pros of internet...

Avinash Desouza:

It is important to be careful with your personal information on the internet but at the same time, please use the internet to gain knowledge. It is important that you learn about different cultures, different countries, and about the various aspects of India using the net. You must use the internet to enhance your knowledge and build your careers.

I have had cases in the past where teens have told me that they started liking someone online and it all went fine till the other person started stalking them and blackmailing them using their photographs. I have seen often that these relationships born online end rather sadly.

TT: What is your take on online relationships?

Avinash Desouza:

These days, everything is available online. It may happen that you end up liking someone you met online. That liking might even develop into love and that might progress into a wonderful relationship. But it is equally important that you don’t get too emotionally engrossed in those relationships that may have real meaning in your real life.

If you must profess love to someone online, make sure you have met them in person. It is important that you take care online so you never end up becoming a victim of online abuse.

I have had cases in the past where teens have told me that they started liking someone online and it all went fine till the other person started stalking them and blackmailing them using their photographs. I have seen often that these relationships born online end rather sadly.

I wouldn’t want to generalise; I’m sure there are some fruitful relationships that may have come of the internet but I don’t want you teens to get hurt.

So I suggest you play it safe online. Trust people only after you have met them in person.

Hope these tips about safe use of internet will help you navigate through the world wide web safely and you will be able to benefit from it.

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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