Know your forte

Maullika Sharma Jan 3 2018, 22:08 IST
Ask Your Counsellor, DH Education

Dear Madam,

I have a son studying in Class 11. Though he is smart, he is extremely lazy when it comes to studying for exams and doing his homework. I have tried to reason with him about his attitude towards studies, nothing seems to be working. As a result, I am concerned that his future may be in jeopardy. How can I help him?

A Mother

Dear Mother,

I have often said this in this column before and will repeat it again. We parents need to learn to deal with our anxieties outside of the parent-child relationship. The fact that you are anxious about your child's future is normal.

But no matter what you do you cannot control his future. It is something only he can influence. Sometimes children have to fall and fail to learn important life lessons.

Ultimately he has to realise and take responsibility for his actions. He has to face the consequences and enjoy the successes. You cannot do it for him. You may want to ask him if he would like to talk to a counsellor who can help him work through his 'blocks'. The objective should be to help him achieve his
potential and not short-change himself.

Dear Madam,

As my English is poor, I am often mocked about it by my classmates while making presentations in class. This has led me to not talk as much as I usually do and has affected my confidence level. While I am working on my English skills, it is taking me time. Until then, what can I do to overcome my current situation and boost my confidence?

A Student

Dear Student,

Remember your strengths. English may not be your strength area right now. But I am sure you have many other strengths. You may think you don't have any. But remember all of us do. Sometimes we just don't allow ourselves to think we have strengths because we are only too busy keeping track of our weaknesses.

Reminding ourselves of our strengths allows us to feel better and more confident about ourselves and that is very important. So make a list of at least ten strengths and these could be things that you are good at, as well as what are the good qualities you have. Then keep this list safely in a place that is visible and easily accessible to you. Look at it often so that you internalise it.

Also, remember that no one is perfect and the same people who are teasing you also have their own flaws. Yours may be your English skills while theirs may be something else. Just because you do not speak English as well as many of the others does not mean that you are less important or worthy than the others. But the responsibility to let people know your worth is yours.

Stand up for yourself. Don't let people get away with insulting comments. Let them know how their comments make you feel and that it is not acceptable to you that they make those comments. Remember, the world reflects back to you what you think, feel and believe about yourself.

If you think that you are not as worthy as the others because you do not speak English well, then that is what you will hear the others saying about you. You may want to reach out to a counsellor who can help you find your confidence.

Dear Madam,

My daughter is extremely active on social media. As she is in Class 12, I would like her to cut down on her usage and I have discussed this with her. However, it does not seem likely that she will do so and we even had a bitter argument about her excessive Internet usage. What can I do to make her see that my argument is valid as well? With her exams around the corner, I do not want her to be distracted unnecessarily.

A Parent

Dear Parent,

Parental anxiety is normal because all parents want the best for their children, and they really want to be able to control the outcome, somehow. Unfortunately, that is not possible. We cannot control the outcome no matter what. We may only be able to influence it, slightly. So therefore, I think all parents, especially parents of children at critical stages in their life, should seek some counselling support for themselves to be able to handle their anxiety in a way that does not block and obstruct the parent-child relationship. Talking to a counsellor and working through your concerns and fears will help you to be able to talk to your daughter in a way that is non-judgemental and supportive. That increases your ability to be able to influence her.

The end goal for you should not be her marks, but to get her to be self-motivated enough to be able to work towards achieving her potential (not your desired potential). For all you know, she may be using social media as an escape from reality because it may be her way of coping with her own fears and anxieties around her exams (which I am sure she has plenty). Giving her access to a counsellor at this time will also help her deal with things that may be holding her back. It will be time well spent. All the best!

Dear Madam,

I am from a middle class family. I couldn't complete Class 12 due to a health problem. Though I attempted the board exams a few times, I could not pass. I feel very low when I see the marks card. Though I want to move on, I don't find any way. Please help me to come out of this situation. I know how important education is for a person. But unless I find a solution for my problem I won't be able to concentrate on studies.

A Student

Dear Student,

Like you said, education is important, not the marks. And you can get an education in many ways. There are many online options to gain an education. Information and learning content is now available online in an unlimited way. So go ahead and get all the education you like. Being a constant learner and knowing how to learn is important. The marks and degrees help open some doors for you, but once the doors open, making a success of those opportunities is not dependent on your marks.

Look for other doors that may open, which are not dependent on your marks, and then make a success of those. After all, success in life depends on several other things like your self-image, your self-esteem, your confidence, your ability to solve problems, your ability to think creatively, your ability to work in a team, your communication skills and many other such qualities.

There are many people who have been successful in life without a formal education and formal degree. That does not mean that they don't know anything. It just means they did not gain their education in a formal way. They learnt informally, maybe on the job, in their own way. It is often referred to as the school of hard knocks. Read their stories for inspiration.

Remember doors open for those who let them. And inside every open door there can be an opportunity which we can tap. Good luck!

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