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Posts Tagged ‘adolescence’

“Even a person who doesnot believe in god may go to heaven, but a person who doesnot believe in himself, there is no place for him even in hell.”-Swami Vivekananda.

The above words can never be an overstatement! These words tell us how important is self-belief! Everybody should cultivate this belief in himself/herself, regardless of their capabilities. This has to be nurtured from a very young age. It is during the 2nd year of life that toddlers become very inquisitive and curious. They want to explore their surroundings. They are curious about everything that they come across. These “terrible-twos” make their parents lose their sleep wondering what the kid is upto at any hour of the day! It is very important for young parents to understand the need for exploration by their little kid, through which it can expand its knowledge bank and they need to encourage this quality, by being supportive and at the same time vigilant, without becoming paranoidal!

Unfortunately, an over-protective parent never lets the child any freedom to explore and learn. The parent believes that he/she knows the best and decides everything for the child – where it should play, with what toys should it play, with which group it can indulge in play and what time it should play! The child’s freedom is totally curtailed and authoritarian rule imposed upon it from a very young age that makes the child start believing that only the parent knows the best and that the child itself can not take proper decisions. This lowers its self-confidence. This trend continues even to its adolescence and the parents never let go of their hold upon the child, who has now turned into an adolescent. He may, heart in heart, wish to explore the whole world and see the world throug his/her own eyes. Alas! This is not to be! The youngster grows into adulthood without having developed skills like, problem solving and decision making etc. He/she has no belief in self. If they ever were to take an independent decision against their parents’ wishes, and if the endeavour were to result in a negative outcome, finished is his/her adventurous spirit! Buried is their self-belief for life, more so under the sarcastic remark of their parents, “i told you so” with a victorious note!

But these parents need to realize how important it is for the young adult to experience autonomy in every sphere of life. Parents need to facilitate this “self-belief” in their young ones from a very early stage in small ways and slowly extend the autonomy to bigger things, all the while assuring of their support and encouragement, irrespective of the child’s successes or failures. It is this provision for autonomy that stands in good stead through out one’s life. Self-belief develops self-confidence, improves self-image, increases self-esteem and facilitates self-reliance later on in life.

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There seems to be lot of confusion in everybody’s mind about imparting sex education at schools and colleges. By the term ‘sex education’ people seem to think it is all about ‘sexual intercourse’ education! No, it is not that. Sex education is all about imparting knowledge on human sexuality. Sexuality is the femaleness and the maleness of individuals. Sexuality is part and parcel of the individual’s personality. From the time a child is born, it is assigned a gender as male or female. This knowledge dictates the person in every kind of behaviour that he/she indulges in. This behaviour is culture specific. However, there is a minority population in any society where the gender identity is not very clear to the individual. He or she does not believe in the biological gender assigned to them and they firmly believe in their mind and heart that they belong to the opposite gender. It is these people who sometimes go to the extent of changing their gender through surgery and then they are called the trans-gendered people. But those who have not changed their gender physically, but subscribe to the other gender psychologically, who resent vehemently their gender assigned to them by nature and by the society, are the ones who belong to the third sex and are fighting for their constitutional rights. I will discuss about them in a separate post.

Coming back to sex education, everybody needs to be equipped with the knowledge of the different changes that occur in a female or male, physically and psychologically, over a period of time through the whole length of human development, from childhood through old age. This knowledge helps a person, specially the pre-teens (also referred to as tweens – as they are in the in between stage of childhood and adolescence) and the teenagers, who are in between the stages of childhood and adulthood, to better deal with their emotional and physical changes. Otherwise, they are vulnerable to confusions, developing myths and mis conceptions about their sexuality and this wrong information creates lot of anxieties and psychological disturbances. The knowledge about their sexuality also equips persons to prevent any kind of sexual abuse taking place. Because of ignorance so many gullible children are taken for a ride and their innocence abused. And many try to experiment with various kinds of sexual behaviour that may put them into deep trouble later on.

Sex education needs to be imparted in educational institutions, not by a Biology Teacher or a Moral Science Teacher, but by a sensitive professional, like a counsellor, who can understand the needs of any particular age group and cater to those needs with authentic information and sensitize them about the physical, psychological and emotional dimensions of human sexuality. A separate meeting with parents is as much required to brief them about the need for sex education to their children and alleviate their own fears and anxieties.

I believe that knowledge is power and when imparted in the right way, it can enhance the respectful way people would treat the other gender and reduce exploitation of males/females as mere sex objects.

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