“Oh! My little baby!” “Mera pyaara baccha!” “My little princess!”
Remember that? You’re not likely to hear it now, isn’t it?
All of us undergo this thorny period called adolescence. It’s a process where you bloom into an adult while experiencing a variety of intense emotions. We are battered with recurrent rapid changes and skimmed out of a centrifugation machine.
Let us focus on how it feels.
Think about that bhondu little child you were…. so innocent and adorable. Life was awesome…cartoons, toys, homework, school, and play. Bindaas! All of a sudden, your body was bombarded with ‘unusual’ hair growth in unimaginable places, acne, acidic sweating? Ah! The magical moment of your life just disappeared.
Everyone has had a crazy experience during the onset of puberty. Well, I thought I was going to pass away in the next few days and kept the secret to myself.
Anyways, your life had become a total mess. You were trying to accept the changes in your body, and right then, the sex hormones kicked in. Alright! This was the time when your reproductive organs started functioning and you felt sensual but didn’t realize what exactly was happening to you.
Similarly, there were a lot of other strong emotions due to chemical processes taking place inside you. You could not comprehend being upset without any reason or feeling restless all the time. In addition, there was frustration, annoyance, attraction, over-sensitiveness and what not!
You had to accept the on-going changes of your body shape, but you started feeling self-conscious. Spending a lot of time in front of the mirror or the bathroom, worrying about your body image, hence you became a self-aware individual.
“Moti ho jaungi…diet karna padega”
“Body-shody bana lete hain…”
You started taking your own decisions. Wearing clothes that you want to wear, styling your hair, choosing friends you want to hang out with, eating what you like, reacting to a situation in a certain way. As a result, you were exploring yourself.
Meanwhile, the society burdened you with its norms of ‘male’ and ‘female’ behavior (stereotypes). The Gender Norms were imposed. (It makes it extremely difficult for people with a different sexual orientation/gender to identify themselves during this crucial period causing severe distress over a prolonged time period or throughout their lives).
So, how did that little angel undergo all these physical, emotional, psychological, sexual and social changes? Some of you were lucky to get guidance and some of you had to fight the battle all by yourself.
“Hey, Bhagwan! Suno ji….Isse shuru ho raha hai…”
“Accha? Itni si age mein? Dekhte hain…”
Dekhte dekhte…. Children get deviated due to confusion, self-rejection, low self-esteem, peer pressure, academic stress, poor relationships and a whole lot of things!
So what has to be done?
- Education – We all need to be educated about such biological processes. After all, we are humans and it is a part of our growth. Children reach puberty at different ages. It is important for them to be aware of what is likely to happen to them, in the near future to avoid trauma and unnecessary stress.
- Openness –Well, topics we shy away from, have to be discussed openly. There is nothing to be ashamed of. Everybody goes through adolescence. If we avoid talking about ‘puberty’, ‘sex’, ‘menstruation’, ‘masturbation’, young minds will not be able to form an opinion during this delicate period. It could lead to grave consequences such as teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, child sexual abuse, rape, psychological disorders, etc.
- Acceptance –Accept yourself the way you are. Let yourself grow. Do not suppress your emotions, let them flow. Always remember that teens around you are also going through a similar phase. Their experiences could only be slightly different than yours.
- Support – Most importantly, a youngster undergoing this phase, needs parental support and guidance to form a strong base. They could also seek emotional support from a counselor, sibling or an older friend.
This phase is scary for parents too. They don’t want their cutie little bunnies to become volatile angry-birds. They freak out. You should talk to them about how you feel. They will surely help you out.
Keep the following points in mind:
- Give yourself some time to adapt to the new changes. Try and understand yourself.
- Channelize your energy in the right way. Exercise often (every day!). You could probably learn a new sport or a musical instrument. Keep yourself busy to avoid unnecessary thoughts.
- Do not set diet goals yourself. Your body needs nourishment during this delicate period. Impulsive decisions could have long-term consequences.
- If you see someone struggle during this period, take the initiative to help them out in the best way you can.
Take it easy! You get stable over time. It is a growth spurt. Everybody is still that little child from inside, it is just that, circumstances during adolescence shape them as they grow.