Two of my friends had a rift

I appreciate your interest to resolve the conflict between your friends. Your intentions are good and you have to handle the situation carefully. Even before you get into resolving the conflict, analyze if you are prepared to do it. Here are a few suggestions.

  • Understand the situation

  • Do not take sides and end u getting onto an argument

  • Remain calm

  • Identify the threats perceived by each of them

  • Choose the appropriate time and place for the discussion

  • Be empathetic. Understand each of their explanations

  • Work on the best ways to bring collaboration

  • Focus on the positive aspects of each of your friends

  • Avoid aggressiveness n the way you communicate with them

  • Give them the time and space to make the changes


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My parents are too controlling of me

I’m 16 years old. My parents are too controlling of me. I have never gone out with my friends. I have no privacy, they keep checking my phone. I’m not allowed to play video games or watch television even on weekends. They don’t let me take breaks while studying. When I try to reason with them and ask them to be liberal, they shout at me or beat me. My father even calls me names. They get angry for everything and keep yelling at me for the smallest of things - for losing half-a-mark, for not drinking eight glasses of water every day, for not eating enough, for not socializing, for not doing well in competitions, etc. Also they keep comparing me with my cousins saying they are better at academics, sports etc. I’m a teachers’ favourite because I do well in academics and competitions. But my parents still find fault with me, I feel demoralized.

It is indeed very frustrating and natural for anyone to get upset and demoralized when your efforts and achievements are not recognized and your parents’ expectations are not met. I appreciate your resilience to still do well in spite of all the pressure. But this stress is mot healthy as you are susceptible to burnout. What is very important is to talk to your parents about your concerns. Seek the help of trusted adults to help you talk to them. All parents want their children to be at their best, but many a time they forget that each child has his or her own identity and limitations. You should never give up your identity. Be clear on their expectations and how much you can do. Your goals have to be SMART - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Bound. You cannot fix goals suitable for others. Everyone needs time to relax. Take time off for some physical activity. Spend quality time with friends. A healthy diet and good sleep are also very important to keep your mind and body fit.


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How can I control my voice?

I’m in Class X. My voice is changing–it sounds very hoarse sometimes and sometimes like a girl’s. I’m constantly teased for this. How can I control my voice?

You are adolescent and voice change is natural. It happens to both boys and girls, though, in girls, it is not very evident. It is caused by hormonal changes and the expansion of larynx (voice box). Controlling your voice might not help. Be your own self. Talk to adults in your family or friends and you will realize they went through it too. In a matter of days or months, your vocal chord will settle down and you will feel much better.


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I’m usually very patient hardly lose my cool, even in extreme situations

I seem to have an unusual problem. I’m in Class XI. I’m usually very patient hardly lose my cool, even in extreme situations. I don’t even react and keep it all bottled up within me. In fact, people take advantage of my patience. However, when I reach the breaking point, instead of having an outburst, I start crying. When this happens, I’m called a coward. What do I do?

It is not good idea to suppress your feelings, positive or negative. When emotions get bottled up, it is natural to have an outburst, and many a time it happens at an undesirable time, leading to misunderstanding and prove in relationships. Also, it is not healthy for the body to undergo this stress. Suppressing one’s emotions leads to poor quality of life; managing them leads to a healthy ways of life. It is very important to find out healthy ways of letting out unwanted feelings towards any situation or person. Most importantly, you need to accept the fact that it is okay to get angry. Be assertive without being rude or arrogant. Withdrawal from the situation will not solve the problem. Try art forms such as music, dance, painting etc. since they are cathartic and can calm your mind. Meditation and relaxation exercises too are helpful. Journalizing your thoughts will be a healthy way of letting go of your feelings.


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My mom is very understanding, but my dad is dictatorial

My mom is very understanding, but my dad is dictatorial. He just wants me to listen to whatever he says; it is never a two-way communication. I just have to accept what he says. He behaves the same way when my mother gets into the conversation and tries to argue for me. How can I make him understand that we have our own feelings and preferences?

During your teens, you develop your own identity, choices, views and opinions. Children have to be given the space to express their opinion. It helps them make decisions with the support of the elders. Parents have the responsibility to correct them when they are wrong and guide them. It is good that your mother is able to support you. You father may not be able to accept any difference in opinion. It is not good to argue with him. Rather, approach him when the atmosphere is calm. Tell him about your feelings and concerns in a gentle manner when he is ready to listen. Ask for his approval. The time you choose to when he is tired or busy. Parents’ intentions are good but many a time the way it is imposed on children is not acceptable. Try to understand his concerns. Mutual trust and respect are important. Seek the help of trusted adults who can help you. Be calm and do not become anxious. If you still need any help. Get professional help and meet a counsellor.


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How can I ensure a great score?

I study in Class XII. It’s just three to four months for my Board examinations. But I’m not confident about my goals. How can I ensure a great score?

As you get closer to your Board examination, it is very natural to develop anxiety. It is very important to stay calm and use your time effectively. Here are a few tips for you.

  • Set goals: Set targets that are realistic and achievable. Make efforts to meet your targets. Introspect and make changes whenever necessary.

  • Avoid procrastination: Take steps to complete work as per schedule. Postponing can cause an overload and lead to anxiety.

  • Regular study pattern: Complete your lessons regularly and avoid distractions.

  • Stay healthy: A healthy diet is very important. Short breaks during study are essential. Stretch your body during breaks. Take up a physical activity to keep your mind and body fresh.

  • Sleep: Good sleep is very important to help you relax and perform your best. At least five to six hours of good sleep is necessary every day.

  • Reassure yourself: Positive statements such as “I will do my best”, “I feel good about myself” etc. will boost your energy. Remove negative statements and replace them with positive ones. Negative thoughts will drain your energy.

  • Relax: Deep breathing exercises for a few minutes every day will calm your mind.

  • Reduce anxiety: Stay away from those who create anxiety. Have confidence in yourself and focus on your preparation. Perseverance will help you achieve goal.


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I’m being judged and ignored

I’m in Class X, and I joined a new school a year ago. Last year school wasn’t that difficult, but recently, after seeing my results, I’m being judged and ignored.

It does take time to settle in a new school. Although you have settled, you feel there is some change in others’ behaviour. Whenever there is change, it is very important to introspect and understand what could the possible reasons for the change be. Is there something you could do to feel better? Many a time, it is easy to blame others for a situation, but that might not be a solution to the issue. Rather than getting upset, it would be better if you could process your actions and get back to what you are capable of doing. To earn a good name and company you have to accomplish relationships in a healthy manner. When your friends and others see a positive change in you, they will support you. Do not give up. Keep the faith. You could also speak to trusted adults or friends who can help you understand the changes you could make. Focus on your academics. Avoid distractions of any kind. We all learn from our mistakes. Make amends and move forward.


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I am a privileged child, but I’m still unhappy

I am a privileged child, but I’m still unhappy. I was always a timid kid, but these days I want to shut people out. I hate myself and I’m not good at anything. I’m scoring low in my subjects. I feel overwhelmed and want everything to disappear. Please tell me how to get better.

You are under a lot emotional disturbance, which is making you feel overwhelmed. The most important step is to speak to someone you trust and who will listen to you, without being non-judgemental. Identify the issues disturbing you. Is there an external factor, say, someone commenting about you, or any incident, or someone else’s behaviour that is triggering your behaviour? Look into it and introspect about your behaviour. It is not okay to withdraw from the problem as that will not change it. Find ways to cope with it. You will be able to cope with the situation only if you identify the problem. Make a list of the good things you have in your life. Do you appreciate them? Also make a note of how who want your life to be. Only when you know what you want can you work towards it. Set your goals and work towards achieving them. Life is a roller-coaster and we learn from our experiences. Speak to someone you trust. Seek professional help with the help of a trusted adult. You have a long way to go in life. Be positive and have a healthy lifestyle.


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I am good in studies, but I seem to get distracted easily

I am in Class X. I am good in studies, but I seem to get distracted easily. When I get free hour at school, I try to study, but my friends tease me by calling me names such as topper, bookworm etc. So I join them and have fun. I have realized that at home, I spend a lot of time texting my friends. So please tell me how I can avoid this without hurting my friends.

It is very important to be clear about your goals. Also, understand that it is not possible to satisfy everyone. At the same time, you must not become arrogant and hurt others’ feelings either. It is very important to develop the skill of being assertive. When you are assertive, you stand up for yourself without hurting the feelings of others. Be open in your communication. Learn to tell “no” politely, when you have work to do. Set clear boundaries to help yourself understand when to say yes and when to say no. assertiveness comes by practice and it takes time. Never allow yourself to be exploited simply to satisfy others. Listen to others’ opinions patiently. You can help others while completing your own work too. Learn to prioritize you work. Stay calm and approach situations with confidence and without guilt.


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My parents don't trust me

I’m in Class IX. Until last month. I was using an app. Sometimes, the posts from one of the communities I was in, regarding teenagers, contain bad words and occasionally, bad concepts, which I usually ignore; all content was rated 13+. But, one day, when I was in school, my mom looked into my phone and was shocked by what she saw. I tried explaining to my parents that I usually ignore those things but they won’t listen. And long, patient talks aren’t helping. I am innocent and I want to prove it. Help me.

You are feeling bad what has happened and want to earn your parents’ trust. It is very important to take care when you are not allowed to watch certain content. Be clear on your boundaries. Age-appropriate restrictions are set in order to help you grow in a healthy way. Parents’ intentions are in the interest of their children. Your parents’ concerns are genuine and it is very important to gain their trust. An open discussion to accept one’s mistakes and to move forward is very important. Mistakes do happen and we have to learn from them. Reassurance is necessary. Assure them that you will use gadgets or social media-age-appropriately. It takes time to rebuild lost confidence, and you have to prove yourself through your actions. Every family has its rules, and respect them and follow them for your good. Be patient; time is the best healer. Instead of feeling guilty and getting upset, take responsibility for your actions and act accordingly. Your parents will understand your genuineness and believe you.


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I’m an adolescent girl attracted to girls

I’m an adolescent girl attracted to girls. I was happy about Section 377, but not many are okay with it and now the whole school just gives me weird looks. I’m feeling hopeless, not knowing whom to talk to about this because my friends are too immature to understand it. Please help.

Every individual has their own sexual orientation and it is natural. Although the LGBT community faces societal pressures, there is definitely more openness today in accepting them. Remember you are not alone and that there are many who experience such feelings during adolescence. What is essential is the “coming out”. You need a lot of support to manage your emotions. It needs a lot of courage to “come out”, and in order to do that, identify a person you trust to talk freely to. Seek their help, and approach a psychologist or counsellor in your city to guide you. Alternatively you could also approach an organization that supports the cause of the LGBT community. Stay strong and seek help at the earliest to manage your feelings.


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I want to be his friend as before

Five years ago, I had a crush on my best friend (now I like him only as my friend). One day without my knowledge my friend told him that I like him. From that day till today he never spoke to me. Whenever we meet now he always ignores me and avoids me and this hurts me a lot. Due to this, I have lost my appetite and can’t sleep peacefully. Whenever I see him I just feel like crying, I never wanted him to be my boyfriend. I don’t have the courage to go talk to him. I can’t take this feeling any more. All I want to be his friend like before. What should I do?

One of your friends, to whom you probably told of your past crush for that boy, took the initiative to tell him that you like him. The reaction of that boy seems to be out of proportion with that information (“From that day he never spoke to me”, “he always ignore me”, “avoids me”). If he really your “best friend” you should have the courage to talk to him and ask him the reason for his behaviour. Tell him exactly what you feel and that you want to be his friend as before. Falling into depression (“I have lost my appetite”, “can’t sleep peacefully”, “I feel like crying”) does not solve your problem. You have the right to speak the truth to him and put things right. If he does not listen to you and trust you, forget about him; without trust in each other there is no real friendship.


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My friends call me a girl

I am a boy studying in Std IX. My friends call me a girl. This hurts me a lot. I’m weak too so I cannot fight with them. Because of this, my studies have been affected. Please help.

Teenagers can be cruel sometimes. Your friends’ remarks hurt you a lot and are affecting your concentration on your studies. However, the more you show your hurt feelings, the more some of your friends may enjoy the fun. Try to ignore their remarks as if you do not care for what they say. There is no fun in taunting someone who doesn’t care.


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A boy is my friend on Facebook

A boy from a school near mine is my friend on Facebook. He says that he really like me a lot and gives me many compliments. I’ve started to like him too. He is very cute. I’m confused because my friends sometimes are his fans and sometimes hate him. He accepted all the requests my friends have sent even though he doesn’t know them. Because of this I think he’s a flirt. Plus he’s better-looking than me. Please give me your advice.

The best way to build a friendship is that of a personal face-to-face relationship, sharing joys and sorrows of life, helping and trusting each other. To have a friend on Facebook is not the same thing. As you are experiencing now, you end up getting confused and thinking he is “a flirt”. My advice is that you start real personal relationship filled with affection, trust and mutual help.


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He tries to make me feel jealous

I’m 15 years old and studying in Std X. My boyfriend and I were together for the past four years. We both love each other. But these days his behaviour has changed. He has started ignoring me. One day he even slapped me because I was fighting with him. My friends have often told me to leave him but I didn’t because every time I tried to break up with him, he would apologize and then we would continue our relationship. But this time he went off. He would go with other girls and try to make me feel jealous. I love him truly and want him to forget everything and start afresh, but he never tries to focus on it. What should I do?

At the tender age of 11 you and that boy started what is commonly called “puppy love”; just a children’s game. Without knowing the beauty and strength of mature love, your relationship is now breaking up: “he is ignoring me”, “he even slapped me because I was fighting with him”, he tries to make you “feel jealous”. It will take more time for both of you to mature psychologically and emotionally in order to understand the meaning of true love. Stop trying to “start afresh” a relationship on which “he never tries to focus”. Do not waste your time and focus on more important issues of your teen age.


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