A boy in a hoodie eating Skittles on the way home
gives you the jitters.
But the news reports on cold-blooded murders?
Those you’ve long been numbed to.
Kill the young trans girl-
who knows what kind of monster she’ll transform into next?
Shoot the woman playing with her nephew.
How dare she be seen in her own backyard
Gun down the children,
so they don’t have to run from the monsters
Blow up the streets,
so when the monsters break into your house, you’ll be long gone
Wipe the blood off your forehead,
It’s okay – every home houses its own nightmares
Live with him anyway,
because no one’s going to believe you
Don’t try to speak up,
your melanin does the talking for you
Cover yourself up, blend into the walls.
You’re never safe in your own skin
Arm yourself with pepper spray,
lest the ink of the night pull you in
Hold your purse close, your head low
Stay in the shadows
The monsters under your bed
Wouldn’t stand a chance against the ones in your head
Because these ones don’t scream “boo”
before they come for you.
This piece is written by Ayushee Roy. She is a first-year English and pre-Communication Studies major. Ayushee is a meme-enthusiast who firmly believes that pineapple belongs on pizza and that dark chocolate is the universal cure to a bad day.
To include your work/ voices here, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
“I am sure, they do,” I said, “but what’s more important is, do you like yourself?”
This was a conversation with a teen today and that’s the reason for this topic yet again. I believe that before we decide to change our life for the better, we need to do a self-esteem check. Adults, kids and teens, us all. Unless, we have looked at our insecurities, our fears and self worth, we can not lead a happy, healthy and productive life. From chasing goals, to being motivated; from developing strong relationships to being resilient, a lot depends on how we see ourselves. So, here’s breaking down Self- Esteem
In psychology, self-esteem means a person’s overall sense of worth. In simple words it means what you think about yourself and how much you appreciate and like yourself. This encompasses your beliefs about yourself, your perception of your appearance, your emotions, and behaviors.
Self Esteem and Teens
A healthy self-esteem works wonders. It can change your attitude, perspectives and relationships with yourself and others. A healthy self-esteem allows teens to explore possibilities, take calculated risks and problem solve, skills that eventually help them to lead a successful and well-rounded life in the future.
Signs of Healthy Self-Esteem include:
Ability to say no
Ability to see strengths and weaknesses
Ability to bounce back from setbacks
Ability to express needs and emotions
Signs of Low Self-Esteem include:
Lack of confidence
Inability to express needs and emotions
Excessive focus on weaknesses rather than strengths
Feelings of guilt, shame, depression, and anxiety
Belief that others are better than you
Trouble accepting positive feedback
Intense fear of failure
The good news is that self-esteem can be rebuilt.
What can you do?
Use positive affirmations.
Identify your strengths and competencies and develop them further.
List accomplishments and celebrate small and big successes.
Learn to accept compliments.
Eliminate self-criticism and introduce self-compassion
Practice positive self-talk.
What can parents do?
First and foremost, do not allow yout teen to go in to isolation. Communication channels should be kept open and it is important to find out where the source of low self-esteem is stemming from. If talking to your teen is not helping, seek the assistance of teachers, counsellors or mentors. Once the source of low self-esteem is established, parents can help by modeling self-affirming behaviors, practising positive self-talk, providing a non-judgemental space, and ensuring constant communication.
What can friends do?
Use positive affirmations to encourage your friend. Be encouraging and avoid judging. Offer emotional support. Do seek out professional help if your friend self harms or thereatens to do so.
Too Much Self-Confidence?
In most cases, knowing your strengths and having the assuredness are admirable qualities, but if your over-confidence makes you inflexible, opposed to trying new things, and incapable of listening to others, it can have a negative impact on your life as well. This can result in:
Missed opportunities, because you assume something to be too easy
Taking on too much, because you overjudge your capabilities
Alienating friends because you come across as, ‘arrogant.’
Relationship issues, as you might end up overly concerned with your own performance and do not pay attention to others.
A balance of everything is good. Same rule applies here. Start with positive affirmations and build yourself up, step by step.
“I like myself,” say it with a smile.
Or rather, “I like myself on most days. Sometimes, I like myself a little less, but that’s okay.”
(The writer is a teen- mentor/ mediator and conducts talks & workshops on self-esteem, positive communication and self-development).
If you haven’t heard of ghosting yet, you probably should. Ghosting is common and the concept is not even new. However, it has become more pronounced lately due to the multiple channels of social media access that we give the people we get close to.
What is Ghosting?
Ghosting is when someone you care about (and thought cared about you too), disappears without any explanation, with no phone call, no email, and not even a text. They remove themselves from your life, ending all contact or communication. Ghosting may happen at any given point of time in a relationship (or friendship) and contrary to popular belief, it’s the girls who do more of the disappearing act.
(We received this note from a parent. As per our usual practice, the name has been kept anonymous. You can write to us at email@example.com).
Your last post on bullying touched my heart. I would like to share my own experience as a parent. This year, my daughter went through bullying episodes in school. She’s not yet a teen. The eposodes were severe, and happened during recess, when people called her names and touched her and shoved her. We kept the school informed, but one day, we got a call from the school and from the police. My daughter had tried to take her life. Can you imagine!!! She is not even 10! We were devastated and shattered. Actions were taken and the school suspended few students. But, even now my daughter is very scared and we are taking her for counselling sessions.
I would like to share this with the other parents and also with the other kids/ teens, going through similar things. I want to let them know that they are not alone. I also want to share this so that bullying episodes are not brushed aside as something that is inevitable or ‘just a part of growing up.’ Bullying is serious and should be taken seriously.
A pre-teen came back from school, upset. The reason was that she felt excluded during lunch. No one had said anything mean to her but she was ignored as the rest of the girls chatted away to each other, without replying to her comments. This happened again and again, and though there was no physical abuse, no verbal taunts and no fights, her friends chose to consistently ignore her. The result was that this otherwise bubbly girl retreated in to her shell and became reticent. Very often she would refuse to go to school.
This bullying story is not uncommon and this could be any school and any child. However, this should not go unnoticed. Bullying in any form has a negative impact. It not only affects the self-esteem of the one who is bullied, but it also creates an environment that is detrimental to general wellbeing of all. It is necessary therefore, to understand what is bullying. When parents and schools partner to create a bully-free environment, a supportive and collaborative community is created for all.
What is bullying?
Bullyinginvolves deliberately hurting or upsetting another person through hurtful words, actions or social exclusions. It is often an unwanted, aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. It may not just be one incident, but a behavior that is repeated (or has the potential to be repeated) over time.
What are the different types of bullying?
Physical: Hitting, punching, pushing, shoving, grabbing etc.
Verbal: Insults, name-calling, teasing, threats and racial slurs.
Social: Gossiping, rumours, and exclusion from group activities.
Online: Cyberbullying through text messages, email and social networking sites.
(See Channel News Asia’s video on Cyber-bullying here).
• Unexplainable injuries and bruises
• Changes in eating habits
• Lost or destroyed clothing, books and stationeries
• Sleeping difficulty
• Frequent headaches or stomach aches
• Feeling sick or faking illness
• Declining grades
• Refusal to go to school
• Sudden loss of friends or isolation
What can parents do to help?
1) Nurture a Bully-Free Environment
Empower your children to stand up against bullying, and to report if they see their friends being bullied as well. You can also talk to your children about the various ways they can support a bullied friend.
2) Stay calm and support your child
Dr Eileen Kennedy Moore, author of Smart Parenting for Smart Kids, suggests that parents should teach their children to keep their reactions neutral in case of bullying. This discourages the bully from picking on them again. Similarly, parents should stay calm themselves while supporting their child. Dr Jole Habel explains more. Watch the video here.
Other preventive suggestions include, regularly talking to your child about the things going on in his or her life, being in touch with the teachers to know how your child is doing socially, andlistening and responding to all complaints about bullying from your children (even if they seem trivial).
3) Nip bullying in the bud
It is not enough to talk just about being bullied. Have a discussion on being a bully as well. Talk to your child about empathy and trust to ensure that he or she does not engage in bullying behaviour. It is also a good idea to have a discussion on consequences and put certain corrective measures in place (if needed).
Our post is about someone who found it hard to fit in. Everyone who struggles to fit in will tell you that they want people to notice what’s good, to acknowledge what one can do, and to try and understand the beauty of uniqueness. We all want to understand and be understood. Only sometimes we have to try a little harder.
Ziyue is a Singapore-based illustrator and a graduate of Ringling College of Art and Design in US. She may not be able to hear the sounds and the words, but she sure knows how to translate the words in to emotions through her illustrations.
It all started with drawing on the wall as a kid,” she says. Art was a form of escape from the struggles, frustration and confusion of “growing up deaf.” Her mum encouraged her to draw and continues to be her biggest supporter. When she was nine, her mum transferred Ziyue from a Hearing Impaired school to a mainstream school, so that she could fit into society despite her disability.
Anyone with a dream will tell you that it’s not easy. It couldn’t have been easy for her too. People grow disheartened when faced with challenges, and so did Ziyue. Somewhere down the road, Ziyue stopped creating art when she wasn’t doing well academically. Eventually though, she managed to complete her schooling and then completed her diploma in Digital Media Design, majoring in Animation. She worked as an animator for a Children’s Television Programme.
Today, Ziyue works mostly on Children’s Books, mural painting and print media from concept development to print. She says that she draws inspirations from life experiences, from memories, travel and people around her, which in her words, is “basically everywhere that comes within my senses”. Ziyue’s world is full of colours. “I’m happy to be an artist, working as a Children’s Book Illustrator and occasionally sketching in my personal sketchbook.”
Her story of colours and warmth is a reassurance. It reminds us of a rainbow after the rain, and of possibilities in a life full of challenges. An inspiration, not only to those who are faced with challenges in life, but also to those who would like to follow their hearts, Ziyue Chen makes it seem possible.
“I like that you emphasized on possibilities and my art, more than on my deafness,” said Ziyue when she read the feature our founding member had done for her. Read the feature here. We are grateful to Ziyue for allowing us to share her story.
* Times have changed: You keep telling us about what you did when you were our age, but everything is so different now. We just can’t relate to that. So, please don’t expect us to behave the way you did at our age. We have to move with the times.
* We need help to manage the stress and pressures in our lives, even if we show that we are very independent and capable. Do check in on us from time to time.
* Give us space to be ourselves. We do need help sometimes but that does not mean that we need constant monitoring.
* Trust us and give us few responsibilities. We might fail at times, but we will try real hard to stand up to your expectations.
* Even “good” kids act out every once in awhile. That does not mean that we have turned “bad” now.
* We need to unwind. Please allow us some personal time to do whatever we wish to, or to ‘do nothing’ if that’s how we unwind.
* We want you, our parents, to be proud of us and accept us for who we are. Please don’t compare us to others.
* We hate to see you fight. It shakes our faith and scares us a lot.
* We care about what you think of us. Even if our peers influence us, what you think of us, matter a great deal to us. Sometimes, even more than our friends (though we may not show this to you).
* Please understand that the internet plays an important and positive role in our lives. It’s not always a bad influence.
* We will make mistakes – but you can guide us through this.
* It’s hard to fit in with people and that’s why we act out sometimes.
* We have a lot going on at school, sometimes more than you realise.
* Sometimes we can’t express our feelings when we are hurt or upset, and that’s why we find ways to release the anxiety (sometimes in ways that you do not approve).
* We love you. We may pull away so that we can establish our own identity, but that doesn’t mean that we dont love you.
(This is a #teenspeak section. For mentoring enquires, contact firstname.lastname@example.org/ email@example.com)