SOS FOR TEENAGERS
, ,, RUZICA OBRADOVIC
for teenagers ANSWERS
TO QUESTIONS RAISED WHILE GROWING UP
Dobrosav Bob @ivkovi}
ALL PERIODS OF LIFE, ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU ARE YOUNG, THERE ARE PROBLE MS WHICH BURDEN YOU AND WHICH APPEAR SO HU GE AND IMPOSSIBLE TO SOLVE THAT YOU DO NOT TALK TO ANYONE ABOU T THEM. YOU DON’T DARE ASK YOUR NEAREST AN D DEAREST ABOUT THEM BECAUSE YO U ARE EMBARRASSED TO TALK TO THEM AB OUT SUCH THINGS. YOU DO NOT ASK YOUR FR IENDS BECAUSE YOU’RE ASHAMED TO SHOW THAT YOU DON’T KNOW THIN GS OR ARE SCAR ED OF BEING MISUNDERSTOOD , MOCKED OR REBUFFED (ALTHOUGH YOU ARE CE RTAIN THAT THEY ARE TROUBLED BY THE SAME PROBLEMS ). Y OU DON’T ASK ANYO NE WHO IS OLDE R THAN YOU BECAUSE YOU TH INK THAT NO ON E KNOWS YOU WELL ENOUGH TO GIVE YOU A PROP ER ANSWER…
ALTHOUGH IT MAY NO T LOOK THAT WA Y NOW, THE PROBLEMS OF YOUTH ARE SOLU BL E AND NONE IS SO LARG E AND COMPLEX THAT IT CANNOT BE SOLV ED BY APPLYING KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE . IN FACT, IF YOU TR Y HARD ENOUGH, YOU WI LL ALWAYS BE AB LE TO FIND SOMEONE WHO CA N HELP YOU.
LOOK INTO THIS BOOK . SOME OF THE ANSW ERS ARE ALREADY IN IT. YOUR PSYCHOLOGIST RUZICA OBRADOVIC
NOTHING AT ALL INTERESTS ME. PLEASE HELP ME
nterests are created. People are not born with them and we do not inherit them from our parents or ancestors. The interests of those around us may, but do not have to, become our own interests. In order for something to become the object of our interest, we have to know something about it or try and find out something about it. You cannot say that books do not interest you if you do not read them, that films and plays do not interest you if you never go to a cinema or theatre, that you do not care for art if you never visit exhibitions and art galleries, that you are not interested in sport if you never engaged in any, that politics is boring if you have no idea what is happening in your own country or any other, that religion does not interest you if you know nothing about the faith, culture and tradition of peoples, that computers are boring if you never seriously looked at one… Try new things. Experiment. Accompany friends to karate lessons, volleyball training sessions or dance classes, borrow from others books or CDs they like, go to exhibitions with a relative who knows about art … Very often we like doing things we are “good at” – start from this and find a field or interest in which you will be able to develop those abilities and express yourself.
AM FAT AND I AM MISERABLE. IN FACT I BECOME MISERA BLE ONLY AFTER I FINISH EATING. WHILE I AM EATING
ENJOY MYSELF IMMENSELY AND CAN’T STOP
ALWAYS EAT WI TH THE FULL CONVICTION TH AT FROM THE VERY NEXT DAY I WILL CHANGE MY BEHA VIOUR, CUT MY FOOD IN TAKE AND GO ON A DIET. BUT IN MY CASE TOMORROW NEVER COMES. I AM AL WAYS
ENVIOUS OF SK INNY GIRLS AND FASHION MO DELS AND WANT TO LOOK LIKE THEM, BUT I FIND CO MFORT IN THE FACT THAT THEY
ALWAYS SUFFER , THAT THEY ARE CONSTANTLY HUNGRY AND ALWAYS SH ORT OF SOMETHING NICE IN LIFE. HOW CAN I EAT WELL AND STILL BE PRETTY ?
hy is it that we want to be beautiful? Probably because we want someone to like us. So what does it mean, to be liked, when we know very well that there as many different tastes as there are different people? What is beautiful to someone may not be someone else, and vice versa. Beauty may be important only during the first meeting, but even that isn’t necessarily so. More important is the overall impression we make. Any further contact requires much more than just good looks. What is needed is harmony, compatibility, mutual understanding. People who are positive always look good. A girl who is happy sees herself as pretty and attractive, even though she might be overweight or too thin. She is always prettier if she is a good mood than when she is sullen and preoccupied with sapping thoughts about everything that she has been deprived of in her struggle to achieve a goal which is in fact not her own goal but a general, social, objective set by someone else.
Every one of us should think carefully why they want to lose weight: for their own sake, for their own health, or because of others; is a good meal more important to us than a flat belly? Moderation in our eating, listening to signals from our bodies which tell us whether we are still hungry or not, sports activities (or at least a good walk every day) can help us to stay slim without dieting or needlessly depriving ourselves of nourishment. It would be good if you stopped the endless struggle against yourself. Important advice: sprawling in bed after meals should be replaced by a brisk walk or other physical activity!
I THINK I AM UGLY, MY HAIR IS HORRIBLE AND MY NOSE IS TOO BIG. I AM ALSO TOO SHORT. I THIN K I HAVE AN INFERI ORITY COMPLEX
nhappiness with one’s looks is a frequent problem in adolescence. This is a period in life in which kids pay a lot of attention to their bodies and to what others BECAUSE OF TH say, but keep in mind that physical development IS. HOW CAN I RID is still not finished and nature has not yet comMYSELF OF IT? pleted its work. The years ahead will bring you physical changes, but also changes in self-perception – like all of us, you will gradually get used to your looks and accept yourself as you are. In the meantime, do not allow dissatisfaction to hinder you and try to invest in yourself and in the other qualities you have. People who are funny, well-educated and charming are very popular, particularly with the other sex. That is why it is important that besides your bodily characteristics you also acquire those that are much more important, such as knowledge, education and good manners. Try not to delve into your physical traits and instead fill your time with other thoughts and other content. And when your physical development is complete, if you are still unhappy, you can find ways to change things – plastic surgery is capable of miracles nowadays.
I LOVE BLACK AND ALL MY CLOTHE S ARE BLACK. IT’S DR IVING MY PARENTS CR AZY. BUT I DO LOVE DARK COLOURS AND I LOVE TO SEE MYSELF IN BL ACK. I AM A HAPPY PE RSON, GOOD IN SCHO OL, HAVE MANY FRIE NDS AND NOT A ME MBER OF ANY CULT. WHY ARE PEOPLE SO INTERESTED IN OTHERS AND WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT HO W ONE IS DRESSED?
ou are asking why dress is so important. Well, it’s important to everybody, it’s also important to you. If it wasn’t, you would easily rid yourself of your love for black and you would not care what colours you wore. Clothes are one of the ways in which we present ourselves to other people. You are comfortable and happy to be in black, and that is very important. We will find it easier to get others to like us if we are happy with ourselves.
You say they find fault with you and wonder why people are so concerned with others. In this case those people are your nearest and dearest, your parents. They react to your dress first of all out of anxiety and fear (in our culture black is a negative colour, associated with death, mourning and despair leading to neglect of one’s looks). Your parents probably also think that there are many more cheerful colours and that youth is the right time for red and yellow, bright and light colours.
I HAVE ALWAYS HAD AN IDOL. I PU T HIS PICTURES UP ON MY WALLS AND
COLLECT EVERYT HING CAN FIND ABOU T HIM. MY PARE NTS THINK THAT I HAVE OUTGROWN SUCH BEHAVIOUR AND SHOULD NOT HA VE A HERO AT MY AG E. BUT ALL MY
s always, the truth is somewhere in the middle. Both you and your parents are right. Both sides have their own arguments, which are not to be sneered at.
As children grow up they create their idols and look up to them. They try to imitate those they love and respect, those that impress them by the way they behave or go through life. As a rule, children’s first heroes are their own parents, whom they see as FRIENDS DO TH E all-powerful and magnificent beings. As they grow SAME AS I DO . up, children notice that parents are not really all that WHO IS RIGHT? MY powerful, beautiful and successful, that they have FRIENDS OR MY many shortcomings. The focus now shifts to figures PARENTS? from the imagination which are recognised in film, music and sports superstars, who always look very special in shiny and glamorous photographs and TV footage. They emanate an image of carelessness, glamour, luxury, happiness. In real life many obstacles stand in the way of the realisation of one’s ideals and dreams. The existence of idols is a way for children to distance themselves from their parents and enter the adult world. So idols are useful and necessary. But what happens when adulation becomes excessive? That is where the parents’ arguments come into play. Parents may be insecure in the role of teacher, they fear making mistakes and that their children could do astray… But in any case parents always want nothing but the best for their children. They do not want their children to suffer because they do not look like a film star or lack the talent of a famous football player or do not have the body of the fashion model they adore… It is good to respect people who have achieved something in life. Such respect could serve as a boost for us to do our best to accomplish at least some of our aims, if not all of them. But we must never go too far in this and neglect the search for our own identities, or lose them altogether.
I LIKE TO DRINK ALCOHOL, AND SOMETIMES I GO TOO FAR. SHOUL D I BE WORRIED AB OUT THIS?
n our society there is a belief that drinking alcohol is not a negative thing; on the contrary, it is seen as an obligatory part of growing up and as a harmless habit which can vanish as easily as it first appeared.
Alcohol is seductive because it makes possible an escape from real life, from the pressures and demands of the community; it loosens brakes and restrictions on behaviour, it reduces boredom, increases satisfaction, cheer and desire for excitement, and seems to bring you nearer to others... But I am certain that all of you know that things are not that simple and harmless and that alcohol addiction is a dangerous and serious condition. Many people take a drink now and then, and not all of them are alcoholics. The boundary between the beginning of alcoholism and ‘harmless’ drinking is difficult to draw. Drinking alcohol every day and frequent intoxication are signs of alcohol addiction. At the beginning alcoholics raise their tolerance thresholds: later on their need more and more alcohol to get drunk. In the succeeding stages, alcoholics get drunk after a single glass. Although I hope that you are not an alcoholic and that this does not concern you, do not be cross if I am completely frank: this could be a beginning. I wish I could give you a ready-made recipe ‘how to stop drinking alcohol,’ but I’m afraid none such exists. I can suggest that every time you are in a position to drink a beer or other alcoholic beverage you stop for a minute and think what you stand to gain and what you stand to lose. I am sure that you will choose correctly.
I SMOKED A JOINT AT A PARTY BECAUSE EVERYBODY ELSE DID . WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO ME?
hat will happen to you depends entirely on you and your own choice. Here is a little bit of help.
The reasons why people take narcotic drugs include the following: boredom, experimentation, curiosity, a wish to try something new, inability to resist pressures from those around us, gullibility, a desire to escape from reality on account of personal or family problems… Narcotics may initially be taken occasionally, irregularly. We call this social consumption, which depends on initiative of the company you are in. This is followed by more serious forms: habitual use and loss of control (drugs are taken both when there is a physical need created by previous consumption and when no such need exists), abuse, continuous consumption in spite of negative consequences, and, finally, full addiction – in this last phase narcotics become the addict’s one and only concern in life. “Light drugs cannot harm you because they do not create addiction.” This was
probably how they convinced you to try drugs. There are no ‘light’ and ‘heavy’ drugs. All narcotics are dangerous and can lead to serious and irreparable physical and mental damage; even a single consumption of a drug can be harmful. Narcotics create physical or mental addiction, or both. Marijuana (commonly called grass, weed, joint) has been proven to damage and destroy nerve cells, sometimes leading to serious mental illness. The most serious consequences are where narcotics are combined with alcohol. Those who take drugs and do not want to admit their addiction to themselves and others employ the following defence mechanisms: denial (“I am not addicted,” “My daily fixes are my own choice, it’s no big deal”), minimisation (“I do it only occasionally…” partial awareness of the problem, involuntary self-delusion rather than full delusion), rationalisation (“All kids take something,” “Everybody has done it…” – this is your case), projection (“If they had not persuaded me, I would never have taken it!” - beliefs, feelings and convictions are attributed to others), and suppression (forgetting unpleasant side-effects, like nausea, vomiting, aggressiveness, bad behaviour). Think about your own motives to behave like everybody else: what you expect to gain and what you think you will lose by consuming drugs, even if you are only smoking a single joint; isn’t it better to be your own self, to be original, rather than trying to copy everyone else… Try to talk to your parents, tell them what happened and do not conceal your concern.
I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHAT PEOPLE ME AN WHEN THEY SAY ‘BODY LANGUAGE’ bserve the manner in which people talk, sit, stand…More than one-half of our information about people to whom we talk does not come from their words but from their gestures, mimicry, their tone, pose and look, the manner in which they listen to use and behave. Besides communicating with words, which we call verbal communication, we also transmit information without words - non-verbal communication. Apart from the actual content of words, every message is also moderated by the voice (tone, colour, pace and volume of speech, breaks) and body movements, or gestures. Body language is conscious or unconscious transmission of information about emotions and opinions using signals from our body. Everything that you see that is made up of gestures, movements and mimicry (body orientation, posture, gestures, touches, head movements…) is called body language. Non-verbal communication often more powerful than verbal communication. A good observer will often be able to correctly assess people by their facial expression, hand and arm movements, leg position and body posture. Non-verbal communication is often directed by our subconscious, our hidden needs and desires. Body language and its interpretation are socially conditioned and depend on the culture in which the individual lives. The same gesture can be interpreted in completely different ways in different parts of the world. Always listen carefully to everyone you talk to and assess them both by their words and their overall behaviour.
In all period s of your life ,e when you a re young, th specially e re are problems w hich burden and tormen you that ap t pear to you so huge an impossible d to solve tha t yo not talk to a nyone abou u do t them. However, a lthough it m ight not seem s o now, the problems of youth ca n be solved and none is so big and complex th a t knowledge and experie nce cannot solve it. If you look hard enoug h, you can always find someone w ho can help you. Look into th is book. Some answ ers are alre ady at hand .