Our schools are rampant with innumerable traumatising and heart wrenching incidents involving puberty and adolescent health issues...The little girl upon whom, menarche crept up as a shock; and soaked in fear and embarrassment she locked herself in the school bathroom. The tormented young boy who wondered 'I like clothes 'n fashion.. am I gay?' The one labelled a 'chakka' for refusing to participate in his classmates' overtly explicit sexual acts. The girl pressurised into making a boyfriend to prove that she is 'normal'...
We as a society, do not prepare our children for puberty. Puberty and adolescence are matters best 'not discussed'... Periods, pads, pubic hair, night fall, libido, attraction,love... are all taboo words to be avoided as far as possible. If at all, children confront us with 'awkward' questions... we address them in the most cryptic way possible and simply 'get it over with'.
Ironically, the media and the web fill in for us, with their indiscriminate information explosion... where thin is beautiful and dark skin a curse.. where being in a 'relationship' is a mandate,and being a virgin a matter of shame...
While therapeutic interventions can largely circumvent the negative effects of various disturbing and traumatizing events and misleading ideologies; clearly the adage 'Prevention is better than cure' works best for adolescent health issues.
Proactive measures such as, Adolescent health Programs, custom designed to seamlessly fit into each school's existing curriculum, culture and ethos, aim at :-
Minimising the occurrence of untoward incidents
Keeping a check on the perpetuation of misleading ideologies
Generating preparedness as against awkwardness and shame, with reference to bodily & psychological changes that occur during puberty and adolescence
Empowering young adolescents to effectively handle social stressors
Empowering parents and teachers to be able to maturely address 'incidents' if any.
Such custom designed programs, thus help:-
Minimise occurrences of peer bullying & ostracising
Promote inclusive behaviour amongst young adolescents
Improve the happiness and success quotient of your students.
Create a healthy social environment, exuding positivity
and even Optimise academic performance of students!
Schools as the nurturers of our future generations, have the true power to be harbingers of social change. Schools have the power to increase the probability of their students growing up into well adjusted psychologically healthy and useful members of the society, as against them ending up as maladjusted adults, indulging in socially deviant behaviour.
Be a trendsetter, be the harbinger of the much needed Social Change in our outlook as a society...Let Social change begin at your school.
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