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Tears welled up in my eyes as I went home from the birthday party my school friend had organised. Some of them had again made fun of me. I was hurt. My mother could instantly make out that something was wrong with her darling daughter. I didn't utter a word but went straight away to my room and locked myself. All night I kept thinking what exactly was wrong with me. Did I really belong to that group of girls that I considered to be my friends? Were my school friends reliable? Did they really like me too as much as I liked them or was it just a facade they were putting up? Over a period of time I could sense that they would leave no opportunity to make fun of me. A few days back when they went out for a movie, I could feel the way in which one of them gazed at my dress mockingly and then exchanged those mean and snide remarks with other girls in the group. Oh! How humiliating it was. Agreed I was not impeccably dressed but then making fun of somone in public is bad manners. I still need time to develop my sense of fashion, I thought to myself. But then most of my girl friends were second borns and had elder sisters to guide them. In my case I was the eldest in my family with no one to guide me or look up to. Oh! How I loved to be a part of this group of seven eight girls, who would carry with them juicy tales of their sisters fashion sense and flings. But somewhere in my heart of hearts, day by day the feeling of being 'unwanted' in that group was surmounting.
I remember someone saying that school days are the best phase of ones life. But looking back I realise that that was not the case with me. I was suffering from teenage peer pressure. Every action of mine would put me in self doubt when my so called friends were around. Be it a dress, a bag, shoes I always yearned to seek their approval which never came easily.
Two of my class mates could make out the difference in my behaviour. I was very different when I was with them. Very outspoken and happy. They brought out the best in me. But I was extremely conscious when I was around this 'group'. Gradually I got rid of this 'accept me' syndrome. It took me some time to move away from peer pressure. I started avoiding their parties and get togethers.
It was a new but somewhat lonely beginning for me but gradually I managed to free myself from that hurtful gang.
Teenage friendship has a lot to do with similarities and acceptance between friends. Although I had a very supportive set of parents who imbibed a strong set of values and morals in me, I was not open to the idea of sharing bitter personal experiences of my unkind friends with them. I thought that would trouble them.
Now as a mother of a teenager, when I dwell upon my school life, I feel I was far more mature than my counterparts. And I am glad I had a selfish set of friends because of whom I dealt with myriad human traits as an adult effortlessly! In school I coped with that pressure single handedly with strong support from my mother.
I decided to move away from these thankless friends. Two of my supportive and accepting friends had a very positive opinion about me and that gave me a sesnse of belongingness. The feeling of being valued further enhanced the sense of security in me. My mom used to give me a patient hearing. She would listen to me with great interest and help me find out solutions to problems that were of paramount importance to me then, but what I now consider trivial. I love you mom for that super support! It helped me stay away from getting depressed. My confidence boosted my morale to to better in life. There was a world away from these nasty friends, my mom told me. It was upto me to explore that treasure trouve. And that is exactly what I did. By not giving undue importance to ruthless people around me, I created a world of my own where I would feel loved and accepted. I was lucky to find people who enjoyed my company and appreciated my work. Looking back, I feel supportive parents play a big role in moulding your character as a grown up.
Here are a few tips to build up your child's confidence in case he/she is surrounded by unkind friends.
# Give a patient hearing - Listen to them without questioning. Its magical for them.
#Be supportive-Family is the biggest support they want to latch on to.
#Be present- Even if you cannot force your child to speak up, be aware that he is going through a rough patch.
#Let them learn from mistakes- Instead of protecting them let them learn from their mistakes. Its a good learning lesson at times.