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Teaching Life Skills To Adolescents

This workshop was conducted at Banjara Academy, R.T.Nagar on 02 April 2011. The workshop was conducted by Dr. Ali Khwaja.

The presentation began with Ali asking how many adolescents were present in the room. According to him it is not the biological age that defines an adolescent.

“If you can break through a few barriers, teenagers can be the most interesting, educative and enjoyable company you can have.” Ali set the workshop rolling.

Adolescents and Life Skills Then he moved on to slide-shows which gave an insight to all about an adolescent and how to look at them. The age at which one becomes an adolescent is fixed by the biological process of puberty, but the age at which it ends is not clearly defined. Regardless of how many years you spent on this earth you still can be an adolescent, if you have unresolved issues and ideas. This can be prevented if proper life skills taining is given. Life skills give you a clear picture of what you want and how to do it.

It helps one to understand and deal with the turmoil of relationships, how to deal with friends, parents, teachers, etc. People who do not have a clear definition of life are never happy and content. They will not be able to move ahead in life. If a child is empowered to bring an understanding and balance in life, the more satisfied he will grow up to be.

How do you do it? Remember, teenagers are not a problem. Teenagers are best described as part-time adults and part-time teenagers (they decide which part-time when). If you can agree with this idea and accept it, you will have a very smooth and enjoyable relationship with a teenager.

Ali stressed “A teenager needs to be given more independence, freedom and an environment where he is permitted to question everything without being scolded or judged.”

A teenager asking “why” is not the worry but your not answering it is the problem. It is easier to answer his why than escalating the situation to a level that he grows up and gets into an argument. (things like WHY???..did the pundit tell you so??!!)

Communication with adolescents Believe in open communication. Keep all channels open wherein he can share/talk about any subject without hesitation. Allow him to take decisions. Do not push your ideas on him without reasoning. Remember that what you feel is most friendly and comfortable need not be his way of seeing things. Let him pick and choose, this way he will stick to it.

When we talk of open communication remember not to be the interrogating officer. If he walks in and say” you know what, I went to the canteen today….” And you ask “WHERE”? that will be the end of the conversation. Allow him to finish his narration, understand him and let him know that you are with him. You ask questions and also encourage him to ask too, especially on delicate subjects like sex, family, friends, finance etc. but also ask yourself if you are comfortable about the subject before you can discuss it with the adolescent. And also remember that they are well aware of the world around them by now. They will surprise you with their knowledge.

Ground Rules Ali then spoke about the importance of ground rules and the need to explain them to the adolescent. First of all we need to be convinced by the rules and then give reasons for the rules and then stick by them. Do not alter rules to suit your convenience. As far as possible give choices when giving instruction. You can lay down certain norms and then give them a choice within the norm. do not make threats of punishment unless you can implement them. Punishment should be immediate and constructive, for the act or action and not against the child.

Other topics and interaction
Few other topics covered were

  • The importance of not mixing academics and recreation.
  • How to deal with the boy-girl relationship
  • Improving self esteem of the girl
  • How to befriend your teenager.


After the slide show Ali introduced to the audience a few teenagers present in the workshop and gave the participants an opportunity to interact. We interacted with them and tried to understand their views on what they feel about certain things like discipline, parents as friends, comparisons with friends , siblings and peers. how open they want they parents to be etc.

The message from the workshop was loud and clear The best way to deal with the teenager is to become one and start enjoying life all over again!

Report by Rekha Chakraborty


Related Thoughts on Teenagers
Living With Adolescents
Should I tolerate unacceptable behaviour of my son?
Teenage Memories
My Son is Refusing to go to School

See Dr. Ali Khwaja's Thought on
How To Communicate With A Teenager

See Book on
Understanding Teenagers

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