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Thursday, 5 November 2015

Gain Control of Situations - Ask your cousellor Q&A Column

[The following column answered by me appeared in the Deccan Herald Education supplement of October 29, 2015]

Dear Madam,

I don’t know who to turn to help. My parents moved to a new town during this academic year and have started new jobs. I think they have enough problems without me adding to them. I started at my new school this academic year. I have made no friends. Two boys keep calling me names and the others laugh every time they do it. They always shout at me when the teacher isn’t around. It happens in the classroom, playground and when I am walking to and from school. Please help me. I can’t take it anymore.

A distressed boy

Dear distressed boy

Please don’t think that you need to protect your parents from your worries because they have too much to handle. I am sure wanting you to settle down well will be their primary objective and if you don’t tell them about what is bothering you they will never know. They are adults and know how to take care of their needs. You do not have to think that what you tell them is an added burden on them.

Having said that, you need to believe in yourself and your worth. The other children in school will pick on someone they think will not stand up to them. You need to prove them wrong. You are worthy and capable no matter what anyone may say, and they need to know that. Just because they call you names and laugh at you does not mean that they have a right to do that, or that you deserve that. You should speak up and let the teacher know. And also let them know that you can stand up for yourself. If someone thinks you are not good enough, it does not mean that you become that. You have to believe that you are good enough and capable and worthy and that no one has the right to undermine your confidence. You may reach out to the free Parivarthan Counselling Helpline at 080-65333323 if you want to talk to someone about it. Please also read my article on this topic at .

Good luck

Dear Madam, 

I am 15 years old and in the ninth standard. My classmates make me sick. They treat me badly and that scares me. Every morning when I go to my classroom they wait for me by the only entrance. I can’t go to my teachers or my parents because they don’t believe me. How do I come out of this situation?

Dear JM

What scares you? What is your worst fear? What are worried about that your classmates can do to you? You must try to articulate and define what you are scared about and when you do that most of the time you will realize that the fear may be an irrational fear. Once you realize that, it may not be that scary anymore. The reason your classmates have this power over you is because you of the fear which makes you feel vulnerable and out of control. Please remember that you are in control over what happens to you. If you think differently about things and situations, you can regain control and not feel so helpless. Please see a counsellor to help you with this, if you have one in your school. You could also call the helpline that I have talked about above. I would also ask you to read this article on my blog which will help you understand the situation you are in a little differently and believe in the power within you.

Good luck

Dear Madam,

A classmate I have known for many years blackmails me into spending more time on her than I want to. She gets upset if I don’t reply to her long e-mails. I don’t know how to extricate myself from this ‘friendship’ because I am fed up with her negative self-pity,


Dear LR

You are feeling helpless because you have given up your control. You must regain your control in this situation which will not make you feel helpless in this situation. A person may expect whatever they do, but it is in your control how much you fulfil those expectations. You do not have to fulfil everyone’s expectations all of the time. This may get some people upset with you sometimes and that is okay. Everyone does not have to like you and be happy with you all the time. The same way you do not like some people all the time, and all people some of the time, it is okay for others not to like you as well. So if your friend is not okay with you spending the amount of time you feel appropriate she may be upset but if she values you she will understand. If she does not understand then that relationship may not be all that you think it is. In a friendship or any other relationship it is important for both people to be able to define and establish their boundaries as they find comfortable. So go ahead and take back the control and define your boundaries.

Good luck!


  1. Dear madam,
    I am a 17-year-old student.I just passed out from 12th std.I wanted to do medical,but did not get a rank due to insufficient time.But i was so determined to get into medical at that time,that my parents allowed me take a year off for the preparations of competitive exams.Now i don't know why but i'm not able to concentrate or control my mind.I seem to be getting distracted a lot while studying.Exams are nearing and i am getting tensed about the results.I did not join any coaching institute as my parents told me self preparation is the best way.I thought it won't be that difficult since i had already gone through the syllabus once.But now i am facing difficulties.i don't know what to do.i am starting to doubt my own abilities.I still want to do medical,but i am starting to feel that i won't get a rank this year too.Please help me.

  2. I have answered this question for you in the column which will appear on December 31st. Here is my answer again:

    "You need to believe in yourself. Maybe you are not being able to concentrate because of anxiety around the exams. Because you took a year off to prepare you may be feeling under pressure to do well. Remember that this entrance exam is not an end in itself. It is just a means to an end. And if you don’t do well in this exam, it does not mean that you are a total failure. All it means is that you may need to look for some other doors that may open for you, some other opportunities that may come your way. It is good to pursue your dream and give it your best shot. But if you are not able to achieve it, it does not mean that all is lost.
    As for needing help, there is still time and you may still be able to get some help. You could get some help with a one-to-one tutor who could just work with your doubts and that may help give you some confidence. Meanwhile, you may also want to read this article on exam anxiety which may be of help
    All the best