Ayisha was excited about her class trip to the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA). The class also visited the MIA Park that Saturday afternoon and everybody had good fun. Ayisha had so many stories to share with her mother when she got back. However, that evening, smiles turned to frowns as someone from her class had posted pictures and comments teasing her on Facebook. The next day, Ayisha confronted her classmates and wanted to know who did it, but no one confessed. The comments continued to grow even more hurtful and mean. Ayisha became increasingly agitated at home and at school. Nobody seemed to understand her and Ayisha found her world was at conflict with her parents and classmates.
Have you been in a situation like Ayisha? Have you ever been the laughing stock of your class? Have you ever felt that nobody understood you or the way you felt? The way information spreads is unpredictable, especially in schools where teasing and playing pranks are common. However, we do not understand the consequences it might have on the person being teased. As teenagers, we often face situations like this with our friends where a simple difference of opinion can turn personal. How do we deal with conflicts effectively?
When we stand up for our opinions, we may get teased or bullied. Sometimes, the facts may get manipulated and spread as gossip. The conflict may even turn into physical fights. While it is good to have fun, there must be boundaries in the way we have fun so that nobody gets hurt needlessly. As a result of being helpless when bullied online, teenagers sometimes take drastic steps. How can you deal with such issues without reacting in extreme ways?
Remember that when you are in conflict…
· You may not be able to control what happens to you, but you can control how you react.
· You can ask for help from an adult if you are unable to handle the situation and it is OK.
· You can walk away from a conflict and it does not make you a weaker person.
Remember all criticism is not harmful. Sometimes, they may be words of truth you need to hear so that you can become a better person. How should you react when you face critical comments? Here are a few pointers.
1. Consider whether what is being posted about you is true? The way you react to compliments or criticism will be more realistic if you can stick to the truth. For example, if you are called ‘dumb’ when you are scoring fairly good grades in school, you must let it go because it is not true!
2. Pause to think for a moment if any of the comments posted in public about you would affect your relationships with the people you value? Would they believe what is being said about you? If yes, go talk to them first about how you feel and ask them to support you.
3. Consider if any of the behavior you see is a result of your interactions that might have hurt anyone? If so, take steps to set things right and you will see the conflict resolved in no time.
Resolve conflicts and you will build your self esteem