Friday, 12 February 2010

I flunked my degree for this guy? Or, Building self-esteem in young people

The confessions just keep coming. When I was a young undergraduate I screwed up my degree. I could probably have got a 2.1 but I got a 2.2 and decided that I was an academic failure. A series of dead-end jobs followed (if I sound like I'm trying to sell a self-help book, in a way, I am). I messed up in my final year because I was mooning around after the guy in this video.

It's not his fault! The fact that he went from being a lefty (actually, we called him "a tankie" - his pin-up was Gorbachev) to an investment banker and then a pimp for private healthcare - that is his fault. But my pointless and ultimately destructive pining after him - that's not his fault. I'm not sure it was mine either, though.

This post is actually about building self-esteem in young people. Search me how you do it, but it needs doing. If I were to glean a few small pearls of wisdom from my reflections on this experience they are:

1. Parents: don't send your kids to single sex schools. They might get better exam results, but they will grow up with next to no common sense about how to handle relationships with members of the opposite sex (yes, this post is heteronormative, for which I apologise). For girls, any boyfriend will be something like a prize to show off to their friends, even if he is a complete plonker and should be shown the door.

2. Parents: help your kids with as much advice as you can give them, or they're willing to listen to, about studying, relationships, etc. If there's an area you don't know about, draft in outside help. And, remember, most young people also need guidance for many years after they have flown the nest.

3. Kids: don't fall in love with the first person you fall in love with, if that makes sense. Keep your options open. Shop around - it doesn't mean use people or (necessarily) sleep around. Just get to know as many people as possible, and don't settle for third or fourth best too quickly - or at all, if you can avoid it.

Of course, the above won't apply if you are polyamorous. Oh, what have I started? Anyway, I hope you get the gist.

No comments: