Archive for May 2015

US School shooting – Juvenile Crime and Its Dangers

May 7, 2015, 2:35 am

Juvenile crime, formally known as juvenile delinquency, is a term that defines the participation of a minor in an illegal act. A delinquent is a person who is less than 18 years of age and commits an act which would have been called a crime had he or she been an adult. Legal systems generally treat such cases differently than that of adults considering, of course, the severity of the crime and how it has been committed. Delinquents are usually sent to juvenile detention centers and trialed at special courts.
For the past few years, juvenile crime has been rampant. The average age for the act of first crime has dropped noticeably. About 60 to 80 % of the adolescents and pre-adolescents get involved in offenses like status offense, property crimes or even violent crimes. The percentage of juvenile delinquents is increasing at an alarming rate and is no less than a global concern today.
The recent Connecticut school incident in the United States of America has shaken people all over the world. 20 students (12 girls and 8 boys of 6 or 7 years of age) and 6 adults died when a gunman of 20 years of age, Adam Lanza, started firing at Sandy Hook Elementary School at Connecticut, about 60 miles from New York. He later killed himself after murdering his mother. Lanza was found dead next to a semi-automatic 223-caliber Bushmaster rifle, three guns and two pistols, all of which is said to have belonged to his mother.
Lanza walked into his mother’s classroom at around 9:30 am and fired openly. Cops said that a “mind-numbing” number of cartridges were found on the floor of the school.
Carver, the medical officer, who performed the autopsies on seven of the victims, said the wounds were possibly caused by a “long weapon”, which on being asked by journalists, he confirmed to have been made by a rifle.
Juvenile crime has also seen a spurt in India during the last decade. The chief factors responsible for increasing juvenile delinquency in India are peer pressure, rich lifestyle, curiosity and parents’ indifference. The rich-poor divide in India is considered to be instrumental in promoting youth crime. While children from poor families take up criminal ways to support themselves and their families, children from rich families do it for fun or some extra pocket money! The revenge factor behind juvenile offenses is also not to be ignored.
The last decade has seen a huge leap in the rate of juvenile offenders in India. According to a recent report by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), criminal cases involving teenagers has gone up from 0.8% in 2001 to 11.8% in 2011. Crimes committed by people below the age of 18 have increased by 85% between 2001 and 2011.
It has further said that children arrested under Indian Penal Code and Special and Local Laws has increased from 30,303 in 2010 to 22,887 in 2011. In 2011, the overall involvement of children in crimes had leaped by 10.5% under IPC and 10.9% under SLL. Burglary, theft, wounding and riots form the majority of these crimes. Kidnapping and adduction cases involving juvenile offenders have increased from 354 in 2008 to 823 in 2011. Another important factor that NCRB has noticed is the increasing number of girl children being involved in crimes. The percentage has increased from 5.1% in 2010 to 5.8% in 2011.
Given that India is known to value friends and family, instances of children committing crimes against their own families come as a rude shock. These include children belonging to rich families with all comforts available as well as children working in factories. In September 2011, a school boy plotted the murder of his grandmother along with a friend. He was smart enough not to leave any finger prints on the murder-site and mislead the police into believing it to be a case of robbery.
On March 8, 2012, a teenager, Tejas Makwana, was arrested for stealing gold worth Rs. 11.5 lakhs from his grandmother’s home in January for taking his girlfriend out on a trip.
On April 12, 2012, a speeding teen biker ran over an on-duty policeman fracturing his arm.
On April 26, 2012, Faheem Qureshi was arrested for killing his mother by hitting her head with a metal vessel. The crime was committed because she refused to give money to a drunken Faheem for buying more bottles of alcohol.
Another case happened on April 23, 2012 when a teenage boy killed his maternal aunt for disclosing the fact to his mother that he had borrowed 50 bucks. Consequently, his mother thrashed him and in a fit of revenge, he killed his aunt with a pair of scissors.
A very recent case in October 2012 involved a 16 year old Delhi boy who killed a 4 year old boy. He stabbed the victim over 30 times with a pair of scissors.
Ever-increasing population, poor economic conditions, poor literacy rate and unhealthy family conditions like violence and alcoholism etc. influence the upbringing of a child and determine whether a child will finally turn into a criminal. The present social disorganization is one of the major reasons for pushing children into the world of crime. Families are isolated in the present times, with both parents working and the child left alone at home. This results in the development of grudges against parents in children and a growing intimacy with friends. This makes them vulnerable to getting into bad company which motivates them to commit crimes.
The sharp distinction between rich and old children also attracts children to criminal activities because it offers quick money with which they can satisfy their wants.
Some children commit crime for the sake of it. They like to experience the thrill involved in the act. It also lends them a macho image among friends. Adolescent boys often commit crime just to prove their masculinity before friends.
Substance abuse is another significant reason for increasing juvenile delinquency in India. Illegal drugs are costly for which they need money. Crimes like thefts and burglary gives them quick money with which they buy drugs and alcohol.
Certain mental disorders that involve difficulties in the regulation of emotions and impulsive behavior make children prone to criminal behavior. Even depression can lead a person to adopt criminal ways. It acts as a vent to one’s suppressed anger and aggression. Treating such disorders can help them keep away from criminal activities. But the question is who will take the responsibility of such children?
Such children going to school makes the other children in the school vulnerable to their criminal impulses and whims. Such a child can fatally hurt a fellow student in a fit of anger or hold an entire school hostage for getting attention and to prove his worth. Much worse, they can motivate other children into pursuing their criminal ways.
Juvenile delinquency can be stopped at an early stage, provided care is taken both at home and at school. Parents and teachers play a significant role in nurturing the mind of a child. Instead of labeling them as ‘delinquents’, steps must be taken to rectify them by rectifying the errors in their lives, involving both social and psychological. Nobody is a born criminal, it is circumstances that make him or her so. Hence, the solution lies in mending the circumstances. This incident spells nothing but endless violence. What could have driven a 20 year boy to unleash such terror? This brings us to the question of the frame of mind those delinquents’ posses. (Writer can be reached at – www.lifeskillsathiqul.com017 )

How socially responsible are our youth?

May 7, 2015, 2:33 am

“Today’s youth are the leaders of tomorrow” – is an oft-repeated sentiment that flashes across our minds whenever a discussion hovers around ‘Generation Y’. Does this generation of the Millennial really have what it takes to shoulder such meaningful responsibility?
Before I begin yet another thread of this seemingly never-ending debate, I wish to clarify that it is not my intention to pass an absolute judgment, be it in favor of, or against, an issue under scrutiny. Let us look at such open-ended discussions with utmost objectivity, giving credit where due.
It is true that we often hear stories of youngsters spending their life in wasteful pursuits, such as indulging in narcotics, drugs, and even sexual abuse. The high incidence of deadly diseases like HIVAIDs testifies this. Going a step ahead, youth violence and caste-related crimes, such as honor killings, are on an unprecedented rise. A few years back, I was shocked to hear the news of an ‘educated criminal’, an alumnus of the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology, (IIT), who had taken to the business of drug trafficking, to earn quick and easy money. This is a sign of declining mental and emotional health.
It is, undoubtedly, heart-rending to hear such stories about the youth. However, would it be fair to pass the all-sweeping verdict that the morals of today’s youth have decayed to the extent of being in some deep irretrievable abyss? Observing youth trends around me, I am rather optimistic. I strongly feel that today’s Gen-Y is not just more informed, but also more socially responsive, as compared to those of Gen-X.
My optimism stems from the hoards of young people I see around me, who are socially aware and committed towards making a difference in the community they live in. An encouragingly large part of the current generation takes pride in making efforts towards embalming our planet’s future. They have risen above boundaries of nationality, and are striving for environmental protection. There are young professionals who spearhead initiatives, such as ‘No plastics’, ‘Say NO to polybags’ drives, within their home and office space. These are the young people for whom the mantra is not just about being ‘cool’, but about becoming ‘eco-cool’. Not just the urban youth but also those from semi-rural or rural areas are equally well-informed and sensitive to the needs of our world. We have a growing breed of environmentally-conscious agriculturists, who play an assertive role in saving the planet for future generations. After all, is this not responsible behavior?
The scenario is equally encouraging even from the societal perspective. A few weeks ago, I was pleasantly to read about “The Bharat Uday Mission”, an innovative social service initiative that finds its roots in IIT Delhi. The idea behind this initiative is to form a political party, led by some of our youngsters, that promises us not only an economically developed India, but also a spiritually enlightened nation. It speaks volumes about the community spirit of today’s youth. To what extent this noble mission actually sees the light of the day is a different aspect, but the very fact that the thought of making such a difference has germinated in young minds of India is, in itself, a commendable sentiment. Equally commendable is another fact that these young IITians are the very cream of the country’s student population – the most employable amongst the country’s youth. Therefore, it cannot be assumed that they may have taken to the route of community service for want of job prospects.
Another streak of responsible behavior I have seen in that more and more young people are coming ahead to vote, voicing their concerns about the government that deserves to run our Democracy. In this context, I am reminded of one of my neighbor’s son in Gawahati, a professional in a renowned consultancy firm. Despite demands of a challenging full-time career, he was actively involved in a Mumbai-based Church Youth group that champions for social causes across the city. Post-November 2008, when Mumbai was shaken by one of the worst terrorist attacks in the history of India, his Youth Group (consisting of other youngsters, all of whom are equally busy with their professional obligations) got together, and committed themselves to engendering positive change amongst the youth voters as regards the efficacy of our democratically-elected political leaders. This small group of youngsters managed a huge turnaround, at least within their constituency of Bandra, Mumbai, Defence colony, New Delhi, Gawahati, Assam, where the voter turnaround increased by almost 5%. By investing their time and efforts in shaking the youth out of their complacency and indifference towards election times, these youngsters have displayed nothing but responsible behavior. All the above clearly shows that the immense reserves of energy that our youth has, is being channelized in the right direction.
If there are influences, such as the negative impact of globalization and incessant westernization, plaguing young minds, there are numerous positive influences as well, which offset the former. The community-related responsiveness we see in young minds today may be largely attributed to the guidance of informed parents as well as to our rapidly-evolving education system. Professional institutes like B-schools, encourage community service amidst their educational culture, making the concept of “Corporate Social Responsibility” (CSR) an integral part of their curricula. This was unheard of earlier, when education primarily meant imparting/absorbing bookish knowledge. While, earlier, businesses were basically concerned with the “profit motive” only, bottom-line profits are not the only yardstick to measure business success. Today, the CSR sentiment has become a necessity for their sustainability.
Although western influences are seeping into Indian soil, young Indian minds are absorbing not just western fashion trends but also the spirit of self-dependence. A sure sign of this self-dependence can be seen in college-going youngsters. They are becoming less dependent on their parents, in so far as funding their own education is concerned, even if this means taking education loans or working part-time. To this end, they are more open to exploring new and hitherto untried opportunities. Hence, there are more and more youth who are treading the path of Entrepreneurship, which, in turn, creates employment opportunities and generates wealth.
Talking of parental influence, they too make it a point to introduce their children to the concept of volunteering at an early age. The spirit of ‘giving’, and that of being able to make a difference in others’ lives, is inculcated by allowing the children to interact with the less privileged humans. Recently, I was impressed with my neighbor’s parenting skills in Shillong, when I learnt that, just a day before her daughter’s 10th birthday; she had taken the little girl to donate her old clothes, toys and other knick-knacks at a nearby missionary orphanage. A significant dividend that comes from such volunteering is that youngsters get a sense of self-esteem; that which comes from being a positive force in the society that has given them so much. In this world fraught with wars and communal strife, such a mindset is the need of the hour.
With the above debate, I feel that it would be a rational judgment not to deride the youth as ‘monsters’ because of sporadic episodes. If, in the infamous ‘Manu Sharma-Jessica Lall case’, it was a youth who is chastised for having wronged a woman, again it is the youth that had, so ardently, stood against the crime. Such facts encourage me to believe that today’s youth have the skills to navigate their lives out of rough waters.


Coping Concept & Strategies to deal with Different Ways of Emotions

May 7, 2015, 2:20 am

It is important that a person learns how to deal with daily emotions. She has to cope with different kinds of situations and stay positive. In order to understand how to handle different situations in a positive way, we have to understand the meaning of emotion.
Emotion – Meaning
Emotion is a complicated psychological condition that includes three separate elements. They are physiological response, subjective experience and expressive response.
Emotions are divided into two categories – basic and complex.
# Basic emotions
There are seven basic emotions. They are fear, anger, contempt, sadness, disgust, happiness and surprise. It is said that basic emotions are manifested by facial expressions.
# Complex emotions
Emotions that do not occur automatically and are self-conscious in nature are called complex emotions. Complex emotions include pride, shame and guilt. Self-evaluation and self-reflection lead to complex emotions.
Changes and reaction
Emotion is attributed by changes in both internal and external changes. Internal changes include quick breathing & pulse, dry mouth, increase in blood pressure, etc. External changes, on the other hand are exhibited by expressions on the face. For instance, when a person is happy, the area around her eyes is wrinkled, the muscle around her eyes tightens, the corners of her lips are lifted diagonally and her cheeks are also raised.
Emotions vary with former experience and age. People do not follow a constant pattern all the time. Reactions often depend on emotional and physical condition of that person.
Happiness – Positive Emotion
Happiness is an emotional condition of well-being, which is expressed by positive emotions ranging from fulfillment to extreme joy. Various kinds of psychological, biological, philosophical and religious approaches have tried to describe happiness as well as realize its source.
A positive minded person is one who can keep her emotions controlled and not get carried away by her emotions.
Bringing emotional well being
A person can lead an emotionally healthy life by behaving in a positive way.
Mentioned below are some situations that bring about irritation or anger. The examples are followed by techniques that help in dealing positively.
# Problems in relationship
• You have been treated badly in relationship and you become angry. You express yourself through irritation, violence and start ignoring the person who has hurt you.
• The reason for this kind of behavior is a past experience where you remember a negative attitude you had experienced and had kept silent. For example, you recollect an incident when your parent had beaten you for no reason.
Coping strategies
Your present reaction is inappropriate and you should understand that you should forget the past and live the present with a different mindset. You should realize that this is a different phase of life and the past should not interfere in it to make things tough for you and those surrounding you.
# Problem with a friend
You have some problems` with a friend and you are angry. You shout at her because you are afraid that you might face trouble. You are angry because of the attitude of your friend.
Coping strategies
This is not an appropriate behavior and you should be assertive in your request when you say that you cannot comply with her.
# Problem managing time
• You have a lot of responsibilities and you do not know which work to do at what time. You are in a mess and express yourself through pessimism plus anger.
• This you do by shutting doors with a loud bang and closing drawers so hard that they break.
• You are annoyed as you missed an important task because you had to give priority to another task at hand.
Coping strategies
This is not the right way to act and you should try to behave in a more sober way. You should be meticulous and plan things before hand, by keeping in account the distractions.
# Problem in education and career
• You are having issues in education and career. You get worried and express yourself by binge eating.
• This kind of behavior is caused by the anxiety and apprehensions about future.
Coping strategies
Worrying is not the solution to this problem and neither is overeating. Instead, you should take the problem as a challenge and try to get hold of the right guidance to achieve in success in education or career.
# Problem with eating habits
• If you are going through issues related to food habits and hygiene, you will get irritated. As a result, you might be violent and impolite with you family members.
• This kind of attitude manifests when your food habits are not proper and you do not maintain hygiene.
Coping strategies
This behavior is not desirable and you have to be positive when dealing with such issues. You should follow a proper diet and if required, you can visit a dietician. Healthy food habits are necessary for maintaining emotional well-being. Maintaining hygiene is important to stay well and not fall sick.
Anger – Negative Emotion
It is normal to be angry, in fact at times it is considered a healthy way to express yourself. However, anger that gets out of hand becomes destructive. Anger is expressed through a vast range that starts with slight irritation and ends with excessive rage. Anger enhances heart rate and blood pressure level. You can be angry about a person, a certain practice, an object, laws, political decisions and past events that cause pain when reminisced.
Anger is required to sustain in the world. But, you have to keep it under control, so that you don’t start attacking anyone who hurts your sentiments. Anger can be dealt with three specific techniques. They are as follows.
• Suppressing
You can think about positive things and change anger into productive behavior. However, if anger is not converted into productive thinking, but kept inside; it can lead to hypertension or even depression. This results in emotional and physical harm besides making you hostile towards others.
• Expressing
Expression is considered the healthiest form of dealing with anger. It involves a non-aggressive attitude and assertive nature.
• Calming
You can try to calm yourself down by bringing down the heart rate and allowing anger to ebb away.
Manage Anger – Tips
• You should ask yourself if the reason to get angry will be valid in the next ten years. You will realize that you don’t need to be hostile.
• You should accept the fact that whatever happened, made you upset. Also identify the fact that getting angry is not the final solution.
• You should recollect if you have ever done something similar with another person and how she reacted.
• Now, you have to think how you are reacting and if your reaction is really required. May be the person did not do anything intentionally and did not want to harm you.
• You can take a walk to bring down your anger and think something more constructive. You can also count till ten before reacting. This may not reduce your anger, but it can reduce the intensity of what you are going to say or do.
Developing skills in life that helps you deal with emotional outbursts is important. These skills help to take the right track in life. Certain things that you come across may not be under your control; however, the way you react is under your control. It is thus, significant that you identify your emotions and realize techniques to control them through Life Skills.


Coping Concept & strategies to deal with Stress

May 7, 2015, 2:18 am

Stress and ways to handle it
Have you ever been so stressed that you felt unwell, could not concentrate on anything and suffered mental depression? These things occur when stress takes a toll on you.
To understand how to deal with stress, we have to understand the meaning of stress, different types of stress and techniques for stress management.
Stress – Meaning
Stress is the way, in which your body responds to demand. It is caused by both positive and negative experiences. When you are stressed by the activities in your surroundings, chemicals are released into blood. As a result, your strength and energy increases, which is good if you are in any kind of danger. However, if you are stressed due to an emotional upheaval and there is no way to let out the extra energy triggered by the chemicals, it is adverse for your body and mind.
Stress – Types
There are three kinds of stress. They are acute stress, episodic stress and chronic stress.
Stress – Symptoms
The following are some symptoms of stress.
• Stammering
• Frequent headaches, chest pain and backache
• Muscle spasms
• Sweating and blushing
• Dry mouth
• Rashes
• Constipation
• Frequent urination
• Excessive anger
• Reduced appetite
• Sleep disorders
• Forgetfulness and confusion
• Feeling lonely and hopeless
• Feeling no interest to look good
• Less efficiency
• Quick speech
• Isolation
• Substance abuse
• Shopping without any necessity
Stress – Sources
There are four main sources of stress. They are social, environmental, cognitive-emotional and physiological.
# Social
These are psychological stressors that become active when there is demand of skills and time. Speaking in public, interviews, conflict with colleagues, work presentations, financial issues, etc are social sources.
# Environmental
Physical stressors that affect five senses of the body like, noise, pollution, weather, traffic, etc are environmental sources.
# Cognitive-emotional
Cognitive-emotional stress is caused by thoughts. Your brain conducts an assessment of stress and mobilizes the defense mechanism of the body. The functioning of the stress assessment mechanism decides whether you remain relaxed or stressed.
# Physiological
These are physical stressors created at different phases of life, such as adolescence, menopause, lack of nutrition, lack of sleep, aging, etc. Headache, depression, stomach problems and muscle tension are also part of physiological stressors.
Stress Management – Tips
Negative stress is managed by different techniques. You should follow the way that suits you the best.
# Speak out
If you are stressed, you should express it. Keeping feelings suppressed increases stress. You should share your feelings, so that someone close to you can help you find out a solution out of the problem. It may sound embarrassing, but it is better to seek help as soon as the problem takes place in order to avoid more serious problems later on. You can also write down the issues you are facing. This helps in looking at the problem in a new way and you can clarify it yourself without getting stressed.
# Take deep breath
Stress leads to rapid breathing which results in increased anxiety. You should breath slowly through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Make sure that the inhaling is deep, so that the lower abdomen lifts and falls as you breathe.
# Give importance to comfort
Try to make yourself as comfortable as possible. If you are sitting in a place that is making you uncomfortable, you should shift to a more appropriate and cozy place.
# Allow yourself a break
When you realize that you are stressed, take a break. You can take a walk. It is always not possible to leave the stressful environment physically. At such times, you can take resort to imagination. Close your eyes and imagine yourself in a place that makes you happy. Explore the smell, taste and sound that you prefer.
# Look after yourself
You should have a healthy diet. This helps to lead a happy life. A healthy life means a happy mind and an active body. It is better to avoid excessive sugar and caffeine intake. A healthy body leads to a happy mind.
# Practice physical exercise
Physical activity checks the impact of stress. Therefore, whenever you are stressed, engage in some physical activity. If you like doing a physical activity, make time for it every day. Spending time with little children and gardening are also considered good stress busters.
# Plan and manage time
You should make a schedule which you can follow and which helps you prioritize activities. When you plan the schedule, you should also keep in account the distractions you might face. The schedule should have a section where you devote time for stress reduction. If you try to achieve everything at a go, you may end up losing everything. You should do one thing at a time and check out the task already completed. Try to complete the most important work first. If there is a stressful work, finish it off at the beginning, so that you have less stress for the rest of the day.
# Stay happy
Laughter is good for health. Research says that while frowning involves forty three muscles, smiling involves only seventeen. Inculcate sense of humor and do not get angry when someone jokes about you. You should, in fact nurture the habit of making fun at yourself. You should share funny incidents with friends and colleagues.
# Do not confront when people do not comply
It is not necessary that people will always listen to you and abide by your instructions. Your colleagues or friends may have other opinions. Getting angry and stressed at such times is not useful. You should learn to compromise and cooperate. This leads to lower stress level.
# Stay within your limits
If you are stressed about something, try to realize if you can solve the situation. If you cannot, there is no need to think about it. If you can solve it, do what you can and leave it. There is no need to get stressed about what else you should have done. If you alter the situation, do not feel bad. In life, there are many things that you cannot control. Therefore, there is no use worrying about it, unless you can really do anything worthwhile.
# Search for positive things in your surrounding
It is easy to notice negative things around you. Try to notice six positive things. It might be difficult at first or might appear very small. However, looking out for good things constantly adds up to the good things in your life. Positive things lead to positive ideas. Your perspective changes and you feel energized.
# Cry if you have to
Crying is a natural reaction. If there is anything that hurts you, cry. It releases stress and checks nervous disorder. It can also prevent headache or other physical disorders related to stress.
Stress is experienced by everyone at one point of time or another. While some stress types are useful, most of them are harmful. You have to keep in mind that all circumstances are not under your control. Smoking and drinking alcohol is not a solution to come out of stressful situations. Coping with stress becomes significant when it starts taking a toll on mental or physical health. You should make use of Life Skills that make you strong enough to handle stress.