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Mrs. Jean has just recently noticed her 16-year-old daughter’s frequent emotional instability, her recent moodiness and the obvious flare up or irritation to happenings around her. This issue now seems to be to so worrisome considering that her always vibrant and proactive sweet daughter now acts like a mascot. On a closer look at Suzanne, Mrs. Jean finally discovered that her little teenager seemed to be facing a lot of stress both from school and her relentless efforts to gain relevance among her peers.

It is easy for all mothers to realize when they are stressed by their responsibilities either at home or at work. It is not too easy though for them to realise their dear teenage daughter is right in the midst of severe stress. Why would a teenage girl who at the moment has no bills to pay, feel stressed.

Most teens experience stress when they perceive a situation as dangerous, difficult, or painful and they do not have the resources to cope, neither do they see a hope of changing such situation. Some of these situations might include:  School demands and frustrations, negative thoughts or feelings about themselves, changes in their bodies, problems with friends and/or peers at school, unsafe living environment/neighbourhood, separation or divorce of parents, chronic illness or severe problems in the family, death of a loved one, moving or changing schools, taking on too many activities, having too high expectations, family financial problems and so on.

When some teens become overloaded with stress, it can lead to anxiety, withdrawal, aggression, physical illness, or poor coping skills such as drug and/or alcohol use. It is natural that when we perceive a situation as difficult or painful, changes occur in our minds and bodies to prepare us to respond to danger. This “fight, flight, or freeze” response includes faster heart and breathing rate, increased blood to muscles of arms and legs, cold or clammy hands and feet, upset stomach and/or a sense of dread.

The same mechanism that turns on the stress response can turn it off. As soon as we decide that a situation is no longer dangerous, changes can occur in our minds and bodies to help us relax and calm down. This “relaxation response” includes decreased heart and breathing rate and a sense of well-being. Teens that develop a “relaxation response” and other stress management skills feel less helpless and have more choices when responding to stress.

 Parenting a teenager who is constantly faced with stress can be less of hard work if parents adopt safe measures which are capable of combatting and reducing such stress.  Help that sensitive growing teenager navigate through life’s stress. To ensure the negative impact of stress do not overwhelm your teenager, here are ways Parents can help: –  

  1. Monitor if stress is affecting their teen’s health, behaviour, thoughts, or feelings
  2. Listen carefully to teens and watch for overloading
  3. Learn and model stress management skills
  4. Support involvement in sports and other pro-social activities

Teenagers also have their role to play, teens can decrease stress with the following behaviours and techniques:

  1. Exercise and eat regularly.
  2. Get enough sleep and have a good sleep routine.
  3. Avoid excess caffeine which can increase feelings of anxiety and agitation.
  4. Avoid illegal drugs, alcohol, and tobacco.
  5. Learn relaxation exercises (abdominal breathing and muscle relaxation techniques).
  6. Develop assertiveness training skills. For example, state feelings in polite, firm, and not overly aggressive or passive ways: (“I feel angry when you yell at me.” “Please stop yelling.”)
  7. Rehearse and practice situations which cause stress. One example is taking a speech class if talking in front of a class makes you anxious.
  8. Learn practical coping skills. For example, break a large task into smaller, more attainable tasks.
  9. Decrease negative self-talk: challenge negative thoughts – with alternative, neutral, or positive thoughts. “My life will never get better” can be transformed into “I may feel hopeless now, but my life will probably get better if I work at it and get some help.”
  10. Learn to feel good about doing a competent or “good enough” job rather than demanding perfection from yourself and others.
  11. Take a break from stressful situations. Activities like listening to music, talking to a friend, drawing, writing, or spending time with a pet can reduce stress.
  12.   Build a network of friends who help you cope in a positive way.

By using these and other techniques, teenagers can begin to manage stress.

Parents should also understand that, if a teen talks about or shows signs of being overly stressed a consultation with a child and adolescent psychiatrist or other qualified mental health professional may be helpful. 

Sources:

American Academy of Child & Adolescent psychiatry –  https://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/FFF-Guide/Helping-Teenagers-With-Stress-066.aspx

By Shan-Jan Sarah Liu

In the global struggle to get more women into high political office, one of the more hopeful fronts is Asia. In 2018, Taiwan celebrated two years of its first female president, Tsai Ing-Wen, and its national legislature includes 43 women (38% of seats). Other Asian countries, such as South Korea and Thailand, have also had women heads of government. Some Asian parliaments have more women MPs than many of their Western counterparts.

These are major advances, but is Asia really making headway on gender equality? It is widely assumed that when women start to become political leaders, gender equality benefits, but my own research on the political representation and participation of women in Asia calls that assumption into question. To achieve real equality, Asian countries will need to do a lot more than just get more women representatives and leaders elected.

It is true that women’s political presence has serious implications. Female MPs are generally imagined to act in the interests of women at large, and they also signal to the public that they are as capable of leadership as men. Their example can motivate other women to actively engage in politics, too. In many parts of the world, female MPs are crucial role models for other women and girls, inspiring them to envision themselves as equal to men and by extension to enter political life.

But in much of Asia, these positive effects are hard to see.

In my research, I looked at 13 countries sampled by the Asian Barometer (a public opinion survey in East and Southeast Asia). They were Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mongolia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. In these places, women’s legislative presence is not met with an increase in women’s political engagement; in fact, it seems to trigger a backlash.

In these countries, the rise of women politicians is actually discouraging women in general from engaging in politics. As the presence of women MPs increases, Asian women are less likely to discuss politics with family and friends, to turn out to vote, to campaign for candidates, or to protest. And even as women’s political representation increases, the gender gap in these various political activities persists.

Given the usual optimistic assumptions about the effect of having women enter politics, why should this be?

Setting examples

One explanation could be that when female politicians take the helm but gender equality does not improve, their presence may be seen as tokenistic.

In many of the Asian countries I have studied, the advancement of women in politics is strikingly disconnected from women’s economic and social lives more generally. Parts of Sub-Saharan Africa aside, East and Southeast Asia are marked by a greater discrepancy between women’s political rights and their social rights than any other part of the world. As long as this disparity persists, there is little reason for women to suddenly get inspired to engage in politics.

More than that, where women politicians decline to use their power to advocate for women’s rights, female voters will hardly be thrilled. Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-Wen, is known for a thin agenda when it comes to women’s issues, and her cabinet includes only four women – notably fewer than sat in previous male-led cabinets. Should she run for a second term in 2020, that record will not exactly inspire female voters.

And then there are the less edifying examples. In South Korea, former president Park Geun-hye ended up impeached and jailed for corruption. When other women campaign and are nominated for the presidency, or indeed other high offices, her bad example will loom large.

Clearly, having women in government is a good end in itself. But in an era when women’s political representation is on the rise, albeit slowly, it is crucial to ensure that gender equality in political institutions is not just a matter of numbers. The measure of its impact is not just the number of women occupying positions of power, but visible changes that benefit women outside political institutions.

The president of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, FIFA, Gianni Infantino has requested assurances from the Iranian Football Federation that women will be allowed to attend 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

According to the BBC Sport, Infantino who wrote to the Football federation also expresses his disappointment that Iran has gone back on its commitment to open up stadiums.

Last October, female fans were allowed into a match in Tehran for the first time following a 40-year ban.

In November, hundreds of women also attended an Asian Champions League final match which saw local team Persepolis lose to Japan’s Kashima Antlers.

But Infantino said in the letter it was “disappointing” to learn that fans were turned away from Iran’s friendly match with Syria on 6 June and that a number of fans were detained by authorities.

Writing to Iranian Football Federation president Medhi Taj, he said: “This is not in line with the commitments given to us in March 2018 by [Iran] President Rouhani when we were assured that important progress would be made on this matter soon.

“Whilst we are aware of the challenges and cultural sensitivities, we simply have to continue making progress here, not only because we owe it to women all over the world, but also because we have a responsibility to do so, under the most basic principles set out in the FIFA statutes.

“In the circumstances, I would be very grateful if you could inform FIFA, at your earliest convenience but no later than 15 July 2019, as to the concrete steps which both the FFIRI [Football Federation Islamic Republic of Iran] and the Iranian state authorities will now be taking in order to ensure that all Iranian and foreign women who wish to do so will be allowed to buy tickets and to attend the matches of the qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, which will start in September 2019.”

Infantino’s letter comes after FIFA admitted it was wrong to eject two fans from a Women’s World Cup match in France for wearing T-shirts calling for Iranian women to be let into stadiums.

FIFA said the message was “social, not political” so not against its rules and added it “will do its best to ensure similar situations do not occur at future matches”.

Source: BBC

The Liberia National Rural Women Structure (LNRWS), which has a membership of over 77,000 across the country, has agreed to support the National Traditional Council of Liberia in order to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

FGM, or female genital cutting, as practiced in Liberia, was customarily practiced by most ethnic groups prior to the outbreak of civil war in late 1989 and has continued since.

Some estimates are that in rural areas, approximately 50 percent of the female population between the ages of 8 and 18 had undergone this procedure before the civil war began. It was practiced within some but not all of Liberia’s ethnic groups.

At a recent press conference in Monrovia, Madam Kebbeh Mengor, president of LNRWS, said it is important that the international community has finally taken the right path to work with key players in order to end the practice of FGM across the country.

Madam Mengor said her organization has promised to work with the Traditional Council, to carry on awareness about the danger that FGM poses to the future of women and girls.

She said if people are really educated about the dangers of FGM, they will put an end to the harmful practice.

“Those that are involved in this harmful traditional practice are using it as a means of livelihood for their families. So if the international community must succeed in ending it, they must be willing to replace FGM with other life skills training programs, business development and educate the children about how to read and write so as to change their minds, like Mama Toma Village in Brewerville,” she said.

Madam Mengor said rural women have more knowledge on how to engage traditional zoes, along with the traditional council, because they are also members of the society.

In the observance of the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), members of the National Traditional Council of Liberia (NTCL) on Wednesday, February 6, committed themselves to end the practice of FGM.

FGM has been defined by the World Organization (WHO) as all procedures involving the partial or total removal of the female external genitalia or other injuries to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.

Source: Liberian Observers

Professional services firm Deloitte said it will provide education and skills training to 10 million girls and women in India with an aim to equip them to find a meaningful work.

The exercise will be carried out under its global initiative World-class, Deloitte said in a statement.

The initiative aims “to support 10 million girls and women by 2030 through education and skills development,” it said.

It said that globally, the World-class initiative seeks to prepare 50 million people to be better equipped for the future of work, in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Deloitte’s World-class programme in India will focus on improving girls’ retention rate in school, higher educational outcomes, and skills development for women to access employment, it added.

Under the initiative, partnerships will be launched with organisations such as Katha and Pratham. These organisations are working to improve the learning outcomes of millions of children and young people in schools and communities across India.

Our goal with WorldClass is to empower 50 million people globally by 2030, by providing them access to the education and skills required to find meaningful work in the new economy,” Punit Renjen, Global CEO, Deloitte said.

The world is on the brink of a seismic shift with the emergence of the Industry 4.0 wave, and to thrive in it, “we must work together so that no one is left behind, he said.

Across India, he said, almost 40 per cent of girls aged 15-18 years drop out of school and college, and only 26 per cent of women are employed.

As one of the emerging economies on the world stage today, India’s demographic dividend forms an integral component of its growth story. The task of harnessing its power has to be fueled by the private sector,” a Deloitte India spokesperson said.

Source: Economic Times India

2 hours to the scheduled time of the party, she had a long warm bath and took time with the ritual of her makeup and dressing. Her dad was meant to drop her off at her friend’s house and she did not want to keep him waiting for too long. As she walked out of her room to the sitting room, she could not help smiling at the image of herself she saw on the mirror. She was certain she will make a statement with her dress.

You’re wearing that?’’ Her dad blurts out as soon as she walks into the sitting room.

Yes dad, she replied, you like it?

Like what?’’ her dad retorted, almost repulsed at the thought of ever liking such an ‘’outrageous outfit’’. You can’t go out in that.

Why not? Sheba whines. This is what all the other girls are wearing; I want to make a statement too.

Well, I don’t like what it’s stating! ‘’ Dad shoots back.  ‘’Now go back to your room and change, young lady, or you’re not going anywhere!’’

Wardrobe wars like the just described scenario are common between teenage girls and their parents. Do not be surprised that your own parents even fought the same war with their parents, and probably felt the same way you are feeling now.

The issue of dressing and grooming causes one skirmish after another.

You call it comfortable, they call it sloppy.

You call it adorable, they call it provocative, you tell them it’s half price, they say it should be, as half of it is missing.

So how can you declare a cease fire when wardrobe wars arise?

You and your parents can reach a compromise.

Discuss your differences and brainstorm other options that your parents—and you—can be happy with. This can yield the following benefits;

  1. You’ll look your best, even to your peers.
  2. Your parents will be less critical of your dressing.
  3. Seeing your responsibility in this area can get them to give you more freedom.

Do you realize the first impression you make on people often depends on what you are wearing? An outrageous outfit might give you a momentary cool feeling, but it’s your inner beauty that will win the long-term respect of adults and your peers.

It will also be wise to get your parents input on your choice of dressing. You could think of stuffing a daring outfit into your backpack and changing into it at school or outside home, but that will be a recipe for more disaster if your parents ever get to find out. More so, they will lose all trust in you and you do not want that, do you? You will gain more trust and respect from your parents if you’re open and honest with them, even in things that you think you could get away with.

You might feel your parents are hell bent on stifling your fashion sense, but that is almost hardly the case. True, they might have different perspectives from you, but sometimes that’s what you really need. You do not want to walk out the house embarrassing yourself or being the one people are talking about negatively because of your sloppy appearance.

And besides, as long as you are under their roof, you remain under their authority.

So, the next time you want to buy a piece of clothing you feel your parents will frown at, ask yourself why you really need that particular cloth.

But what if my parents are just being old fashioned, you may ask?

Getting an adult friend or relative who has good taste in clothing and whom you know your parents trust and respect to talk to them might help.

Deep respect for your parents and a balanced view of what others think about you will help you choose modest cloths that will reduce the wardrobe wars.

 

Kimmy Tom

By Candace Brian

Everyone knows at least one woman with seemingly perfect skin. Every time you see her glowing face, you think, seriously, how does she do it? What kind of magical procedures is she getting? Which expensive cream is she using? Her secret might just be simple. Most women have flawless skin because they have nailed the best daily routines.

  1. She uses the correct cleanser for her skin type.

“For oily or acne prone skin, a salycylic gel or benzoyl peroxide wash works great,” says Dr. Ava Shamban, a dermatologist in Santa Monica. “For dry mature skin, use either a moisturizing glycolic or milky cleanser. For skin with brown spots or melasma, use a brightening wash, such as an alpha hydroxy acid cleanser.”

  1. She drinks the right liquids.

Though it’s tempting to grab a coffee the minute you wake up, Joanna Vargas, a skincare facialist in NYC, says choosing the right beverages can be a game changer. “Drink a shot of chlorophyll every morning to brighten, oxygenate, and hydrate your skin. Drinking chlorophyll also helps drain puffiness by stimulating the lymphatic system, so it’s also good for cellulite.”

If you’re not keen on downing a shot of the stuff, chlorophyll supplements can be found at many drugstores and health food stores. She also advised drinking green juices with lots of veggies in them: “It will transform your skin in a matter of days — and it helps oxygenate the skin and stimulates lymphatic drainage, so it’s de-puffing, too.”

  1. She maintains a healthy diet.

“Your skin has a natural barrier to retain moisture, and essential to that is omega-3 fatty acid,” Joanna Vargas advises. “Flax seeds on your salad or even walnuts will be an instant boost to your omega-3, thus increasing your skin’s ability to hold onto moisture.” And be sure to eat a diet low in foods with a high glycemic index (simple and complex carbohydrates).

  1. She moisturizes every day and night.

“The best times to moisturize are right after you get out of the shower and right before you go to bed,” explained Dr. Janet Prystowsky MD, an NYC-based dermatologist. Avoid lotions with heavy fragrances and be make sure you find a moisturizer gentle enough for everyday use with zero irritation.

  1. Her fingers never touch her face.

Dr. Julia Tzu, an NYC-based dermatologist, says this is very important. It doesn’t just spread bacteria and cause breakouts — it can lead to scarring, an increase in wrinkles, and even the flu.

  1. She doesn’t use too many products.

Using more than one or two all at once is a big no-no, says Dr. Tzu. It can be harsh on the skin, resulting in more breakouts and clogged pores.

  1. She wears sunscreen 365 days a year — rain or shine.

“Many people feel they only need to protect themselves on sunny days or when visiting the beach,” says Dr. Debbie Palmer, a New York dermatologist. “But the truth is that we need to protect our skin even when we’re driving a car, flying in an airplane, or running errands. It’s the daily UV exposure that contributes to the visible signs of aging.” What kind of sunscreen is best? Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a SPF of 30 or greater — and remember that it needs to be reapplied every 2 hours.

  1. She hydrates — in every way possible.

Every skin expert we spoke to emphasized the importance of hydration. “A lack of water means less radiance and more sag,” says Dr. Mona Gohara, a dermatologist in Connecticut. She suggests choosing products (cleansing, moisturizing, and anti-aging) that have hydrating formulas. And, of course, drink around eight glasses of water a day.

  1. She avoids direct heat exposure.

Don’t just watch out for the sun — getting too close to heaters and fireplaces can also wreak havoc on your skin. “It causes inflammation and collagen breakdown. I recommend staying at least ten feet away,” explains Dr. Palmer. So next time you’re roasting chestnuts over an open fire, take a step back.

  1. She exfoliates a couple times per week.

“We lose 50 million skin cells a day, and without a little extra nudge, they may hang around leaving the skin looking sullen,” says Dr. Gohara. To fight this, you should “choose a product that is pH neutral so it doesn’t dry as it exfoliates.” And don’t just stop with your face — the skin on your body needs exfoliation too.

  1. She doesn’t just eat her vitamins.

A balanced diet is important, but there’s more than one way to give your skin vitamins. There are also topical antioxidants, which are serums and creams that contain ingredients that nourish the skin. “These can really help to repair the skin from sun damage and they also have natural sunscreen properties,” says Dr. Palmer. Not sure how to use them? The best time to apply them is right after cleansing, or they can be layered under your sunscreen for added protection.

  1. She cleans her makeup brushes regularly.

To fight infection and clogged pores, Dr. Prystowsky recommends washing concealer and foundation brushes once a week. For brushes you use around your eyes, she recommends twice per month, and for any other brushes, once a month is fine.

Here’s how: Put a drop of a mild shampoo into the palm of your hand. Wet the bristles with lukewarm water. Then, massage the bristles into your palm to distribute the shampoo into the brush. Avoid getting the metal part of the brush wet/or the base of the brush hairs because the glue could soften and the bristles could fall out. Rinse the shampoo out and squeeze out the water with a towel. Lay the brushes on their side with the bristles hanging off the edge of the counter to dry.

  1. She knows that protection doesn’t stop at sunscreen.

We’re talking SPF makeup, sunglasses, and broad-brimmed hats. “Preventing sun damage is a million times better for your skin than treating it after the fact,” says Dr. Prystowsky.

  1. Her skincare routine is easy to follow.

“Fad products and fancy ingredients are fun to try, and sometimes they work well,” says Dr. Prystowsky, “but usually they’re off the shelves just as quickly as they are on them.” Find a cleanser and moisturizer that you know work for you, and keep them at the core of your routine.

  1. She sleeps well.

It’s not just about getting eight hours a night. Skin will also benefit from regularly using clean silk pillowcases. “The material glides easily and prevents creasing and wrinkles,”says Jesleen Ahluwalia, M.D., a dermatologist from Spring Street Dermatology in New York City.