Manage your emotions, psychologist encourages high-school students
As the adolescent years are usually accompanied by 'raging' hormones, students entering high school in a few days are being cautioned to manage their emotions and to avoid becoming fascinated with the physical appearance of the opposite sex.
While noting that social relationships are acceptable because Jamaica is a practising Christian society, child psychologist Dr Orlean Brown-Earle argued that at their current stage of development, intellect should trump physical attraction.
"Absolutely nothing is wrong with having a boyfriend or girlfriend, but what you do with and about it is the question," said Browne-Earle, who serves as an associate professor and school psychologist at the Northern Caribbean University.
"What is important in all of this is self-control. If that is present, there's no reason they can't get together for study groups and have positive dialogues."
She also urged students to develop keen senses, which will suit them in deciphering ulterior motives.
To this end, the psychologist insisted that students not become so captivated by someone of the similar sex that it overrides their emotions.
"There are times when there might be mentors who are not overtly homosexual in their behaviours. These mentors might guide other students into practicing non-normative behaviours in both traditional and non-traditional high schools," declared Brown-Earle.
For this, the psychologist underscored that both parents and school administrators would have to forge an active partnership.
"It's up to the schools to make it clear to their peer-mentoring programme that it's not a behaviour to be tolerated or to be introduced to incoming students. Also, parents should teach their children that good touch and bad touch can also come from peers, not just adults," she said.
In relaying further advice to the more than 38,000 students due for secondary matriculation, Brown-Earle cautioned teens to not overuse social media but rather to lay a platform that will see them maximise their academic potential.
She further argued that over-participation in school club activities can also be a detriment.
"Unless the child has some extraordinary potential, my recommendation is a maximum of two clubs. The average child doesn't need more than that," said Brown-Earle.