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Guidance is like a small torch in a dark forest, it doesn’t show everything at once, but gives enough light for the next step to be safe – Swami Vivekananda

By: Dr Adil Rasool Malik

Guidance has been defined and understood differently by different people – each individuals’ perception, desire and experiences define what guidance means to them. Guidance in the literal context simply means ‘to guide’. However, the National Vocational Guidance Association (USA) states it to be ‘the process of helping a person to develop and accept an integrated and adequate picture of self and of the role in the world of work, to test this concept against reality and to convert it into reality with satisfaction to self and benefit to the society.’

Guidance is the process of a dynamic interpersonal relationship that is prepared to influence a person’s attitude and follow-up behaviour and guidance as well as counselling are the integral components in the field of the education system.

Counselling on the other hand, refers to a complex helping process in which the counsellor sets up a trusting and confidential working relationship, where the focal point is on problem-solving, effective decision-making and discovering personal meaning related to learning and development.Through counselling, children are given advice on how to manage and deal with emotional conflict and personal problems. Counselling service often incorporate valuable lessons into the child’s mind and assists them to find a better solution to their daily problems.

Receiving guidance in the form of counselling in our tender years is a beautiful gift as it capacitates one with the ability to guide themselves and mould themselves into who they want to be, determine the kind of life they want to live and correctly interpret the lessons that they learn during the course from their environment and experiences. During student life, every child arrives at various forks of life, although it may seem insignificant but each decision moulds the child and eventually has the power to alter their thinking, motivation and achievements in life.

A child experiences one or the other new thing every day – be it in his institutional setup, his personal life and relationships or just them exploring themselves – getting the right guidance at the right time thus plays an important role in shaping them into healthy individuals. Thus, it’s safe to say that guidance and counselling are imperative needs for children, and educational institutions have a massive role in bringing out the best in the youth.

Effective guidance and counselling can help students in various ways by motivating them to harbour healthy attitude towards the different spheres of their life. We live in a country, where every child be it at his school, college or university level is constantly pressured to outdo his peers. The Indian Education System has always been under the hammer for being competitive and focusing more on quantitative learning. With this type of system, students tend to become less creative, innovative and leave no room for self-learning which is the need of the hour. Owing to huge competition and expensive education system, parents often pressurize their children to perform well by packing them into a room with books and disconnecting them with any form of distractions like the TV, internet connection and reducing the time for sports and other outdoor activities. But this does not work. Rather, this makes the child depressed which burdens them with fulfilling expectations of their parents. Counselling helps in assisting the child in a proper direction so that he/she is well aware of what he/she wants to do in life. It is important to make your children understand the importance of education and guide them to pursue it willingly.

As a guardian and well-wisher, it is thus your duty to help your child, but most importantly listen to them – their dreams, their wants and wishes. Even in today’s era, parents and children still believe in bringing good grades to get into the best engineering or medical colleges that will give them a successful career. But, it is also important to acknowledge the interests of children. The teacher plays a vital role in aiding the parent understand the child better by discussing their strengths, weaknesses and areas of interest.

Choosing the right stream or field for the children is totally dependent on self-assessment.Self-assessment includes observing the abilities, interest area, analytical skills, work style and personality of the child. With broad career options, teachers need to equip the child with all recent trends, current developments in different streams, demands and financial prospectus giving priority to the child’s interests. Counselling sessions at an early age therefore open the lines of communication making children familiar with the importance of choosing the right career and having the will to come forth and work for it.

There are various other benefits that a student getting apt guidance and counselling may derive from the experience. A major advantage is helping children identify and deal with any psychological problem. Growing up every child encounters various emotions at various points in life but may not know how to process them accurately. This can sometimes lead to disruption in the other spheres of their life – academics, relationships with friends and parents etc. It’s important to understand that until the undealt emotions are addressed, any stimulus may only get a temporary resultant effect and may on the other hand, end up hampering the child’s cognitive and social growth.

Thus having access to counselling helps students undergoing certain difficulties in their lives – to ask questions and clarify them. It enhances their communication as they can ask questions without any fear since the person in charge is willing to help. Various other aspects like team work, discipline, leadership, harmony can be instilled in the child’s mind once effective and efficient communication has been established. The child also based on the bond of trust, feels comfortable talking about various experiences that might have made them uncomfortable. During the process, they are presented with opportunities to openly share problems that they cannot share with their parents. Talks related to alcohol, drugs, personal feelings or any kind of abuse, can also be openly discussed.Guidance and counselling thus helps make students better human beings since they are guided regarding the righteous behaviour in various situations.

It’s thus safe to say, that no matter what adverse opportunities and conditions a child faces, they are more likely to succeed when they are surrounded by caring adults – their parents, guardians or teachers who are there to listen to them, believe in them and guide them towards leading their best life. It helps the students to know their skills, interests, personality that will help students in further career selection. The advent of technology and innovation has given comfort but at the same time, it has remitted multiple stressors in life. Thus, guidance and counselling services have become a very important need to build a clear vision of what to pursue.

The writer is a Dentist and works on various social issues. Author can be reached at [email protected]

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