Homesick? Write letters

A student might have to leave the comforts of home for higher studies. A student getting teary-eyed at the sight of his/her parents is common at hostels. Staying away from home for long periods leads to homesickness.

According to a survey, 80 to 90 per cent of students in college hostels are homesick. Homesick children are usually seen as being tearful, withdrawn, quarrelsome or disobeying.

According to psychologists, there are four types of consequences that follow:

•Doing nothing because of a belief that nothing will help make things better… leading to lack of concentration resulting in a drastic fall in grades;

•Wishing that the camp or school will end the next day;

•Doing something that will ensure that they be sent home;

•Trying to get back home on their own.

Children from nuclear/close families or socially anxious students do not adjust easily to a new environment.

Elders should encourage the child to develop positive thinking, imagine a bright future and practise alternative behaviour. Writing letters regularly has a better impact than making frequent phone calls. According to psychologists, a phone conversation is a temporary consolation leading to homesickness.

From the students’ side, they should also keep themselves occupied, play games/sports with friends, try and improve social contacts or seek support from some elders.

Developing a new hobby such as painting or music also helps. Separation anxiety disorder is characterised by manifestations of distress when the child has to be separated from loved ones or the comforts of home. This leads to things like refusing to go to school or to sleep alone.

Excess pampering

The child is afraid that some harm will befall him/her or the family members during the time of separation. This is normal behaviour among children below 10 years. If it continues further, it may be due to excess pampering either by parents or grandparents and requires counselling by a psychologist.


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