Bugbears: Aaron's advice about the future
We asked you to send in your concerns about the future. You told us your worries about growing up and getting old and about the responsibilities of being an adult.
CBBC’s agony uncle Aaron Balick has looked at what you sent in and written some helpful advice.
I’m worried about becoming a teenager
Aaron says: You’re probably worried because you don’t know what to expect or what it will feel like. Things we don’t know tend to worry us. Growing into a teenager is also very exciting. Try to learn as much as possible about puberty and what to expect. You’ll find it’s not really scary at all and maybe even something to look forward to!
I’m worried about the extra responsibilities of being a grown-up
Aaron says: Seeing what grown-ups have to do can seem pretty scary, mostly because you can’t understand what it is! Since you don’t become a grown-up all at once, you learn what to do as you go along, picking up one piece at a time. When you were a baby, you couldn’t even imagine walking and talking, and look at you now? Was that hard? Growing into an adult is kind of the same thing.
I’m worried about being stressed like adults I know
Aaron says: It can be stressful at times to be an adult (and for a child too). Stress itself is nothing to worry about, it’s a natural part of life that helps us deal with challenging things that come up. Lots of people don’t really know how to deal with stress well (by eating well, taking some ‘down time’, getting help when needed, and talking over problems). By doing those sorts of things, you can make stress manageable, and not a big worry.
I am worried about my parents getting old
Aaron says: Getting older is a slow process, and since we are all doing it together, it doesn’t really take us by surprise. You’ll be getting older alongside your parents and, as the years go by, you’ll get used to how they change. By the time they are really old you will be an adult yourself and you’ll see it differently. For now, it’s okay to take it easy and trust that your older self will know how to deal with it.
I’m worried about getting old and wrinkly
Aaron says: Aging is a totally natural process and is nothing to be afraid of. It happens quite slowly, so you get used to it as you go along. As you get older you will experience all the wonderful and different parts of your life and see the world differently - the wrinkles come with that. But the wrinkles are just a small part of getting old, and by the time you get there, it probably won’t concern you so much.
I’m concerned about growing up because I’m enjoying my life right now
Aaron says: What good news! If you’re enjoying life now, it’s a pretty good sign you’ll enjoy it later too. While getting older comes with more responsibilities, it also comes with more choice and freedom: so the ways to express and enjoy yourself grow too! Getting old won’t get in the way, you’ll just have different ways to do it.
I’m worried because I don't know how to cook
Aaron says: Unfortunately, we don’t come with an instruction manual built into our brains, so we’ve got to learn stuff as it comes along. Cooking is one of those things that we pick up later, and it’s a really fun thing to learn. You can start as soon as you’re old enough to handle things safely, so think about what you might want to cook and, if you can, start learning straight away!
I don't know where I'm going to live when I am older
Aaron says: People make their choices about where they live for all sorts of reasons: they want to be close to their families; they like the natural environment (beaches, mountains, etc.); they move for work, university, or to be with a partner. Not knowing where you’re going to live now makes sense, because those things haven’t happened yet. As those things start to happen it’ll get clearer to you about where you’ll want to be.
What if I have money problems when I’m an adult?
Aaron says: We hear so much about money problems at the moment that it can feel pretty scary. The best way to deal with money is to know as much about it as you can, particularly about earning it, saving it and spending it. By understanding it much as possible, you’ll learn to be sensible with money. You can start being aware of how you use money now just by keeping track of what money comes in, and what goes out. By the time you’re a grown-up, you’ll have a pretty good idea how this works and if you don’t, there’s lots of help for free.
How can I stop worrying?
Aaron says: A certain amount of tension and stress is healthy but when we worry a lot, it’s usually not about the thing we think is stressful, but about all the ideas we have about that thing. Like thinking things will be a disaster if they don’t work out, or making up horrible stories about what might happen if... When you start to worry about pressures, try and think about what the situation actually is not what it might be, and you’ll worry less. It also helps to talk about your worries with others.
I worry so much that I have lost my confidence
Aaron says: When you worry, I wonder what you tell yourself. If you’re losing your confidence I’m guessing you’re down on yourself, saying things in your head like “I can’t do it,” “I’m not good at…” or “people won’t like what I have to say”. If that’s how you talk to yourself, it’s no wonder your confidence is going down. Try to be more encouraging to yourself, do more things that bring you confidence, and talk over your fears with someone you trust. By doing those things, you can turn it around.
I'm worried that I won’t be able to get the job I want
Aaron says: It won’t help you to worry about things so far ahead. There’s a long way to go first. The best thing to do in the meantime is to prepare. Learn all about the job you want and talk to somebody who already does that job. When the time comes to apply for it, you’ll have done all your research and preparation and will be in a really good position to apply for it.
I’m worried about job losses on the news and in my family
Aaron says: It can be scary listening to the news, especially if it’s affecting your family. It can be much scarier if you don’t know really what’s happening at home because you fill in the blanks with some scary thoughts. If this is a worry for you, talk to your family about it and let them know your worries. That way, if there are problems, you’ll know what they are and what’s being done to solve them. Things are scarier when we don’t know the details. Even if the details aren’t great, you’ll know the score and what might be coming.
I'm worried about not getting a job because I have a slight disability
Aaron says: It is actually against the law for an employer not to give you a job just because of a disability. There are loads of people with all sorts of disabilities and illnesses doing the jobs they want and they do just as well as anyone else. If the illness doesn’t go away, that won’t stop you from working in a job that suits you.
I am worried that I won’t get the grades I need to get a good job
Aaron says: There’s a lot of pressure to do everything right to get the job you want. The best approach is to try to put the worries aside and just concentrate on getting the grades you think you need. Some jobs require the ability to put your head down and get on with work and you can see this as practice for that. If, in the end, the grades aren’t what you needed, don’t fret. Get some advice and see what your options are - there are always options.
My Parents put lots of pressure on me to do well at school
Aaron says: Most parents want the best for their kids. What some parents don’t understand is the difference between encouragement/support, and too much pressure. Too much pressure isn’t helpful and actually gets in your way. If the pressure is too much, let your parents know that there are other ways that they can help you to do well without them pressuring you. Then have a talk about how that might work.
I feel under pressure to do as well as my brothers and sisters
Aaron says: Gosh, there’s nothing worse than being compared to a brother or sister is there?! While parents should encourage all their children equally, they also need to realise that each child has different gifts and difficulties. You are not the same as your brothers and sisters and will be better at some stuff, and not so hot at others. Find your talents, let them shine, and next time a comparison is made, gently tell that parent that you’d prefer to be judged on your own strengths and weaknesses, not in comparison to your brother or sister.
I'm worried about going up to secondary school because I don't think I'm ready yet
Aaron says: Lots of people don’t feel ready for a change in their life when it appears, like changing schools. That’s because we don’t know what to expect until we get there, so we can’t really get ready until it starts. So it’s okay and totally natural to feel a bit scared. The thing is, you probably are ready. Just take it slowly, breathe deeply, and plunge right in. I guarantee you, everybody else will pretty much feel the same.
I am worried about coping with increased amounts of homework and more difficult exams
Aaron says: You’re in the same boat with a lot of people. Homework and exams are pretty stressful, so it’s a good time to learn to deal with stress. You do this by trying not to be alarmed by the amount of stuff all together, but by breaking it up into small bits and doing a little at a time. Make a schedule and keep it from the start so things don’t build up. Don’t let your fears run away from you. Take it one day at a time and get in front of the work before it gets in front of you.
Everyone thinks I’m strange and uncool and I struggle to make friends. How will I make new friends?
Aaron says: Guess what? I was kind of a strange kid myself - I still am! I learned that the best kinds of friends are those that like you for who you are, not for being who they want you to be. Anybody can be “just like everybody else,” but it takes someone special to be a unique individual – someone who can be cool in their own way, rather than the expected way. Be proud of who you are, cool in your own way. Don’t let it stop you from reaching out to make friends. You’ll be surprised how many people want to hang out with someone interesting and a little different. You’ve got something to offer!
I am worried that there could be another world war
Aaron says: The news is full of all sorts of scary stories about the world right now. While things in the world could definitely be better, it’s not looking anything like a world war. Even countries that don’t like each other very much don’t want war, because it’s no good for anybody. The world is a much different place than it was during the last world war; every country is connected and we all need each other in one way or another. There are lots of international organisations working to sort out conflicts, so trust them to do the worrying for you right now.
I get worried that the world will end
Aaron says: While there are some problems going on in the world right now, there are no signs at all that the world will end. The most dangerous thing to the world is climate change but it’s a slow process and all the nations in the world are trying to get a handle on that. Sometimes getting a sense of control over something can help you to worry about it less, so think of something you could do locally to help with climate change.