Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Teens' Tribulations--All Facts,No Fiction

I simply cannot wind up this series without sharing with you the plight of a few more students who caved in under the pressure of hard work,tough competition,high expectations and loneliness.Those who lack the stamina or caliber to hit the target they want to achieve,sometimes come out a lot poorer in terms of mental health and morale when they fail at it.

Take the instance of fifteen year old Manoj who was referred to me by his teacher.He was a student of class tenth.A few months back,wanting to run for the IIT-Jee exam,he had begun to cram all his waking hours with study,study,and more study.The strain was too much,he became depressed,could not recall what he had read,and finally consulted a psychiatrist.The medicines given by the doctor made him very sleepy,so he left them.

Despite warning signs he continued to prepare for the big exam and the cracks began to widen.He would surf the net for hours and dabble in paranormal and other arcane subjects.He began to have delusions too.I was scared for his mental health and tried to dissuade him from attempting such a tough test but he replied that his 'coaching sir' had told him that he was intelligent and will be successful.

There was a long gap after this and then I was told that he had failed class eleventh exam and had given up his dream of joining IIT--but at what cost!Fortunately his father himself was a teacher and he did not lambaste him for having wasted such a lot of time and money for a capricious whim. 

Eighteen year old Anand had come to Kota to take a second shot at IIT-Jee because his uncle and cousins were IIT-tians.When he found himself lagging behind he attempted suicide.His friend Vikrant brought him over to me.

The boy was pained by the thought that if others had passed this test why couldn't he?His parents had spent a lot of money on him and he said that if he failed he would not be able to show his face to them.Moreover he was convinced that his father would refuse to support him in case of failure.

Even after a lot of counseling, he maintained that suicide was the only way out for him.He had given wrong contact details so I could not connect with him after that.

Vikrant also believed that his father would not support him if he failed,but he ruled out suicide.This thought that their parents would ditch them in the event of failure might have been a misconception on their part,but it was deeply ingrained in them.Parents often put up a stern facade to motivate their children but it is important at the same time to assure them of their love and support,no matter what.

There have been many instances of students who developed a mental disorder due to severe stress but I came across only one boy-merely fifteen years old,who was wise enough to know what he could,or could not do.On the very first day of his coaching session,when the instructor told them they would have to study for xyz number of hours and leave off movies TV etc,he told his father he did not wish to take those classes.His father was a businessman and the boy knew that he would eventually join his business;therefore he saw no point in going through such a grueling regime.

You will be surprised that his father and local guardians all wanted me to convince him otherwise,but I supported his decision and he went away a happy boy.I wish all wrong choices had a similar ending !



22 comments :

  1. Parents can indeed kill a child literally and figuratively. Alas, as long as money and fame are seen as the yardsticks of success, this will continue. Schools that worry about their image and rank are even more to blame for this sorry state of affairs.

    Career guidance, aptitude tests and EQ tests should be made compulsory in schools -- at least in the elite ones. But there too, there are 'ability sections' where the best students in academics are put and the best teachers assigned. And this starts in the middle school itself, so that those children grow up with unreal beliefs about their being superior to the rest and drive themselves to prove their teachers right for choosing them and make their parents proud of them. I wonder how many parents discourage their children from being so smug and competitive.

    Oh Indu, you have set off all the memories of children around me who were victims of schools and teachers as much as parents and peers who pushed their friends to depression and suicide. I am talking as one of the many unheard and unspoken of parents who fought to break the evil power of these forces over their children.

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    1. Very eminent suggestions here Zephyr--who better than you to do so?
      I did not know about these ability sections.
      Talking of education,see how scoring has leaped up to touch 100%--even in English?The teachers and the state boards play safe--give high marks and polish their reputations.Our education system is in shambles.

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  2. Right you are Indu ji ( like always )

    Parent pressure is the biggest hurdle in a childs growth ---because apart from other things the child has to face his own conscience of not fulfilling his parents wishes and dreams --because parents start emotional blackmailing from very early stage of life and sort of brain wash the child into believing that he has to repay the parents love ---and this is where emotional trauma begins. Secondly there are parents( the spare the rod and spoil the child kinds ) who instill a feeling of insecurity and fear that they will not support the child in case of failure .

    Both these conditions are the biggest deterents in the person's path to success,

    thanks once again
    love and warm regards
    the rains have set in here and the weather has cooled down a bit .:)

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    1. Yes parental pressure can be very taxing for a child.It is all about vicarious satisfaction on their part.
      Thanks for coming over.
      Love n hugs.

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  3. And what a sad commentary too on the idea we have about education. From being a process of acquiring knowledge it had come down to a process of acquiring money and status. Truly human beings can bring down the highest of things to the dirt.

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    1. Well said Suresh.Money and status is all that counts.

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  4. you may check below blog

    https://dilawarrajput.wordpress.com/2012/06/26/concern-with-jee-merit-etc-in-iits/

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    1. Been through this blog rohan-thanks.

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  5. I think the root cause is the education system and the way its linked to job security and assurance for pay...Some institutes and courses are considered gateways to a successful life and hence other vistas apt for ones capabilities are never explored...sad!

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  6. @jaish i think it is the prestige attached to these institutions,plus the hope of getting well paid jobs which does it.

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  7. Yes, parents tend to go overboard when they pressurise the children to perform well to get into elite institutions. What they forget is, even the best of the best often feel anxious and parents should watch out for such signs and let them know that its important but not life threatening. This also brings the need for parents to have a good communication channel with children, as children should know that it is completely fine to discuss their misgivings or anxieties about such pressures with the parents.

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    1. Absolutely,communication is of prime importance.

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  8. Looks like parents have become Shylock to extract their pound of flesh when it comes to their children's life.

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    1. AH,you have put it very neatly Renu.
      Lots of love.

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  9. It makes me really sad, Indu, when I read about such incidents. I want to go and shake the parents and make them see the mirror. The only lesson I take from this is to talk to my boys more and make sure that I don't become one of these parents.

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    1. Yes it is very sad,but no danger of you becoming such a parent.
      Love n hugs.

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  10. There is too much stress these days on kids, primarily because our own expectations have gone up for our wards. Why not be realistic and see what they can achieve realistically.

    I know of a person who just wanted his daughter to become a doctor and she never was able to, because she didn't have that kind of caliber.
    The result is frustration and depression in the poor kid. So terrible!

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    1. You are right Alok,the stress is too much.

      The children too,want to live a cushy life,they are not satisfied with small packages even if they lack the caliber.

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  11. These days I see a tendency in parents to make their child an IITian. Gone are those prestigious days of doctors and engineers; now we can find one in every family. So, the latest trend is IIT. Surprisingly, every parent thinks his child as a genius and, therefore, pushes the poor soul to fulfill those dreams which they themselves failed to
    attain. A sad state of affairs indeed. Every child has the right to choose his way of life. We parents can guide them through the way, but I think, it's not wise to compel them to follow the path we think better.

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    1. By pushing our kids to achieve the impossible we often push them too far-sad.
      Maniparna thanks for coming over.

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  12. I do not understand the logic of giving this extreme stress to kids.I feel bad for kids with such maniac parents.

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    1. Ankita sometimes the kids are too lazy for their own good and parents have to egg them on.But it should not be mixed with their own ambitions.

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Thanks for reading my post.I hope you liked it :).