Shrinking spaces of children

The adolescents and the youth, one by one, end their life either disappointed over their academic results or anticipated over the failure in exams. The recent horrendous death of a degree student atop Chamundi Hills has sent shock waves among the parents. He set him ablaze after pouring kerosene! Similalry, a 16 year old girl from Mandya took the extreme step to kill herself. When none was at home, she poured kerosene and set her ablaze!

Why do our children take such drastic steps? What are the factors that drive them into taking such extremities? Why do they get so depressed over exam results?

Committal of suicides by our young adults is a social issue that haunts all of us.  The society has become so irresponsible as far as our children and young adults are concerned. Parents and the society at large have put lot of pressure and hopes on them in their academic performance and carrier. Children and young adults are under pressure to meet up the hopes of parents and the community around them. Academic results of children, most of the time, are pride of parents, rather than that of children. About 6 years ago, in Mysuru city, a young mother of a kindergarten child ended her life after the poor results of her child in the annual exam! The excellence in examinations has become a prestige issue for the parents.

In interactive sessions, children are given opportunity to share about their goals, carrier options. Majority of them wants to become doctor or engineer! A large number of children, especially from the lower classes, do not have such carrier options. However, children of the middle class and upper middle class have set their goal of becoming doctor or engineer. It is very obvious that the goal set by them is not their own. It is planted by their parents and the neighbouring community. When additional questions are asked about the viability of such carrier options, children are not able to make any answers. They are conditioned and forced to live upto the expectations of their parents.

Pressure is put on the children on an everyday basis, by the parents or school / college authorities to excel in the exams. Failure, at any cost, is not accepted. From the day one, child is trained and conditioned to be adverse to failures. It is taught that failure in exams or any other activity in the school is a shame for the child. A third standard boy was admitted to NIMHANS for three months for treatment of depression after his intimate father stopped talking to him over the poor results in midterm exams!

Every child is special and each one is blessed with various talents. They cannot be homogenised. The challenge before the parents is the identification of their original talents at their young age. Parents need to develop their skills to identify such talents of their children. Education shall not be a hindrance to the development of children’s talents.

Children should be able to love failures too. It is very important in their life to equip with a skill on how to face and overcome failures. Now we have seen an upsurge in number of divorces among the IT professionals. The reason is nothing but the inability to face a failure. They are not trained to accept the realities in life as they are. They know only to excel in an examination with high marks, but they fail in their real life.

Suicide of an adolescent or a young adult is a negative sign of a developed society. It is definitely an indicator of the shrinking space for the blooming youngsters. Unless we take care of our children by shedding our ego, prejudices and fallacies based on material world, we will surely lose our new generation one by one.

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