When will this stop? Everyday media carry shocking stories of so many young kids taking the extreme step of ending their life. Then the blame game starts. Parents blame school; school blame parents or education system and we, the society will say ‘something should be done!! ‘ Then Government sets up a panel to find out ways to reduce burden or pressure on kids and life goes on…. As per a report almost 2500 kids end their life in a year in India due to pressures during exam and at the time of results.
Instead of making our children good and responsible citizens, we might be turning them into directionless human beings with no confidence in self or in society. Regularly by our actions and behaviour we hurt our kids so badly – not physically but mentally that they start having low self-esteem or self worth. They take out their anger by either hurting others like in case of recent spate of incidents among young schoolchildren across India or by hurting themselves.
The biggest surprise is the behaviour of parents in saying we don’t know why he/she acted like this! Why you are not involved in your kids life; giving them comfort, foreign holidays, gizmos is the only proof of a good parent? In return you want your kid to do well and succeed; with getting good marks the only indicator of success.
Recently we did a survey in a leading Gurgaon school of around 200 kids of Class VIII. The children, I believe, gave us honest feedback. They shared with us that the pressure of studies and managing parents/teachers as their biggest challenge. Around 70% of them are scared of their parents or teachers. These kids start spending more time away from parents – with peers, with TV, and on the internet. They are spending lesser and lesser time with parents. Some of their feelings about themselves and their other family members were both revealing and shocking.
We, many times unknowingly, pass on pressure of our own ambitions and aspirations onto these young kids. ‘It’s a competitive world; so every child should run – whether he or she can or not’. Teachers are under performance pressure of giving a ‘good result’ from ever demanding parents & school management, end up pressurizing the kids with loads of exams. Often the exam system tests children not on what he or she knows, but on what they don’t know!
On top of this, kids today are bombarded with too much information from movies, TV serials, internet, and newspapers. Some of this is not suitable for them. They are often confused and there is no one there to guide them what is right and what’s not. Very often our kids see us breaking the rules, which we expect them to follow.
While we all know the reasons – nuclear families, working parents, increasing consumerism, and so on – we still have not learnt how to handle our children who are soft and innocent like young saplings coming out of a seed. They need nurturing through love & care like we do for our new plants. They will be what ‘we’ will make them – we as parents, family elders and, teachers. Each small sapling needs lot of care when it is young. It will grow into a strong tree if taken care of well with right amount of water, soil and care.
The truth of today’s life is that we are all under pressure, and have less time to spend with family and children. Finding and managing time for this great cause is not difficult. There are lots of parents and teachers who are doing it successfully.
The solution lies in ensuring that our pressures are not passed onto our kids. The solution also lies in planning our lives in such way that despite our busy schedule, we are there with our children, when they need us. Let’s help the kids, to identify their ‘unique dreams’ and help them in achieving it by working on their strengths than focusing on their weaknesses.
So let’s start ‘doing’ something rather than just saying Aamir Khan’s ‘Taarey Zameen Par is a nice film and I was moved by it.
Its time to nurture our young trees, our kids! Give them chance to live; let them live their childhood & enjoy it too!
By Puneet Rathi