Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Suicidal Tendencies in Children - A Perspective.

Taking my discussion, on this new challenge in our society, further, I thought it necessary to examine this phenomenon a little further. This development has its roots, amongst others, in the rapid change our society has undergone and how our lives have changed on the last two decades.

This period is most relevant as the children opting for suicide were born during this time.We may have made tremendous strides in making more money or ensuring a mobile phone for one out of every  two Indians, expanding economic opportunities or have improved our so-called "standards of living". However, in this race, we seem to achieved whatever at a very high cost. The moot question is whether, we as  a society have regressed.

It seems that the stakes have suddenly been upped and it appears that in this life's race, the winner takes it all.
Everybody loves winners and there is a certain glamour attached to these "success stories". Media also does it bit by highlighting crazy placement salaries of a few students from premier engineering and management institutes. All this raises expectations of both students and parents.

Whilst this is not the case in reality, we often fail to recognise that there is no free lunch  in life. Each one has to always pay a price and often that is not visible. It is good to aspire and work hard towards one goal and there is absolutely no harm in that. One does not plan to fail but what happens if  the student,  inspite of best  efforts, is unable to get through. It is at this stage emotional balance of both parents and their children is called into play.

That failure in an exam is not a measure of that child's worth should be understood and clearly communicated and demonstrated through thoughts, words and deeds. That failure is not the end of life and instead can be  a stepping stone for renewed efforts should be drilled in no uncertain terms.

Most students are not suicidal but it is impossible to predict who could be overwhelmed at any point of time and who would take steps towards the edge.

It is possible for a child to equip itself against the uncertainties of life and attain a semblance of emotional balance if their education process begins early - both at home and in school. This pre-supposes that our teachers have the right approach and training and parents have the maturity to be mentors, friends and of course de-stressed parents.

Is this expecting too much???  Can we achieve this state??? If yes, then what needs to be done??? Is this over simplification of the problem??? Do we understand the compulsions of those for whom good education is a passport to a better life away from their daily drudgery???

There are many unanswered questions. It is important that these are discussed in public domain and there is awareness. It may help someone.


BK Chowla, said...

The scene in India too is becoming materialistic.Children see so much of human,product and professional exposure on the net and media that they tend to lose their balance.
Did you watch an Ad of a car where a 10 yrs old wants to book one when he is VP at 24.
It is very difficult to go through such heavy pressures.Parents should take the blame.

Vinod_Sharma said...

Yes, the subject is complex and there are many unanswered questions.

But one thing that is evident is that competitive pressure has increased tremendously. And it is only going to grow. Yet, I wonder sometimes whether the pressure today can be greater than the existential and competitive pressure early humans had, when they lived in jungles teeming with wild animals with no more than stones and sticks to protect themselves.

This is really no jungle. Perhaps we have become softer as we have become more civilised. But, like you said, there are no easy answers here.

manju said...

This is certainly a complex problem. I do not think that any one group- parents, teachers or children- are solely to blame. Changing values in society as a whole play a large part in this.

We all have to reconsider the definition of 'success', and rethink what our goals should be. When the only yardstick of success in life is standing first in an exam -no matter how that is achieved- there is definitely something wrong.

Children should realize (perhaps parents should realize, too) that the journey is as important as the end. Then, if they have tried their best, they will not so often, think of themselves as failures.

Mavin said...


It is not only the ad. That can be seen as cute or ambition and confidence personified.

We glorify wealth and money making and as is natural people aspire to achieve that status. Nothing wrong in that so far.

The problem is when many would not succeed by the same measure. That it is not the end of life is to be clearly understood.

The role of parents, teachers, friends and relatives is very important. One kind word and emcouragement to get up and get on does wonders.

Mavin said...

In a jungle the pressures were survival. The body was accordingly tuned towards that.

These pressures today are more mental and mind is a queer animal It latches on the negative and feeds on it.

Mavin said...


Yes...and the solution lies with us. We have to define our values and live by them.

Further, we should stop making a failure look like an unwanted without any worth.

Our society has got to learn to be more tolerant and not condemn failures.

Anrosh said...

the problem is parents push their children into achieveing the dreams that they could not do - realistic or not.

the craze for engineering or medicene in india is insanity. parents are ashamed of their children into not going to all these. parents do not understand that their egos /pride should not come first when it comes to their childs present and future, but their egos do come first and they push the children to the extreme that living with parents who taunt, mock, ridicule every minute of the day becomes unbearable - no wonder children commit suicide.

parents seems more like police inthe life of children, than "parents". parents are more worried about "what kapoor uncle or mahajan uncle, will think?...the list is endless mavin ---

only few children are strong enough to shut out the noises that the parents/ create and find their own winding way -- find their path, even if it is not considered successful by others and keep chugging on. it is not easy to stand alone and keep fighting on that path and such children scuumb.

you might notice that i am hard on parents, that is because parents live in their own bubble sometimes and fail to try to understand their childrens perspective and weakness or their strengths. it is a fact that parents have to accept , every child of theirs cannot have the biggest car or a mansion - but nope, that deos not go into their head !

to add to it the relatives are a pain in the ass who look down upon those parents whose children are not into professional colleges!

if parents were more an encouraging
mentor every child of their will attain their best potential - isn't that what seperates human beings from animals ?

Anrosh said...

And the number of seats in every college and school much increase in proportion to population.

Increase the salaries of teachers in schools, so that they will be motivated to help and mentor the students.

if this is not going to happen, than their will be more suicides.

Mavin said...

Hi An,

Thankfully, some of the things have changed.

The list of engineering and medicine has now increased. We have CA and MBA being added to the list.

There is a slow but visible change taking place. Media - journalism, Insurance, banking, event management, travel and tourism, para-medical, nursing are some options that are no longer frowned upon.

You are right. We as citizens lament the status of education and as parents do not think twice about our pre-conceived notions.

As a parent to a daughter in her 10th standard and who has not decided on a career option....I am living through this everyday.