Children grow up listening to the importance of education and educating themselves even before they enter the real world or are able to develop their intellectual faculties. Along with this knowledge, they are also bombarded with a grim image of a pathetic future, if they chose for a moment to stray from the path set for them by their families and the construct of society. Forced into schools, academic directions and sometimes also professions, students lead a half-hearted life of unfulfilled dreams, and a meaningless career running a race that they never even signed up for in the first place.
Studies from the last 25 years have shown how a rapid decline in mental health overshadowed the well-being of boys and girls, as young as fifteen. One such study focusing on three generations of teenagers in the years 1974, 1986 and 1999; highlighted on acute behavioral anomalies. These ranged from severe cases of depression, anxiety and a growing lack of social commitment. These symptoms, subtle and easily mistaken for 'typical teenage behavior' often go neglected and largely misunderstood. It is rather shocking to know how ignorance in such cases can lead to the development of a self-harming lifestyle and the most serious kinds of anti psycho-social tendencies.
Families, in today's time and age, encourage their children to make choices that should directly influence their chances of fetching better-paying jobs and being socially more respectable. They do not necessarily allow them to follow their personal dreams or aspirations. More often than not, education becomes the primary tool for society to coerce children into avenues; converting the English proverb “dream big” into a sad irony. For children to discard their desires and follow a road directed by their parents and other recognized institutions, exposes them to the hopeless reality of growing up. In such a situation, they are untimely pushed into the realm of disappointment and depression.
The Education System Has A Set Of Invisible Norms That It Imposes On The Students.
The easiest one being: one must study with the sole purpose of landing a job. What they fail to realize is that these are not decisions it is entitled to make. An individual, irrespective of sex, caste and social standing, matures with a certain mental framework. This framework, based on their personal affinities to particular subjects, is thus different for different people. Thus, when they are forced into pursuing an academic route, their mental and personal faculties go into a conflict with each other.
At this juncture, it is mandatory that help rushes right in, rescuing the individual because the fall from their world of personal hopes is hard and at times irrevocable. This sense of being unworthy is sometimes enough to compel an individual to retreat into an impenetrable cocoon that eventually drains out his social and interpersonal skills.The key role in maintaining a child’s mental well-being should be played by the family. It is expected of them to recognize the issue and immediately find ways to help him. More often than not victims of depression have shied away from speaking about their condition. Considering the prevalent social stigma surrounding mental illness, it is pretty clear that one would choose to remain quiet and let anxiety eat into their peace of mind than consult a parent or teacher. The fear of being categorized as ‘one of them’ is usually greater than the strength to confront it all together.
To recognize is to introduce him to the healing nature of human compassion. To recognize is to assure him with a sense of unwavering support. If an individual is made to realize that he isn’t alone in this journey, we can hope for improvement. It is of extreme importance that individuals feel love and appreciation amidst emotional distress. This will help him walk through the hardship, one day at a time, finally moving beyond this episode in life. Research shows that children living in close-knit families and social groups far higher in terms of mental and personal health. Their psychological needs doubled with the emotional support from all around leads to a happier and calming environment for the emancipation of their troubled minds.
For a healthier, more positive world, families need to encourage their children to chase whatever they rationally want to achieve out of their lives. Show them the way, stand by them but take a step back from passing the so-called labels of society on their backpacks as they leave for their first day of school. It is important that they receive appreciation for their work, no matter how little or insignificant. Sometimes even the smallest parts on their little backs help them in growing out of their insecurities and considering themselves worthy of the greatest things. Talk to them, recognize their abilities- make an environment that allows them to dream and most importantly dream with them.
Do you feel that parents should impose career choices on their children or should they have a liberty to pursue their dreams and passions? Let us know in the comments' section below!
(Featured Image Courtesy: MSECND)