Do you know that a record number of students commit suicide every year in our country? During the past four years, more than 26000 students have committed suicide all over the country. The rate is so alarming that statistics indicate one student is committing suicide every 55 minutes. In the National Mental Health Survey published by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), it shows that the rate of incidence of suicide in children below 14 years is 0.5 per 100,000. This rate is much higher in the 14-17 age groups, which is 9.5.
There are a lot of reasons why many youngsters are choosing this path and one of the significant among them is academic pressure. This academic pressure includes high expectations of the parents, a huge syllabus, a cut-throat competition to score marks, peer pressure and lack of support to handle these issues. The mental makeup of children and adolescents are different than that of adults so, parents and teachers must understand this while dealing with the problems the students face.
The typical daily routine of a child
These days the children remain busy with tuitions after returning from school and they go to different training institutes to learn singing, dancing, painting etc. Along with their studies, they have to excel in all these areas too according to their parents because their peers are doing the same. Scant regards are shown to the child's interest and parents force them to learn things even if they are not willing to. Well, a child cannot excel in every field. It's true that times are changing and humans are evolving rapidly, but even then pressure cannot be handled equally by everybody. If we look closely into the daily routine of children nowadays we will find them busy with activities all the time. The time to play is decreasing and most of the time they are engaged with activities related to academics. Though when they play it's mostly video games or online games.
The outdoor games keep the children active physically as well as mentally which is very important for their growth. Along with studies, students should be encouraged to participate in outdoor games. This will help them to learn the importance of working as a team which in turn will enhance their sense of responsibility.
The syllabus is really huge and there is a constant pressure to excel academically. The education system of our country is ranking oriented and the parents try to associate scoring high marks with the nature and intelligence of the student, which is not the case, and thinks that the pride of the family rests with the academic performance of the student. The pressure builds up with high expectations. Many parents want their children to score high marks in every class and this continues till the end of the student life. The children begin to think that if they cannot score high marks they will be rendered useless and thus fear failures. From this fear of failure in exams the depression starts. If it continues for long, it may lead to the feeling of helplessness, hopelessness and worthlessness which can ultimately turn the student to take the decisive step to end life.
Parents must understand that every child is unique and born with different capabilities. While nurturing the child, they must find the traits and skills of the child and guide accordingly. Is it possible for everybody to top a single exam? Certainly not! So, parents must realize themselves and tell their children that academic excellence is not everything and they can excel in the field they are good at. This will surely reduce a lot of pressure.
The role of the parents
Have you ever imagined that what you thought of prime importance in a child's life is making the child nervous? Why learning new things should be so disturbing that the child finds it easier to end life rather than to continue learning? The aim of any education system should be to grow the curiosity of a child to learn more. But the parents and the teachers are forcing the children to learn more rather than developing the curiosity in them. This must be kept in mind while nurturing the child.
Parents and the guardians always play a very important role to shape up the life of a child. There are many working parents nowadays who hardly have time for their children but the children always need the care and comfort of their parents. After returning home from work, it's important to spend some quality time, however little it may be, with the kids. Parents need to know the traits of the child and there is no harm in being a little experimental. Why always choose the conventional education system followed by all? You can try homeschooling and guide your children to the field where she/he has an interest. Everybody is talking about competition. This competition should not be to beat others or go ahead of the peers, rather it must be to give one's best performance in every activity and improve own performance. A tender mind does not understand all these and keep on following what others are doing. Parents should make the children realize all these things. When a child understands these basic things at an early age, it helps her/him to realize complex things more easily. Whatever may be the peer pressure or pressure from an outsider, if the parents are supportive enough the child can cope it in a better way.
Seeking necessary help
Problems related to mental health are mostly neglected and when things go out of hand the parents themselves get nervous which can even complicate the issue. You will find the article What to do if your child shows suicidal behavior helpful if you come across any such situation and can also help others by spreading the message given in the article.
When the child is facing some mental health issues it is always necessary to address the issues first rather than running after the causes of the particular mental health problem. There is a tendency among many of us to start blaming the education system or the poor handling of the students in school, but when we cannot change things overnight we have to learn to deal with it. Do not always depend on Google. It is our habit to search for anything and everything under the sun in Google but there are certain issues which should be handled professionally. Nowadays we read various health-related articles in magazines and various online platforms but still, we seek the help of a medical practitioner to cure the illness. Remember, all those articles are guidelines to stay fit and healthy. It's good and necessary to follow them and when you feel something is going wrong with your body or mind do not hesitate to visit a professional.
While childhood is not all about studying, it is also not about playing throughout the day. In a day, we get 24 hours and we manage everything within this time. The technique to manage the time efficiently should be learnt from childhood and it's always essential to follow a routine. Actually, we all are following a routine. We have a particular time to eat, sleep, entertainment and daily activities. What is essential here is a balance between all these activities. We have to do all these things and the priorities will change according to the situation. It's essential to have a healthy body and a healthy mind to work efficiently. A child must flourish mentally with the active support of parents and then only she/he can cope with any adverse situation. While parents should take utmost care of their children in every situation they must seek professional help when necessary.
Great article on the role of the parents to reduce student suicide. This is one of the most important issues being faced by the Indian society which needs to be addressed seriously.
A good article which raises an alarm on the suicide cases which are rising among students. Many points have been highlighted and are correct. I would also like to give my viewpoint on the same :
1. Parents need to be friend with whom a child can speak his mind.
2. Show faith in your child.
3. Teach him to accept failure as stepping stone than as an issue.
4. Learn to know your child's interest and provide him the support that is required to develop it.
5. Provide him a space, so as to take his own decision, whether right or wrong. If the decision made is right - appreciate him and if it's wrong, make him understand the mistake.
6. Always give time to your child. He may need you at every stage. You need to show him that you are always with him, which will give him the positivity to go ahead.
7. Inculcate a habit of discipline which need to be followed. This will help him manage the time and to prepare in advance.
8. Speak to your child about any new thing that you want him to learn or know. It can be about a new thing, myth, new disease, new technology, recent case or incident that has happened and ask for his point of view on that matter. This will help you gauge your child's thinking.
9. Have good relation with your child's teachers and friends. This will help you know your child better.
Parents are the first teachers to the children. How they shape their children in their childhood is very important.
A child has to enjoy his life during childhood and there should be a good foundation at this age for their future. So the parents should see that both are balanced. Then the child will grow as a perfect adult. But unfortunately, this is lacking in many families. Earlier days people used to have more children and parents used to focus equally on all. So the expectations of the parents from children were getting distributed over all their children. But these days we see only one or maximum two kids in the family. So the parents want to see them on top everywhere.
Because of this, there is a lot of pressure on the children.
Most parents are very busy in earning and they don't have much time to spend with the children. Whatever little time is available, they will ask about their ranks, awards and then try to compare their performance with their friend's children or neighbour's children. This important point that we should not compare the performance of our children with some other child and we should not insult our children has to be kept in mind. Such an attitude will have a lot of negative effect on the minds of the children. So parents should be very careful in this area. It creates a lot of tension on the minds of the children and they will try avoiding their parents. I feel these pressures and tensions only are creating problems and the suicidal mentality in the children is increasing.
Parents should realise that ranks and awards are not ultimate in life. They should understand the competence, ability, strength and liking of the children. Accordingly, they should guide the children so that they will be on the right path. Parents should never impose their interests and likings on the children. They should also take into account the views of the child also. The parents should understand the ability of the child and encourage him to excel in that line.