• Amrita Thavrani

    Yes. Communication is the key. Not every parents can create and maintain that thread, but those who does creates happy and confident souls. I so agree with your post.

    • Thanks Amrita! Glad that you connect with this post! It is important to be open with kids, so that they are able to talk about anything with you, the parents. When kids have things on their mind and are not able to share or discuss it with parents or somebody supportive, it manifests itself elsewhere!

  • Jack

    Shilpa,

    It is absolutely correct that in most cases fault lies on the part of parents, be it putting too much of pressure for anything or burdening the child with a lot of expectations which could be unrealistic many times or not ensuring that child has confidence in parents to share his or her burden by being open & friendly. I always say that we need to be more open and friends with children as per age. Confidence needs to be cultivated in children to share whatever be it with parents and that can be done by parent’s approach only.

    Take care

    • Agree completely. Since times have changed so dramatically between the 2 generations, parents have to adapt themselves to the changing times. Being friends and understanding from the child’s perspective is important too! The strict and authoritative parenting style cannot work today which worked very well in earlier generations. Thank you Mr J for sharing your views.

  • Anilkumar Kurup

    To a good extent yes. There are misplaced ideas and fantasies that parents have.The child’s likes, aspirations, ambitions are not considered. Then the unscientific and convoluted academic curriculum adds to the demands and peer pressure.
    It is always a dog fight to be like the jones next door.
    Often the ask is too much for the young mind. When in the present day world even adults find it difficult to cope with demands of life it is cruelty and thoughtlessness to expect young to do so.

    • You are bang on, Anil. Parents who have unrealistic expectations of their children, academically, or in any other sphere of their lives, definitely ensure that the child’s mental, emotional and physical well being gets compromised sooner or later. The pressure to perform is so intense and on top of that if the channels of communication between the parents and the child works only one way then it is a sure shot recipe for disaster!

  • You’ve pretty much said all that I have always felt and said about the topic, Shilpa. Totally agree with you. The lack of communication, unjust expectations by parents, all these are grave factors which always get ignored or overlooked leading the helpless youngsters to succumb to the mounting pressure :(. Sad, really sad.

    • Oh yes, Deeps, it is so sad and tragic that a young life is lost. And the worst is that parents could have averted if only they were vigilant enough and could see the warning signs of depression, behavior changes etc!

  • Children grow up with flowery dreams. The increasing economic stature of parents in our country, recently, has contributed to satisfying every whim and wish of the child. They grow up thinking that parents have to provide anything they wish and it is the duty of their parents to keep them happy always. Sadly, even some elders are like this.

    When such children are exposed to larger problems than what they are used to, or when they come in-terms with harsh reality, no wonder they break down. I think it is the duty of parents to expose their children to the reality and harsh facts, from time to time.

    Just because parents are too strict, children do not break down. But when the child thinks that death is better than the littlest challenges in front of them, it’s definitely an up-bringing problem.

    Destination Infinity

    • DI, You have raised another very relevant and valid reason for children committing suicide. Recently, had read that a student in Delhi, killed himself, because he was ashamed that his parents could afford only a Santro while his friends came to school in Mercs and high end sedans and SUVs!! Certainly, the parents / counselors have to guide the children so that they remain grounded and know and face the harsh realities of life!

  • Though I am not a parent myself, I believe that communication is the key to solving problems. Many times parents fail to communicate with their children which leads to misunderstandings. The child stops confiding in them because he thinks that parents cannot understand him.

    Also these days because most of us live in nuclear families, it becomes difficult for the child to find a confidant such a cousin or even a grandparent with whom he can share his problems. Also, parents do not befriend the child, they pamper the child and call it love.

    • Agree with you completely, V! Now-a-days, the generation gap is too wide and if the child and the parents are not on the same page, problems are sure to abound. Certainly, as you rightly mentioned, guiding a child for his betterment is love. Offering incentives or meeting all his demands is not love!

  • Wish these suicides could be averted.. Children should talk about their problems to their parents because saying it out definitely helps to find solutions.

    • You are absolutely right, Manjulika! Talking about issues helps in every relationship. Only if the kids and parents realize this!

  • A very valuable post most needed at this time when people are pressurizing their kids for their board exams and entrance exams… Probably this will stop when the system changes or the parents mind… When parents stop thinking that their goals/aims should be their children aims, thinks will change. They must stop expecting their goals from their children and they also should not expect their children to avenge their(parents) insults by pursuing their (Parents) interests.

    Another reason is that the students of this time think that their life had been perished due to a failure! They think that they would not have any other chance to succeed in their life because of a failure! This also leads our fingers in the point of the parents for they must have taught them self-confidence along with the other so-called skills. The institutions must regularly counsel their students and give them motivation tonics.

    Like all other social problems in India, this also depends on the society as a whole and not any particular group of people…

    I would like to thank you to raise this topic as your concern for I am a student now and I am witnessing enough number of suicides in and around Chennai… I too have written an analysis on the suicide of the students at http://freezingeternity.blogspot.in/2012/08/death-debris-and-decay.html….

    • Thanks a lot, Hari, for sharing your views on this subject. You have shared very valid points. Parents trying to get their “unfinished business” or unfulfilled dreams achieved through their kids is a sad reality for some. These unrealistic goals and put immense pressure on the kid. Also, some parents believe in ‘if it was good for me, it’ll be good for you” attitude, not realizing there might be emotional or physical or even generation differences to consider. When the child has such huge expectations to fulfill, the fear of failure scares him. Counselling is needed for both the parents and the child in such cases.
      Yes, children benefit from support and encouragement to meet challenges, but there’s a fine line between parental coaxing and coercion, between motivation and manipulation!
      That’s some awesome analysis, Hari… wish we the society, the parents, the schools, the friends help stop people from taking such extreme actions.

  • Ritu Dikshit

    Dear Shilpa, I follow your blog quite regularly and I find them very relevant to the world we are living in.
    Teenage suicide is becoming an epidemic these days. I feel in todays fast life we have stopped being “Aristotle’s social man” and we as a society are becoming a group of loners, running to achieve our own personal glory. Moreover, we all are so fascinated by the western world, in that quest we are giving our children wings to fly west ward but forgetting to give them roots to belong to their own world.
    Children are facing immense emotional turmoil because of that, they don’t know what they want, where they belong and where to go if something goes wrong…
    Once, Mr Arun Kapoor( Director, Vasant Valley School) said, ” Friends are many but parents are just two so please be parents and give them a home to comeback to.

    • Thanks a lot Ritu and glad you find the post relevant. I liked what you have said wings and roots… Read this somewhere… Good parents give their children roots and wings: roots to know where home is, and wings to fly off and practice what has been taught to them.

  • Sheetal Singh

    Children committing suicides is so tragic and this is something that certainly can be prevented. It is not that a child wakes up one fine morning and says that he is going to kill himself today. It cannot be a sudden decision. There would be so much of turmoil and stress that he must be experiencing for so many days or even months. Parents have to recognise these warning signs and help the child. As you rightly said, communication is the key.

    • I shudder to think about the parents whose kids are no more… how difficult it must be to live with the knowledge, that this tragedy could have been averted if only, they knew what went on in the minds of their kids!!

  • rama

    Very true Shilpa. However things are changing, people have come to understand that, times have changed drastically, and there are so many options in every field, if the child has the talent he/she can succeed in anything.
    It is shown beautifully in a Tamil film by Prakash Rai, called
    ” Dhoni”. This picture shows how the school/ teachers put pressure on the child, which in turn makes the parents too put extra pressure on their children, which in turn affects the entire family in the most negative way.
    But I still feel there are few people who do this to their children, whether it is to do with their education or their choosing their own life partner.

    • True Rama, changing with the changing times is the need of the hour! And people are changing too. But still there are a lot many whose kids succumb to the pressure and end their lives. And there is a sudden increase in such tragic incidents before/after the examination results!

      Thanks for sharing about this Tamil movie… am sure that would have created the much needed awareness about the impact of unrealistic goals on the child!

  • This post is so much the need of the hour. These suicides are actually so sad to read about day to day in the newspaper. How does a teenager decide to kill himself / herself ??? Its tragic.

    Its high time the parents start talking to their children in the right way, so that these things can be avoided.

    Shilpa, I am glad you wrote about it.

    • Thank you, Uma! You echo my sentiments!! What must be going on in that child’s mind. I think taking one’s life is a big step… that child must be so troubled that suicide seemed to be the only available option for him!! How sad is that!!

  • A burning issue today… if only these teenagers got a little braver and crossed these few years.

    • Yes, if only they were a little braver, a bit stronger and a lot more open with their parents…

  • Lack of communication., as you have rightly said, is the cause. If only, parents and kids could find the time for it…

  • Yes, If and only if…

  • That was such a thought provoking post, Shilpa! I had to sit back and think whether I am a ‘pushy’ mom!! Truth be told, I am strict, and I do draw a mean line when the kids cross it. But having said that, I guess we need to keep them tough enough to handle issues, while also giving them the confidence that we are non judgemental when it comes to our love.

    • I know what you mean, Meena, because, I am also just the same. I believe pushing the kids to understand the right & wrong, what’s acceptable & what is not is different from pushing and in turn suffocating the kids with some fixed ideas. Agree completely, we need to make them strong and bold enough to handle the tough situations and all this is because we love them dearly!

  • I wouldn’t say that parents are wholly responsible but yes they share the blame partly.
    We live in stressful and competitive times. Parents are equally stressed to provide for the family and God forbid if there are sick people at home the stress levels spiral. Each case is different. Some kids are very sensitive, some under immense pressure to perform or look a certain way. We need to examine why a particular kid resorted to the extreme step. But parents can not shirk away from the blame.

  • Agree with what you have mentioned, Alka! Each child is different and the circumstances and situations would be different too. While the parents may not know 100% of what’s going on in the child’s mind, but an inkling or his general mental make-up or thoughts on an issue should give them the warning signals. And corrective actions / suggestions / counselling should be taken of a war footing.

  • You have chosen a very thought provoking topic. The children, specially the adolescents, are very delicate. Parents are to a great extent responsible for such a drastic step that the children take. We expect too much from the child. Specially when we compare them with other children, or even with siblings, the child is shaken. Some parents are always nagging the kids. Then, there is peer pressure.

    • Thank you Ma’am. You have pointed some very valid reasons which could trouble young minds. As you rightly said, the adolescents are in a delicate phase of life and they need to handled with great care!

  • A most relevant post, Shilpa. While I do rate communication very high, I also fault the parents for trying to live vicariously through their children at times. “I couldn’t do my MBA, so you must do it” kind of philosophy. How many parents in India would be comfortable if their children opted out of regular studies and decided to pursue their art or writing for example?

    • Thanks Corinne! It is so sad and tragic to see such young lives going waste… parents pushing their kids to fulfill their dreams is something is just not right! Wish they realize and understand that their child can be a achiever is a field of his/her choice too!

  • I agree that communication is really crucial. It is important that the child feel comfortable to share feelings of defeat, depression and loss with the parents. And, I agree with what Alka says. Parents are extremely stressed these days and some kids are ultra sensitive. But being keyed in definitely helps.

    • Agree completely, Rachna! An environment at home that gives the confidence to the child to share not only his success but his insecurities and failures too can go a long way!

  • In my opinion, it is only the parents who are responsible for the state of affairs.
    They rub it into kids mind of the competition in studies, in sports, in just any discipline in life. It is nothing but building pressure which always doesn’t work.
    3 Idiots must be shown to parents regularly.

    • Well said, Mr Chowla! 3 Idiots is a perfect movie to understand about letting a child pursue what he loves doing and what can happen if the reverse is true!

  • Roshni

    My grandfather often said, “if you were average or less in studies, why do you expect your child to be a genius?!!”
    Parents expect kids to be doctors or engineers, or else earn an MBA or be software professionals; anything else is considered a failure! And, of course, parents expect kids to marry the person that the parents choose!!
    If only people would let their kids lead their own lives instead of the lives that the parents want their kids to lead!!

    • True Roshni. I wish we could change our mindsets about certain professions being the benchmark for being successful! In today’s time, so many newer fields and avenues are there for one to explore! If only, the kids are allowed to explore those…

  • Hi Shilpa,

    You have written on a burning current issue. It is such a pity that a young life is destroyed in vain. As you rightly pointed out, warning signals are out there but many parents choose to ignore them. While some parents are too strict and lose out on their child’s stress signals many who claim to be friends permit the children to cross the lakshman rekha so to say.

    • Hi Shail. Agree completely with what you have shared. Yes, it is indeed a pity. The sad part is with so much of information explosion on internet, TV, specialists etc still the awareness is so low…