At crossroads

At crossroads

It is that time of the year  when there is tension and anxiety in the air. The announcement of exam results are always a harrowing time for a student. This is always followed by the big question — what next? Though there are many who would have already decided what they want to pursue, some young minds are still indecisive.

Many a time, one can see tremendous pressure imposed on children by their parents, with regard to their grades and choice of course to pursue. There are also instances when parents tend to force their will (of what they could not fulfill in their lives) on their kids, failing to understand the pressure imposed on the child.

“It is common to see Indian parents typically thrusting their choice on their kids as they think it is appropriate. At that moment, they don’t realise the consequences, however, it is much later that many children realise that they chose the wrong course or career. In fact that’s when the conflict of choice arises,” explains Dr Sulata Shenoy, Director of Turning Point.

She highlights that there is no proper career guidance for students and parents  often look into the monetary aspect of a profession. Subjects like Humanities and Arts are still looked down upon, possibly ignoring a child’s interest.

She adds, “Only about 10% of parents encourage their children to pursue what they are really passionate about. In all this, a failure in the education system can also be noticed for putting so much emphasis on one particular subject that parents and students cannot think beyond it.”

Every child is gifted with something unique and no two individuals have the ability or interest for the same thing. Some parents too feel that parental pressure is something that can be avoided. And they feel that they should rather find out the hidden talents of their kids.

K A Ravi, father of Sudarshan R (who scored 98.33%) this year, says, “Parents should not force their opinions on their children. They should always give them the freedom to choose and pursue their passion. Making it clear how important education is in the initial stages itself can make the foundation strong. After which there is no need and occurrence of parental pressure. No profession is big or small, counselling too can help in widening the knowledge of career options,” he details.

Parental pressure can lead to lack of interest and motivation and self-esteem tremendously crumbling down, says Meghna Anna Oommen, a psychiatric rehabilitation professional and counsellor.

She adds, “Most of the time, it is because of the environment and the way they (parents) were brought up that they try to impose their will on their children. Their background also acts as an influence. Holistic development is very essential for a child and this should not be affected because of the various societal pressures.”

The scenario, she says, is changing to an extent. “Today’s parents are becoming more broad-minded as a realisation is seeping in. There is the need for awareness and acceptance by parents,” Meghna adds.

Advising parents to listen to their children’s interests and not thrust whatever they couldn’t do on the kids, she says, “No one knows what the job market will be like 10 years from now. Being realistic and going for career aptitude tests can help a child tremendously. It is not advisable to follow the herd mentality.”

She also points out that parents sometimes are emotionally manipulative to get their child to pursue what they want them to, which they justify by saying that it is for the child’s good.

Sulata highlights that parental pressure can lead to low self-confidence and anxiety in children, sometimes leading to depression and suicidal thoughts because they don’t know how to come out of this trap.

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