We are asked to not watch the television or use the internet during ‘that time of the year’. We are also asked to not go out of the house or talk to our friends on the phone.
If we’re lucky, our phones are not confiscated.
During that same time of the year, our every move is watched, we are given lessons on how to be successful and told that our futures depend on our academic performance.
God forbid we if we fail, our lives will have no meaning.
But this is something most of us have gone through at some point in our lives, including you, dear parents.
Then why do you fail to empathise?
Once upon a time, you were a child too, with the same troubles we have now. But surpassing all of that, you have managed to have a family — have us.
Don’t you remember carrying a big bag filled with books from the time you were only three years old?
You too were taught lessons in school, asked to revise them at home, then judged if you are good or bad students on the basis of marks.
Like us, didn’t you also understand some parts of the lessons, and had trouble comprehending the rest?
You know exactly how it feels to try and perform your best, but not get marks befitting your attempt.
And is getting marks the only purpose of a human life?
What if we wanted to become dancers, artists, sportspersons, or even zookeepers?
Is it fair to kill our dreams if we are not “good in studies”? Maybe we want to be good at something else.
But when marks are the only thing you want from us, it makes us feel the heat of already impending examinations.
One of the leading causes of depression in teenagers is the added pressure to perform well in the exams. In many cases, we commit suicide, unable to cope up with the invisible baggage of expectations on our shoulders.
Another aspect of this pressure is comparing our marks with those of our friends. Maybe your intention is to motivate us to do better. But far from motivating, these comparisons cause us to be more distressed due to the feeling of inadequacy.
We understand that our world has greater opportunities, and you were unable to fulfil many of your dreams due to lack thereof. But it is unfair to burden us with the aspirations you couldn’t achieve as a child, as the two might not intersect.
There are more and more teenagers falling into depression or anxiety every day, and committing suicide because of their parents’ expectations.
Psychologists suggest that students suffer from anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder relating to fear of examination. And the fear not only comes from the school but also from parents, who go to extreme levels to push their children into getting better grades.
The best time of our lives are supposed to be our years in school and college. But fear of failure has had negative effects on us. We judge our self-worth on the basis of our marks.
When you get rid of the cable connection and internet at home, it diverts our concentration further. You cannot expect us to study every minute of the day. Sometimes, we need to get away from books to release that pressure. Staying in our rooms with stacks of books pushes us into isolation, making us feel detached from the very people who gave birth to us.
If you are the ones who should know us better than anybody else, then why do newspapers carry tragic suicide reports of teenagers while parents remain unaware of their mental agony?
It is essential you tell us that it is not the end of the world if we do not top our class or fail in a subject. Every child has a talent and not everyone is the best at academics. While encouraging us to do well in studies, you should also try and find our other strengths and work on them together – only then we’ll be able to share our troubles with you.
Parent-child relationships are born out of love and it is disheartening to see them transform into a relationship guided by fear. Children should be able to treat their parents as friends, especially during their younger years as students. And this is only possible when we are not judged solely on the basis of our marks.