Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Are we raising a generation of Burnt Out Children?

This is my topic for presentation in "Communication Skills Lab" in my college.Here,I have presented my views on the topic as I have understood it.Your views may differ with the topic,and you are free to put forth your own views....(Sorry for the loooooong length!)

Childhood is the most colourful phase of one’s life. We learn by making mistakes. We grow mature gradually, not abruptly. It’s the carefree time of our life. When we have real hobbies passions and dreams. Sadly, that’s all changing.

In earlier days, life was never controlled by tests, tuitions, exams and such things. Parents had time for their children. Life wasn’t all about getting a job in a big company with a big pay cheque. People pursued what they liked. Intelligence wasn’t counted by which college you got into. Children behaved like children, with thirst for knowledge.

Nowadays childhood has a different meaning altogether. It’s dominated by being the smartest, tuitions, hobby classes, peer pressure and what not. Childhood is now a complicated phase.

The ‘intention’ behind pushing the children hard is to ‘nurture’ them to face the competitive world. Developing talent is not a sin; it will help the child in his future. It is a trickledown effect from the kind of competition experienced for entry into engineering colleges, graduation and others. Today’s world demands ordinary people with extra skills to survive. As Darwin`s theory says-natural selection or in other words survival of the fittest.
The basic needs of childhood are, time to play, place to play and explore the world through his eyes. In the name of competition we are raising fatigued, stressed, and overburdened children with no sound moral values. The stress is resulting into children engaging in all kinds of derogative acts.

Competition is such that today`s world demands good grades in schools, colleges to get a good job to earn their living. Competition is the need of the hour, we can`t deny that but what is worrying is the fact that parents push their children to their limits which makes children’s life tougher. Parents need to understand that everyone has different capabilities. Every individual has a special quality. Instead of encouraging that skill, parents want their children to achieve what they themselves couldn’t achieve.

Today parents don`t have time for their children to listen to them. Teachers demand work within a short period of time. So it makes students life tougher. And then we have tuitions as we need ‘extra skills’ to get through competitive examinations apart from regular classes in school. And what make matters worse are higher expectations from parents and teachers alike. Parents and teachers force students to take part in extracurricular activities which in turn increases load on children. 

In the name of making the Education System more student-friendly, the students are actually made to bear more stress. The teacher-student relationship is now warped. The insecure student’s mind is now more than confused. Bundled up with an emotional dilemma with the pressure of performing well, the students eventually burn out. Their identity is lost.

Instead what the education system should do is train the teachers such that the student-teacher rapport is impeccable. Exams are important, yes. They make you able to face failures. But that does not mean exams should be made such a big issue that students commit suicide when their results don’t meet their parents expectations.

People should also understand that stress management is not a subject that can be taught. Children burdened with such high expectations are also expected to ‘handle’ pressure well enough. But what would an 11 year-old know about what is stress?

Peer pressure has been present since earlier times. But now suddenly it has become an important issue. More so because the peer pressure now is not as healthy as it should be. The only question that arises is: Is being better than your neighbour’s/relative’s/friend’s child would imply that the child in question is intelligent?
Here come the so-called Reality Shows. The reality shows on TV show how much a child has been put through and how broken he/she becomes. That’s another thing that bothers children-the inability to perform, or in other words, the fear of failure. The young and impressionable mind is now also a diffident mind. Parents fight on camera saying their child has been voted out due to favoritism, whereas they should be with their child and telling him or her that it’s okay to fail and should boost their confidence.

It is true that competition is growing day by day but childhood is the age for playing, making friends, etc. Of course, things are changing and CBSE has taken the right step by providing Board exams as optional for students and introducing grading system that may reduce the stress among students. But the main step should be taken by parents by giving their children care and guidance at home. It’s time they open their eyes to see their children yearning for their love. Teachers can make studies more entertaining by taking real life examples and interacting more with students to give them the comfort they want.

It’s not really the children’s fault; after all, they just observe what goes on around them.


  1. I know of a 17 yrs old who says he will decide upon the career looking at the "package" the co offers.At 17,I was not even aware of the value of money.

  2. @BK Chowlaji
    True.Today's children grow up so soon.They follow fashion and movie gossips,have boyfriends/girlfriends without knowing anything about commitment,and their "friendship" is like the seasons-ever changing.And their parents don't have the "time" to guide them properly.

    The real meaning of childhood is now entirely different.

  3. hey anu...
    as i had already said.. this ones awesome... and the way u've expressed is really amazing..

    wt u say is true... children have bcom ambitious.. and is really harming them... as well their offsprings..

  4. we live in a world where education is nothing but money, well blame our population for every social evil.... not sure how many of us who blame would let our children take up a career in dance, flowers, or anything other than their wish!


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