I had nervous breakdowns in my life twice, and I fought it alone, depending solely on anti depressants and regular visits to psychiatrists. No please do not conjecture that I am brave and strong, I am basically, as you say in Hindi–“Fuddoo”, emotionally weak and need a shoulder for my pressure-cooker head. Hence I can verily understand how mortifying and emotionally claustrophobic one may feel when depressed.
Depression is not typical to adolescence only, however, these days it is one of the most common disorders that is being diagnosed in adolescents. Reasons can be attributed to the following:
Distractions–As a child and even as a teenager remember my dad gave me a pocket money of Rs.50/-, not that he couldn’t afford, but he always questioned me the reasons for a higher amount. His logic was since I don’t have to spend on food, clothing, entertainment and phone, so I basically can subsist on Rs.50/- per month. But yes if I needed more I had to give him a proper reason for such. And I accepted that cash with humility. However now, iphones, ipads, ipods, cineplexes, expensive clothing, and constant increasing modes of entertainment quite naturally lure kids and we simply cannot blame them if they fail to avail those and feel deprived and depressed. Constant parental guidance is the only way to resolve the issue. Trust me, nothing else can work.
Peer Pressure–peer pressure plays a major role in depression. The criteria of “he has but i don’t” are nothing less of a carcinogen that erodes the innocent minds of kids. In fact it kind of becomes a status symbol. I remember a child complaining to his mother that his friends bring maggi to school every day while he gets to eat parathas and rotis, is very demeaning, though made me laugh then but later I was forced to realize the impact of peer pressure and the way it hampers a child’s growth.
Working parents—yes, ironic though it may sound, but with both the parents working and a single working parent often leads to depressions in kids. The reason is very simple, as I cannot devote much time to my kid so I mainly cajole or coax her with gifts every day. And this habit of her getting things everyday adds to a psychological buildup that she can get anything anytime without much hindrance. We make everything ready available for our children, and then as they grow up, if they become more demanding we either give in to them or refuse. Both the ways lead to depression:
- If we make everything easy for them, and life throws lemons later, they do not know how to cope up with such situations and slip into depression.
- If with time we say “no”, they initially become furious and then refuse to accept this denial which again makes them go into depression and in extreme cases they might resort to self harming methods.
Increasing competition—the “rat race”, as we love to call it, requires each one of us to become beyond excellent, and when they fail to do so they lose out. We as parents also contribute to their depression by constantly comparing them with “sharma ji ka beta”, “gupta aunty ki poti”, blah blah… We love to judge a fish’s caliber by asking it to climb a tree. This definitely adds to depression unquestionably.
But how do we solve it? By taking them to psychiatrists??? Yes, if required, we ought to! We cannot obviously provide them the clinical help that they can; but we can partake in a very important course of action! We can in the first place, avoid such situations. As parents we have a very important role to play in protecting our children from depression.
This can start by being understanding, affectionate and logical while dealing with them. The way we mould them from childhood is exactly how they shall grow up as individuals. If we give in to their demands now, we are endangering them for their entire life, pushing them towards frustration each time they fail. Life is not a cake walk, and the sooner they understand this in a positive way, the better it is for them.
We need to first understand that each child is unique and has a special potential, not all can be Sachin or Lata or Newton. A master chef working in a five star hotel and living a happy life is more important than a frustrated civil engineer. This reminds me of the movie “Three Idiots”!
Are we passing on our frustration to our kids? We the parents water the soil where they can grow into beautiful flowers, let’s not maraud it by putting toxins.
Image Courtesy – http://www.albawaba.com/ (main image) http://kidshealth.org/ (inside image)
- Amrrita Banerjee
- January 27, 2017
- 1 Comment