Monday, October 29, 2007
Stop picking on me!!!
Ever read the book:'Nineteen minutes' by Jodi Picoult? Read it especially if you have pre-teen children...Though the ending fell below my expectations, the story didn't...The story revolves around a school shooting, the impact on the survivors and the shooter. What circumstances could drive a normal child to pick up a gun and blindly kill? This child had no dearth of reasons - being picked upon because he was weak, being called gay because he had no girl friends, being constantly compared to a bright brother, falling short of his parents' expectations, being publicly degraded. When you feel shunned by people you know, you retreat in your own private world where everything is according to your rules and you are in control.
It's scary what the world expects out of the young generation. It's also frightening to see how little these children value life. A so-called elite school in Delhi had to issue a circular to its teachers to henceforth highlight only the positive aspects of the students' development in the parents teachers meeting. The reason - a student had committed suicide because she could not handle the criticism at the PTM. Every board examination sees the deaths of young lives because they were unable to handle the pressure.
From the time the little child is put in playschool, he/she begins to understand the meaning of pressure. The mayhem caused by the admission circus every year has added fuel to the fire. A child of three is supposed to know his alphabets, be creative, sing songs, dance, be confident,and talented. Give him a break!!!
A lot depends on how certain situations are handled. A friend was called to meet the school counsellor to 'discuss' her son's disruptive behaviour. Since he happened to pull a girl's pigtail, they assumed that there was 'violence'(read marital ) at home. The result of this meeting was a hurt mother, who tried to bribe and coerce the child into better behavior. A more sensitive approach would have helped in finding out the cause of the problem. Likewise, my 4 year old came home with bite marks one day, a fight the next...a boy,K, had been targeting him. Though worried, i didn't want to take drastic steps like issuing a formal complaint. I met the teacher and together we spoke to K. There were issues bothering him at home, we tried to get it sorted out. I made it a point to talk to him every morning to find out how he was doing and every afternoon the child would look out for me to tell me the news of the day. Full credit to the teacher for defusing a situation which could have got out of control...Here, K's parents were equally concerned which was commendable. Generally the parents go into the 'denial' mode which makes it more difficult.
Some say that today's children have too much too soon...That they don't have tolerance...and maybe a child would say that today's adults have too many expectations from them. `Expectations! Peer pressure! Acceptance! Survival!...Any wonder that the kids are walking a tightrope here... Of course the right mix of tolerance, freedom, confidence and self esteem would create a balance...Easier said than done, but definitely worth trying.