Just yesterday, there was this very sad case of an 11-year-old school girl committing suicide in Bangalore. It so happened that she used to write her feelings in a diary, which she hid in her cupboard. Her mother happened to read it. She had written about her special friendship to a boy in that diary. Her mother, very upset, then confronted her and worse went to her school the next day and spoke with her class teacher during the school hours. The girl all the time pleaded with her mother to let it go, but her mother brushed her aside. She also demanded to speak to the Principal who being busy could not meet her that day. The girl had scribbled a note to the boy in the class that day saying that her mother had read what she wrote, and the boy was petrified that now everyone would know.
The girl went home dejected and scared and committed suicide. Maybe she feared how the Principal would react or how she would face the taunts in her own class. No one knows. It is such a sad loss of life. Obviously, the parents would not in their wildest dreams have imagined that this would have such an extreme outcome. I felt so sad that the parent decided to go out and do this exercise publicly. Could she have not taken up the matter with the Class Teacher and Principal in private. Don’t we say that praise in public and punish behind closed doors. The aim of any censure is to reform not to humiliate. An 11-year-old child is not a baby and should not be treated like one. Why can’t we as parents talk to our children? Is there something that we cannot resolve by talking?
Why must some parents cultivate an overpowering fear in their children, and we constantly read about massive pressure on kids to perform. It is not uncommon to read about children committing suicide when they fail or score low marks to escape their parents’ ire. Is there a deeper problem of trust and communication among parents and kids? There might be. But, it is an eye opener for all parents to tread cautiously when it comes to the tender feelings of kids!
PS: Pic courtesy Louisa Stokes