LAHORE – The teachers and parents should adopt a friendly attitude towards children in order to discourage the growing trend of suicides among them, viewed experts – including psychologists, psychiatrists and educationists – while talking to TheNation on the issue in the wake of a recent incident of self-immolation by a sixth grade-student.
Institute of Mental Health Executive Director Nusrat Habib Rana maintained that we normally did not allow our children to vent their anger or express their feelings, though talking to children about their problems helped in their mental and spiritual growth.
“Introvert children, the ones who are not in the habit of openly discussing their problems, should be monitored closely.” She said that the parents these days were under enormous stress because of problems such as inflation and unemployment, as a result of which they treated their children rudely. “Moreover, the parents do not have time to spend on the grooming and training of their children. Because of this attitude, the children feel isolated and their innocent minds may be corrupted,” Dr Rana added.
“A child faces a lot of pressure from all sides, including family and school. The parents generally follow just one model – that of a ‘successful student’ – and also pressurize their child to follow that ideal.
On the other hand, students are not allowed to relax even in schools because the majority of teachers believe in a master-slave relationship with them. “Such things are bound to have a negative impact on the personality of a child. Moreover, nowadays children have access to all means of communication. They may easily be inspired by the news of suicide by other children, resulting in a situation where they may try to harm themselves,” she said.
While criticising the electronic media’s role with regard to the coverage of suicide incidents, she said that TV channels covered the issue in a sensational manner that could be harmful to children.
“Psychologists suggest that such experiences should not be highlighted because they negatively affect the children, but TV channels repeatedly telecast the news of suicide incidents to the detriment of the children,” she added.
Idara Taleem-o-Aaghi Director Bela Raza Jamil said that the teachers did not know how to treat the children, and they ignored their sensitivities and feelings.
On the other hand, she added, parents vented their anger on children, which not only depressed them but also made them rude and angry. Jamil further said that suicide was a reaction of the children to humiliation or punishment by their parents or teachers. “Suicide is a form of protest!” she remarked.
Prof Dr Roohi Bano, a psychologist with University of the Punjab’s Department of Psychology, said that teachers and parents often hurt self-respect of the children.
Dr Bano said that both the teachers and parents humiliated the children resulting in an increased number of psychological diseases among them. “Punishment and reward are ways to train and educate the children, but punishment should not be physical or based on humiliation.