As of late, I have been part of conversations about parenting. Parents having trouble deciding the best place for their teenagers to get an education. Whilst listening, I couldn’t help but have an opinion even though I have no children. These parents are so caught up in sending their kids to the best school, it makes me think their children feel so pressured. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people ages 10 – 24. One of the main factors for suicide being bullying. But I feel bullying in this context isn’t something that just comes from your classmates, I believe it also comes from these parents who want to focus on making their child the best.
There are many reasons to suffer from depression. Medications, genetics, major events, abuse, and bullying. I want to get a bit more into the bullying. Half of suicides of teenagers are related to bullying. When we think of bullying, we immediately think of the big muscle cool guys picking on the nerdy kid with glasses. Or the fully developed blonde cheerleader making fun of the ugly fat girl. But what about bullying from home? The definition of “bully” taken from the dictionary is to:
“use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants.”
So anyone with power can bully you. And who has the most power in a teenagers life than their parents. Going back to what influenced me to write this, parents are so concerned about sending their kids to top schools. They want their kids to go to these top schools in order to be the best. Regardless of what the teenager wants, your parent is your authority figure, so you must obey. Now, these are top performing high schools we are talking about, not colleges. Private high schools to be exact. So parents are feeding money into the school to get a seat for their child. Now you are surrounded by other people who could be in the same situation as you. All of you are completing to be the best student, to get the best grades, and get into the best colleges.
What do you think happens if one of these students comes home with a mediocre grade? Your parent is paying tons of money to give you this seat, and you are not performing the way they want you to. You come back and feel like a failure, you want your parents to be proud of you, and you start to believe these colleges will not accept you. These are more than enough reasons to begin suffering from depression. One of the parents I was talking to about her child, told me her kid is under medication in order to better concentrate in school. And this isn’t for his benefit in the end, it is for hers. She wants her child to be the best, but for no real reason in all honesty. Her idea of what the best is is so linear, that it made me empathize with her child. And it just made me think about the rest of kids in America who are under this pressure to be an idea of parental perfection. Which again, causes depression, and then could lead to possible suicide.
What I wanted to tell the parents talking about their kids going to the best schools, is “why”? Why do you want your child to do these things you feel is the best route for their lives? While teenagers should be disciplined, shouldn’t they get some say in the type of education that they want? Best schools and best colleges DO NOT lead to the best outcome. So why so we keep putting this illusion into our youth? Many students are graduating from schools like UC Berkeley or Stanford, and have jobs being waiters and baristas. Going back, the statistics for suicide rates was up to age 24, and at around which age do people usually graduate college? Early 20s. College and high school are such tiny instances in our lives. Why pressure these kids to try so hard to go to these schools? The child are not even doing research on the professors or the curriculum that they want and care more about the name of the university. So in the end, they are not actually finding things that interest them, but rather just getting the school name on their degree.
I’m not a parent. I don’t know how hard it is to raise a child and want what is best for them. But sometimes what is best for them, isn’t what you want for them. Stop bullying your child into being your idea of what is perfect. Instead help them explore different possibilities and outcomes in the world, rather than convincing them the only way to be happy is to be best of the best.
Suicide Rate Information