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Not kidding

Reality shows, talent competitions, academics - the pressure to perform is taking its toll on children. Himadree tells us why.

india Updated: Aug 12, 2008 18:11 IST
Himadree

Forget childhood’s carefree days, in Delhi, kids as young as 10 are having breakdowns. Dr Chandan Gupta of Centre for Emotional Betterment, receives numerous such cases every week. He gives the example of an Class XI student who went through four months of depression, and lost a year at school because of parental pressure.

“He scored 90+ in most subjects but got 85 in English and 73 in German. His father, a well-known media person said ‘My son has put me to shame’. And the mother, echoed the same thought,” says Dr Gupta. <b1>

The boy agreed to rejoin school after months of counselling, but only on the condition that in his free time he would watch TV, play videogames and academically would try to score 60 per cent.

Another patient of Dr Gupta’s is a 13-year-old girl whose need for instant fame had her father hotfooting it to the clinic. “She asked her father ‘Dad, what have you achieved in life? Does a junta of one crore know you? What’s your fan

following? If you haven’t achieved this, you’re nobody’,” recalls Dr Gupta.

Anita Sharma, a mother of two, is still shocked weeks after her 11-year-old daughter demanded Rs 1,000 as pocket money every alternate day. But Anita realises this could be because she pushed her daughter while “grooming her for the talent shows”. The outcome? “She went into isolation, and even threatened to leave home if I made her attend grooming classes instead of allowing her to play. Currently she is under treatment as she has become aggressive and stopped going to school,” she says.

Psychiatrist Dr Nikhil Raheja from National Institute of Psychiatry, deals with at least 10 to 15 such cases every week. He warns that “if the effects of such pressure are not countered soon enough they first lead to depression and later, to anti-social behaviour.”