Changing social patterns and lifestyles are causing turbulent times for the younger generation. Teenagers today are under tremendous pressure leading to psychological, psychiatric disorders and even deviant behaviour. Dr Nirmala Rao, psychiatrist and life coach at The Aavishkar Centre for Self Enrichment, says that teenagers come to her for behaviour and psychiatric problems that arise due to peer pressure related to gadgets, dressing, studies and what stream of education they should take up. Substance abuse in the form of addictions has increased in college-going students because of peer pressure, boredom, inability to perform, etc. Besides depression, other major problems include inability to cope with opposite gender attractions, uncertainty over future, parental pressure, etc.
Topping the list of teen problems is education. Parents often force their children to take streams that they are not interested in because of family prestige. According to Dr Rao, students take up courses due to parental pressures, lack of knowledge about different subjects and many are unable to complete them causing distress to themselves and to their families. The centre does psychometric assessments to understand their personality patterns, their capabilities, talks to them and to their parents before deciding on the course of action. Shaikh Misbah Rafik, a student, says, “Parents forcing children to top the class leads to depression among youth and they feel that committing suicide is easier than facing the competition. If one survives this torture then the second biggest problem is unemployment. Freshers with no experience have problems finding good jobs according to their qualification and satisfaction.”
Youth often do not know what stream to specialize in and what career to opt for. Gawali Ganesh Vinayak, assistant counsellor, feels teens experience lack of delineation leading to confusion regarding their goals in life. Traditional choices still pervade the mindset among students and their parents. This causes confusion in goal-setting which ultimately leads to frustration. Students must understand their talents and look for various opportunities that are available today.
Our concept of education should be broadened. Much of the pressure to get into the colleges and streams of choice is due to lack of awareness and availability of options in a variety of subjects. Rushad Framroz Ghaswala, marketing executive, Edwise International, would like to see some important changes in the education field. “Since I am working with an overseas education consultancy, I believe that international exposure for a student to gain knowledge about a plethora of courses from a variety of universities should be made possible. The orthodox belief of choosing a field like arts, science, commerce, engineering, etc. is outdated. There is an inflow of various short/long courses in different fields which should be introduced in colleges, to provide better and varied opportunities to students. Students should be given the knowledge of the world and possibilities abroad. Good education is a right for all.”