- Mental Health
Mental Stress & Nervous Breakdown of Children: A General Phenomenon
Scenario 1. Munia is a student of Class 1 in a reputed school in Dhaka. She comes from school at 2, takes a bath, finishes her lunch then her mother sits with her to complete her home works. Her music teacher comes at 5 and she learns music for more than an hour. She watches TV for sometimes then has her dinner. After that her mother sits with her again and she finishes her remaining home tasks. She studies bangla, english, maths, social science totaling 11-12 subjects. She wakes up at 6 and goes to school. She doesn’t have any time to play or to take rest. She is 5 years old.
Scenario 2. Abir is going to take part in the admission test of a reputed school of Dhaka in Class 1, but he is so nervous and scared standing in the middle of thousands of people around him, and he doesn’t know where he has to go inside the building and what is going to happen next, he is crying continuously. His parents are trying to make him stop crying but what they don’t realize is that its not so easy for a 4 year old.
Scenario 3. There are some patients waiting inside National Institute of Mental Health, Sher-e-Bangla Nagar, Dhaka. Amena Begum is waiting there with her 12 year old son Tuhin. "He stood 1st in class 1, 2, 3, 4 consecutively, but he stood 2nd in class 5 and then his not doing well as usual, and he is getting mentally weak day by day and vomits when he feels pressure, doctor said that there are some problems in his brain after examining city scan report." “I used to give him lots of pressure for his study and I never thought this would happen" she says.
Scenario 4. Abdullah is reading at primary level of a school, his teachers beat him almost everyday, and he is so scared of school, it's a nightmare for him, every time he comes out of the school gate, he wishes he would never come back here again.
All those scenarios are very common for the children living in Dhaka and other important cities in Bangladesh, the overall situation is so severe, it has become a general phenomenon of the city culture. Not only in Bangladesh but around the world children face pressure, threat, physical and mental torture from parents and teachers. In Bangladesh having more than 160 million people with few good schools in cities, chance of getting a free fearless childhood has become more and more tough. There is no space for playing, families are living in high rise apartments and children are living there a prison life.
Traditionally Bangali parents are fascinated with better and higher education and when a child is born the parents think he or she will be either an engineer or a doctor. Guardians are always tensed and worried about the future of their kids and they are desperate for their bright career. When their kids become 4 or 5 they desperately search for good schools. It’s a very common scene in the streets of Dhaka kids going with a school bag bigger than his size and full of books and exercise books, sometimes it’s so heavy that they can’t carry it so their moms or dads carry the bag. Parents generally perceive that schools having huge syllabus and lots of text books included are good for kids. kids are overloaded with books and exams, they don’t get any time for play or doing childish things, they are supposed to act like grown up people. The purpose of the initiation of kindergarten education was to create an environment where kids will learn through playing. But here kindergarten schools are just making education difficult for kids and they hardly follow the principles.
Unfortunately, quality education in Bangladesh is still an opportunity, not a basic human right, it’s more apparent for higher education; a good number of students are not getting chance for higher education in the good or even average quality universities. And kids from their childhood are hurdling to become one of those few lucky people. the formal learning process of a child starts from age 4 or 5 and when a kid enters the school compound, its the duty of the school to give him inputs, but in Bangladesh children around the country arrives at admission test "war" in different schools at the very entry level of education, they had to know lots of things about many things to get chance for a seat, the less they know the less is the chance of getting admitted, so their parents and admission coaching centres teach them almost everything which even a graduate doesn’t know . All these happen before they enter their formal education life. In America and Europe it’s unthinkable. If a kid knows everything before he goes to school, then what school would teach him, but here schools don’t care about anything. It’s again a chance to get education among millions of people in Bangladesh.
We talked about the overall situation so far, and their effects are huge. Children who live in such kind of environment get more and more stressed and mental growth is hampered immensely. According to the psychologists, in this educational system children may show some prompt charisma in short run but in the long run their creative ability decreases. Children lose confidence on themselves soon and suicidal tendency increases. Sometimes it creates so much pressure which causes nervous breakdown and results in permanent neural damage inside the brain.
At the end, its my earnest request to the parents, please don’t impose your dreams upon your children, don't be so rude to your kids, give them some space, give them back their childhood, let them be childish, let them make their own dreams, try to give some meaning to their life, so that they can grow up like a human.