There have been a growing number of suicides committed by teenagers in the last four months in Dubai. The devastating occurrences raise several questions: Are parents pressuring their children too much? Is academic competition taking a toll on them? Or, is today’s generation too brittle to face reality? Many youth are raised in comfortable environments and have little to work for: should this be a valid reason for them to give up on their lives when the going gets rough?
Stress management is a burning issue in today’s fast-paced society among adults, but let us not forget the excessive stress placed on teens to succeed in every respect. Mental resilience in managing with stress and social pressures varies from one person to another. Some teenagers can handle even the toughest situation, but there are also many others who struggle trying to keep it together. Youth are even more at risk because their understanding of life has still not matured. Furthermore, adolescents can arguably be more impulsive than the average adult and if they do not deal with underlying mental health issues like depression or anxiety and are left to deal with problems on their own. Sometimes even a minuscule trigger can drive them over the edge.
Increasing social expectations in a highly competitive environment is a likely cause of stress to teens in peril. Many teenagers have to get through schoolwork and extra-curricular activities such as music, sports and art in addition and excel at each activity.
How do can adults help equip teenagers with the means to deal with the increasingly stressful situations of this day and age?
Here are a few suggestions:
1. Communicate. Parents, guardians and teachers should always communicate on a regular basis with adolescents so that they can easily solve the matter without any harm.
2. Parents, if your child wants to be a professional YouTuber, let him or her. She might be the next Rebecca Black [Goodness]. Regardless, parents need to be far more open-minded as far as education is concerned. Engineers roam the streets with stressful jobs and not much to show for it — would you rather they become successful on your terms or be happy on theirs?
3. Mandatory stress management courses in schools. Schools teach us everything — math, science, politics, but do they teach us how to work with anger? How to stay calm in the face of overwhelming expectations? Because these are the life skills we require in order living happy lives. Knowing who the last 14 presidents are won’t help us deal with our day-to-day lives.
4. Allow them to indulge in activities that bring true joy — their dearest hobbies — art, sports, anything they are passionate about.
5. And meditate.
Year 13 student at Wellington International School