The recent events of youngsters reacting extremely negatively to anger seems appaling. A 15-year-old girl from Bengaluru resented her father for objecting to her relationship with her boyfriend and for curbing her from using her phone and social media. She conspired with her boyfriend against her father and managed to murder him. In another recent event, a young lad drowned his BMW which was a birthday gift from his parents, simply because he wanted a Jaguar instead.
We speak to experts to understand the motivation for such malicious behaviour.
Psychologist Sharanya Jithin opines, “Instant gratification could be a major cause. The influence of social media and the constant need to stay relevant and to fit in increases the need to get everything at once. When there is a delay in gratification, youngsters do not have a mechanism to cope with failure. Take for instance, education. It has become so competitive that it’s considered alright to win at the cost of anything and parents foster this environment.”
Explaining about how can parents deal with this, she suggests, “Parents need to learn how to adopt reinforcements and punishments right from when their kids are three years old. They need to delay gratification and pair this with instilling values and reinforcing good behaviour with rewards. It’s also important for parents to keep a tab on what kids do. Also, a very important lesson that money is not the end goal of life should be explained to their kids. It’s important to practise kindness and compassion.”
Vijaya Lakshmi, mum to two daughters and an employee at an NGO, observes, “Both the parents and kids are to be blamed for these acts. A child’s ability to retaliate to an incident in the appropriate manner must be taught from a young age. The approach to a problem must be rational and respectful and this is lacking in youngsters today. With the growing economy there is a need for both parents to work and hence parenting takes a back seat. Just spending some time with kids is very essential to raise them right.”
Class 12 student Divya Shree blames peer pressure. She says, “We are bullied if we’re not on top of gadgets and fashion. We don’t know where to let out the frustration and parents become the victims. However, these cases you mention are severe and such people need professional help.”
Sociologist Dr Sangeetha Amarnath believes that the education system must be tweaked. She says, “The fact is that teenagers are unaware of what the society needs. Since children spend more time in schools than at home, the education system must include emotional intelligence and help in imbibing a mechanism to evaluate others feelings and emotions. It’s not all about marks and grades, the focus must shift towards helping parents in raising their children right. While a few youngsters retaliate to anger with self-harm, others express it in aggression. In the case of the young girl, her father’s objection to her love affair only triggered the action; she has clearly been suppressing the emotions and bottling them up for a while. A better value system set by both schools and parents will help curb such incidents in the future.”