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Who knows what goes on in a child’s mind? Or, in his private world of tears? Questions like these have stumped many a weary parent’s heart. It’s hard to understand another person’s problems, even your own child’s. In fact, it’s tougher to understand your own children because the disinterest with which one can perceive another person’s problems translates into a war waged with emotions here. Today’s children might have a far greater access to information and technology, but they have greater pressures than the previous generation. These translate into ideas of “Success”, “Achievement” and “Happiness” which are inevitably equated with money. Money drives the world and motivates parents. So too do the “Trickle down” effects of such a value system, which impart a sense of achievements based on these. Failure, very often results in parental disapproval or the feeling of non–acceptance in society. Especially in our country, levels of intelligence are almost always equated with success in examinations at the school and college level.

Cramming becomes synonymous with IQ, and overachievers are always applauded. The fact that it does matter is because of the entire system employed by the country. What most parents should be asking is not “How intelligent is my child”, but “In which way he is intelligent!” Emotional aspects of a child’s relationship with his environment, family and peers are almost never taken into consideration. EQ remains the most neglected area, when in fact it is the most important.

Does it really help to have a genius who is totally out of his element when interacting with society? Too much pressure to cram and do well in exams and social situations leads to just that–pressure. When creativity remains buried, boredom soon results in anger. When emotions are not verbalized, they can wreak havoc internally. The mind is a strange tool and at an impressionable age, even more so. Teenage angst isn’t just rebellion. It’s a cry for help–for attention to a problem parents have simply ignored. It’s a feeling of insecurity which can be rather dreadful at that transitory phase between adolescence and adulthood. A heartfelt talk would be ideal. But when the child’s psyche is badly hurt, it might have to go far beyond that. Counseling can help. Still, the best way out is to avoid it altogether. By good old fashioned value systems and loads of unconditional love.