Monday, December 6

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Psychological Impact of Pressure from Older Generations

We explore the impact on young kids and adults when dealing with life, making choices, and the effect of pressure from parents and elders. The article also discusses how tradition, society, and elders’ life experience doesn’t always help where we are now. Spoken from the mind of a confused adult, who continues to deal with the effects of many fundamental childhood decisions and unlearning them.

CHANGE IS THE ONLY CONSTANT.

All parents should accept this too.

I come from a family that’s way better off than most, not financially, but in their thinking. You could say they’re modern in a sense, attempting to learn the ways of a changing world. However, while many families struggle to get past a lot of ‘values’ and ‘principles’ they were taught, they have an unintentional damaging impact on younger generations. I am going to talk about this based on my personal experiences, as well as some experiences that friends have had since school, growing up, and even in college. If you’ve lived in India, it can be quite annoying growing up, but a lot of the problems listed here are common the world over. 

If you’re a parent reading this, thank you. I respect the time you’ve taken to understand, try to cope with the ever-changing lifestyle that teens and young adults have to live. While adult life comes with experience, a whole lot of ‘I’ve lived longer than you’, ‘I gave birth to you’ and more exemplary realizations we’d never have figured out on our own (lol), everyone’s experiences and situations are based on their own individual experience. The social setting a child grows up in, is one of the most important factors contributing to their health and general well-being, even as they transition to adulthood. No two people’s paths today are identical to anyone else’s, unless someone in power makes it so.

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Knowledge has always been considered powerful, but to what extent? How do you verify everything you’ve known and done will yield positive results for another person who isn’t yourself? I guess you wonder why things often escalate into a fight? Here’s some reasons why, and their long-term effects. 

P.S – I love my parents, all those who decide to give birth, to adopt, to work at orphanages, or pay child support to take care of young ones. This is just to give you perspective on how children feel growing up, and some aspects of their behaviour that are moulded by adult implications or logic, their thoughts and actions. I have spoken to individuals from ages 17 to 35, a perfect sample audience to learn more about how different generations feel. 

Helicopter Parents and The Forces of Control

They say, where there’s control, there’s black market. 

Overprotection leads to insecurity, lack of independence, an innate hatred for always having to listen to your parents and older siblings. Constantly telling a child what to do takes away from their decision-making abilities too. They become dependent on their parents and others to wake up in the morning, make big choices, and so on. 

Feeling guilt is another common quality I’ve noticed. I was a stressed kid because even though I consistently got above 90% marks until fifth grade, my mom would still tell me it wasn’t good enough because literally one or two kids in all divisions got more than me. 

It also happens when parents keep harping on everything they’ve done for their kids. Kids tend to feel burdened and also indebted to parents in an unhealthy way. I’ve seen friends get married according to their parents’ decisions only because they were reminded by their parents that they were given education and a place to live for so many years. This isn’t a barter deal. Parents make the decision to have children, so their decisions lead to the inevitable responsibility they have to take moving forward. Family is never a choice by the child! xD 

The Best Educational Qualification

Forcing kids to think what’s best for them could lead to conflict. No, children don’t always know where their lives are going to take them. As a matter of fact, you don’t know that either. They could take the path of education you pave out for them, and may end up flunking or dropping out because it doesn’t interest them. It could be anything. We need to put the days of coaxing our kids into what we want them to be, and try to get what they want to be. 

Forcing education is keeping a child in a perpetual state of not knowing what they really want, or being stressed about doing everything right out of fear. Things done out of love are of much more value than out of fear. The results yielded from actually enjoying what you do are much higher and different as opposed to a job you are forced into. 

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Equality in the Household

Many generations of patriarchy later, I must say I don’t need to stress on this point too much, but it’s a reminder to everyone who left their brains in the dryer! Your kids are looking at an equal, inclusive world out there full of so much more than just gender equality. 

Gender bias at home

No one is inferior or superior. The world is also well-aware beyond the general classification of men and women. So it’s important for parents to stay on top of it all. These stupid customs at home where men are made to feel more important, and menstruating women have to dine separately, should rightfully be placed in the backseat. Parents observe defiance, and kids keeping secrets from them, going out of their way to experience sex because of the great gender division and power dynamics between genders. 

Control of personal identity

Children are pushed further into the corner when their personal identity may be a conflicting issue at home. To come out to parents is still one of the most difficult things a person has to do. We’ve seen it most commonly with people who identify as homosexual. Even gender dysphoria is as real as it is. Knowing you are non-binary, or not within the confines of what your physicality defines, is also a confusion many children are left to deal with alone. Besides dealing with it, they have to face the consequences of being themselves, because of the acceptance of society at large. In India, it’s a little worse when you are from a lower strata of society. You are ill-treated, disrespected, and left out. THESE ARE NOT MENTAL ISSUES. They need to stop being treated that way. 

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Growing up with anxiety, and other psychological conditions 

It’s tough to explain to someone who is above 60, that there’s something called ‘mental health’ and that people suffer from issues/conditions related to it. If we all didn’t accept ‘motive’ to be one of the reasons behind serial killers earlier in the last century, we’d still have AIMLESS crimes all over the city. 

Going to a psychologist, for an Indian family back in 2010, was scary. It was about what society would think about my genes (madness runs in the family), how they think my family treats me, and how I’m going to get married in future. My friends didn’t deal with these issues the same way though. Everyone doesn’t figure out there’s something wrong. They are bound to their parents at a young age, so any outrageous behavior from parents is part of family life. Anxiety comes in all shapes and forms. Repeated stress based on certain repeated triggers leads to an anxious state of mind. The result of this ticking tension keeps you nervous, scared to have an open conversation because you feel intimidated. Sometimes it makes you super worried when you wake up in the morning, and certain tasks become even more difficult to complete. 

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

To give you an example, work used to stress the f**k out of me to a point where I’d wake up sobbing in the mornings, I couldn’t eat properly, I got PCOS, and so much more. I had too much on my plate, and I’d feel scared to ask for help because I was taught to keep working till I’m done. My head failed to identify breaks, or the toxicity in my work life. Alcohol helped me avoid facing what was going on just so I could feel ‘relaxed’ for a few moments. I eventually lost the job to that as well. My misunderstandings piled up and it seemed like I was just a fool after some time, who couldn’t be believed or fully trusted. My behavior, when looked at from the outside, just seemed like I was slacking, and I was not applying myself completely. I don’t even want to get into the financial situation, and the heartbreaks that happened in between! 

This is not a cry for help, and I’m not asking anyone to feel sorry for me. I learned a lot from that. But I know how many people relate, and my story is not unique. It’s about giving this issue a real face. The point being, sometimes, all it takes for adults dealing with younger people is understanding how they’re feeling and why. What is their opinion about things? What is their mental and physical capacity? Why do they make mistakes? They’re all simple answers if you apply them to the context of your situation. Have more conversations. While the younger ones learn how they can take control of things themselves, they do make mistakes, and they learn from them. That’s, pretty much the purpose of existence! You cannot expect your kid to look ‘in shape’ or whatever the hell that is, like you. They will wear the clothes they like. They don’t look like your opinion of them. 🙂

I don’t think it’s my place to explain problems that are heavier than this, like PTSD, but I’ve had a friend suffer the brunt of this. Abusive homes and school environments have led to some long-term drastic effects on her psyche. Repetitive images and dreams of torture started disturbing everyday life. The problem with facing this at an early age is, if not treated, the effects of these problems later on can be quite destructive. The way our emotions and conditions change our body is crazy. You wouldn’t believe how much your body’s chemistry is affected, like chronic stress leading to diabetes and hypertension. Let’s not shun, and at all times understand how certain conditions develop, or refrain from their development. Here’s a video that helps explain how anxiety, one of the most common problem people face, changes the way chemistry works in the body, and even leads to physical problems.

 

To conclude simply, 

Let’s be more attentive to the world around us as much as we want to be there for young ones. 

Listen and discuss over arguing and asserting. 

Let everyone make their own mistakes to learn from. You don’t need to save anyone the trouble. 

Find middle ground instead of stressing yourself out. There’s always a way, and you’re mature enough to know that. 

 

You may also read: 

A Comprehensive List of Affordable Mental Health Resources in India

COVID-19 Increases Mental Health Problems in India

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Written By

A singer, rapper and musician from Mumbai, India and host at Ticket Fairy (India), I've worked in the music business for over 7 years now, specialising in music marketing, public relations, social media, event management, hospitality and stage management.

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