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Dreams Or Depression: What Are Your Children Inheriting?

Posted: May 27, 2014

Parents pass on their dreams and expectations to their children, not realizing the toll it takes on them – stress, health issues, and even depression. What are your children inheriting?

Someone I know is battling depression.

Because of her MBBS examinations. She has no interest in the study of the human body. Why, she even pukes at the sight of blood. But, she had to take up MBBS after her 12th in spite of scoring a free seat in Engineering. It was her father’s dream to become a doctor but he couldn’t fulfill it. So he had pinned all his hopes on his daughter who is now frequenting doctors to get over her frustrations.

Ambitions are personal to everyone and they change with time. Expecting your children to achieve your ambition is like asking them to look for a treasure that you missed out on. Parents might think that they are doing the right thing by instilling high goals in their children. But the burden of turning the dream into a reality, for the sake of their parents, takes a big toll on them. Parents never confront their own failures; instead they hope that their child shall achieve success for them.

Every parent loves their child. Every parent wants to see their child rise above the rest. But that doesn’t mean that they vicariously live their dreams through their child. Especially, when the interests of the child lie elsewhere. The child is pressurized into something he/she doesn’t want to do and does poorly in them. This upsets the parents and they punish the child more, without actually realizing who is at fault here.

Expecting your children to achieve your ambition is like asking them to look for a treasure that you missed out on.

Some parents fail to see their children as separate individuals with hopes and dreams of their own. These parents push their dead dreams on them and expect pride and fulfillment in return. Some parents get their dreams fulfilled, others are left disappointed. Children desperately try to develop an interest in their parent’s dream just to please them. And to feel wanted. The children who fail to live their parent’s dream take extreme measures to escape the rejection. The same parents sit and mope later.

This issue is very insidious and more often than not, parents do not realize what they are doing. This places undue pressure on the growing minds of children which later leads to anger, frustration, mental illness, and depression. All this, just because the parent chose to live in denial.

Understand your children. Understand their dreams, and help them live it. Your child achieving something that you couldn’t is not a consolation. It means that a valid dream is buried while they were busy building yours. They may or may not curse you later. But deep within themselves, there remains anger and frustration. Which they will pass on to their children.

Pic Credit: Harold Groven (Used under a CC license)

A bibliophile with a quest for writing, I'm a techie by day. An eternal

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  1. This is one thing that is continuing for generations and we don’t seem to learn at all from the slew of suicides the kids commit after every board/competitive exams. A valid post.

    • I agree Janaki. We haven’t learnt anything at all. It is a very sad thing happening only in India mostly. In the west, even plumbing is a respectable job. Here, unless you are an engineer or a doctor, you are nothing at all. Just hoping sense will prevail sometime.

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