The Denial of an Omnipresent Urgency

Deteriorating Psychological Health of Indian Children

India population consists of 472 million children who are below 18 years of age. This represents 39% of the country’s total population, 29% of this statistics constitutes children between 0 to 6 years of age.[1] In the recent past we have witnessed event like suicidal spree through blue whale game[2], plethora of children being physically [3]and sexually abused by their own relatives behind their own wall of their secured home[4], instances of teachers crossing their limit of socially embarrassing their students[5] and rising rate of minors’ rape[6] and similar crimes committed by juveniles along with multiple other instances which leads to a child cocooning themselves in their bubble of insecurity, depression, anxiety and fear. With due time this leads to undesirable consequences to the victim children and the people around them. Hence, coercing the author to ask the society, why are they denying their role in the psychological maltreatment of their own children?


The Ministry of Women and Child Development, in 2007 conducted a study on Child Abuse which brought into notice some harrowing report. In the report, 69% of children accepted experiencing physical abuse, 53% to sexual abuse and 48% to emotional[7].Paralleled view is that the WHO in 2017 has declared 5.8% of Indian children depressed.[8] In spite the institution of family and society still believes that their support is the only need for their wards mental health. Leading to a poor infrastructure required for maintaining a child’s psychological health in their family as well as the society they interact with be it school, playground etc.


Even today there is no standard definition of Psychological maltreatment of children. This has created a void which eclipses the crucial point that a child’s health is directly proportional to the environment he/she is exposed to. Our society has trivialized and blurred the difference between care and emotional abuse and traumas that, socialization problem, solitary lifestyle, attachment disorder in a child are commonly believed as being raised in a disciplined environment. It is these hidden insecurities, social detachment, coercive moral development by the society inclusive of parents have yielded an emotionally volatile anti social element.


It’s a well known fact that our society has stereotyped mental illness with insanity and ignored the broad definition for safe guarding a fall sense of maintaining social reputation. After all who wants to accept an “insane child”. This over reliance on the flawed definition of mental health as well as stereotyping the gender roles has traumatized the young generation from expressing their own concern because of the fear of consequences. Hence, giving rise to potential delinquents. The same was observed in the infamous Delhi rape case, where it was the minor who committed the bone chilling heinous actions in cold blood with their victim[9]. Still in our society we believe a child attains maturity with age but not primarily by a child’s psychological pre-requisite. In authors opinion the society has accepted that a child will grow into a better person, but what if they don’t?


In spite of multiple outcries for the need of better institutional counselors in schools and colleges, the parental entitlement over a child’s concern has flawed the concept of privacy necessary for a productive counseling session. Thus, taking away the trust of an already insecured kid. Why a person becomes as to what he is now or what he does are actually small events since childhood which eventually leads to be a part of one’s personality and behavior. This include parental fights, substance abuse by care givers, societal and parental aspirations etc. All of the aforementioned combined together creates a rift between a child and the society including their parents and finally creating a masterpiece “from a traumatized child”.


The most effective way of overcoming emotional abuse is psychotherapy, where child psychologists try to assist both the parents as well as the child in order to overcome emotional trauma. Inclusively there is a need to change the mindset of the Indian parents and society over the entitlement on their child’s life, which gives a limited scope to the child to express their discomfort. The parents need to know their involvement blurs out the therapeutic boundaries and issues related to confidentiality. Unlike, in foreign countries they’ve proper laws of Physician–patient privilege unlike India.


In author’s opinion, in order to get over latent nature of our society we need to spread awareness as well as the concept of one’s personal space among the people. Educational institutions shall have proper provisions for psychotherapy maintaining proper confidentiality between the child’s personal information and the teachers and parents. On the other hand proper awareness about psychological maltreatment of children will help in saving the downward trajectory of mental health in India. Recently, an advertisement by Star Plus on “Men Don’t Cry”[10] highlights how our society has created stringent gender roles even connected them with our emotions not depriving their child the right to vent their feelings. No illness, no disease, no emotion is gender biased, no is weak enough to push themselves to die, it is us who have pushed them to the neck of the woods compelling them to do what they’re doing. Thus, being more sensitive and open to your child where we try to understand their reasoning make them understand ours is the only way to growth.


Footnotes

[1] Realizing Children’s Rights in India,Humanium(November 10,2019,12:20)

https://www.humanium.org/en/india/

[2]Gemma Mullin ,CHILLING CHALLENGE What is the Blue Whale suicide game and how many deaths are linked to the challenge?,The Sun, (November 10,2019,11:20)

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/worldnews/3003805/blue-whale-suicide-game-challenge-deaths-uk/

[3] Karnataka: Father attacks his own daughter with hammer,TIMES NOW(November 10,2019,1:20)

https://www.timesnownews.com/videos/times-now/india/karnataka-father-attacks-his-own-daughter-with-hammer/45378

[4] What will it take to end child sexual abuse in India?,Open Democracy(November 10,2019,2:20)

https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/5050/ending-child-sexual-abuse-india/

[5] UP School Teacher Beats 8-year-old Student to Death; Booked,NEWS18(November 10,2019,3:20)

https://www.news18.com/news/india/up-school-teacher-beats-8-year-old-student-to-death-booked-1915159.html

[6] Is India Doing Enough To Tackle The Rising Number Of Child Rapes?,Youth Ki Awaz(November 10,2019,12:02)

https://www.youthkiawaaz.com/2019/07/every-5-minutes-a-rape-incident-was-registered/

[7] Study on Child abuse: India 2007, Save the children(November 20, 2019,1:17 PM)

https://resourcecentre.savethechildren.net/library/study-child-abuse-india-2007

[8] One in four Indian children in 13-15 age group suffers from depression: WHO, Business Standard(November 17,2019,12:36 PM)

https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/one-in-four-indian-children-in-13-15-age-group-suffers-from-depression-who-117040601158_1.html

[9] Mukesh & Anr vs State For Nct Of Delhi & Ors

[10]Akshata Shetty, Madhuri Dixit joins hands with #VogueEmpower in short film ‘Boys don’t cry’, India.com(November 20, 2019)

https://www.india.com/buzz/madhuri-dixit-joins-hands-with-vogueempower-in-short-film-boys-dont-cry-180102/


Submitted by,

Dipanita Roy,

Year II, B.L.S. LL.B. (Hons.),

SVKM’s Pravin Gandhi College of Law.


(Image used for representational purpose only. Image Courtesy: https://www.parentingni.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/shutterstock_41378218.jpg )


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