Since the 2022 academic year, Dartmouth College has experienced two student suicides. Diana Lawrence, a spokeswoman for the university, said in a statement that the rising suicide rate among students was linked to an almost eight-year psychological crisis on campus, with nearly a third of college students diagnosed with anxiety disorder.
According to US media coverage, the suicide rate has increased by 4% in 2021, and suicide is the second leading cause of death among people aged 10-34.
According to a report released by the National Center for Statistics of the U.S. Department of Education, the number of school shootings in the 2020-2021 school year reached a 20-year high, with 93 school shootings resulting in casualties . Most of the shooters were teenagers under the age of 25. After hurting family members, classmates and teachers, they either chose to end their lives or were killed by police in a shootout.
As a parent, seeing the loss of a young life is indescribable heartache, followed by a sky full of anxiety and confusion:
Why? Young people, with middle-aged people envy the healthy body and youth, their life is just beginning, there are several possibilities in the future, should be “young and high-spirited” age, why, leaving their parents, in the most tragic way?
In the comments section of the news, one parent left a message: “Children, be strong!”
And immediately after, a young man is back to choke: “In such news, only say to be strong, sad!”
The gap between teenagers and adults can be seen.
Growing pains that every teenager goes through
In the famous German romantic master Goethe’s “Young Werther’s Troubles,” there is a sentence describing the sensitivity of young people: “What I know, anyone can know, but my heart is unique to me.”
Young people have a unique awareness of reality:
· They are taught by their parents and school to understand the world, and these understandings are rational;
· And their inner view of the world, but only the inner sensibility.
Most people know the final outcome of young Werther: he committed suicide because of hopeless love.
A busy adult would scoff: What a fragile teenager!
And Victor himself said: “Everything in the world is boring. A person who has no passion, no need, and only for the sake of others to pursue fame and fortune, this person is a fool.”
Young Werther’s troubles are the troubles that every teenager experiences: the disappointment of reality, the resistance to the set life, growth, aging and death.
However, most of the teenagers, despite the inner struggle and resistance, still walked into the reality; A few chose to resist, to destroy reality and destroy themselves in a more decisive, more thoughtless, and even more cruel way than adults.
As adults, if we take a closer look at the lives of children, it is not difficult to find that their lives are monotonous, even continuously helpless:
Young children are illiterate and must rely on their parents to read stories and explain phenomena to get information about the world.
But parents’ leisure and patience are not always available, so the information and guidance that children receive is often fragmented or biased.
Parents can have various channels to obtain information, maintain various interpersonal relationships for psychological support, and even drink a little wine, play games to temporarily escape from reality; But the reality of children is always the moment with their parents.
Books take me out of the present and into the distance
At school age, children enter a systematic learning system, with fixed peers and mentors (classmates and teachers), and at the same time, they are also burdened with a day-to-day evaluation system.
Twenty years ago, elementary school students can still have time to play after finishing their homework, and today’s elementary school students often do their homework until after 10 pm.
In this monotonous environment- like being caught in an impossible game – teenagers’ identity and dignity are derived fromasingle measure ofwhat parents and teachers agreeon academic performance- and what peers agree onsocial skills.
Once you encounter defeat in these two dimensions, it is easy to feel frustrated and self-doubt and wonder whether you should “get out of the game.”
In retrospect, the first time I had such an idea was when I was a child, at the end of the second semester of my third grade. Even after more than twenty years, my memory has not been blurred by the passage of time.
At that time, the teacher finished correcting the final exam a week in advance, and handed out the exam to the students to correct. That time, I have a score of only 88, not to 90 points, and I know that this result is not very bad, but also my mother can not accept.
“On the day of the holiday, take the test home to the parents to sign.” The teacher said.
It was like a key that opened a dangerous box in my mind:
In the face of my mother’s inquiry, I will say “the final exam results have not yet come out”;
Every day before going to bed, I think, “Which is more painful, the pain of the body or the anger of the mother?” ；
During the break, I would ask the overachievers at the same table: “What kind of death doesn’t hurt?” , very good at drawing, she conveniently took out the draft book, next to the mathematical formula, painted a small rabbit holding flowers into the swamp.
On the last day of the semester, I took the papers home. But at the crossroads of pain, a child once hesitated.
More than 20 years later, I certainly know that being scolded by my mother is not a big deal, and even my mother makes mistakes. Children will not always be children, as I grow up, my world is no longer narrow, my cognitive boundaries unlimited extension, my inner strength enough to protect themselves, and even protect others.
But I will never forget that weak figure. An adult who has experienced growth should not forget and despise the plight of teenagers.
Some time ago, I saw on the short video platform, a little girl in fourth grade was facing the camera, crying and complaining, thinking clearly and expressing abundantly: “Have you ever tried my life? I have finished my homework, can’t I do my own thing? Can’t I live without a little freedom?”
The parent who recorded the video replied: “You have been good recently, you can play for a while.”
Little girl: “I’ve always been good! I do my homework and sleep by myself, do I need you (tell me what to do)?”
Children’s free games, the distribution of free time, in order to gain a sense of control over life, in the era of the national “push baby,” has become a luxury, a parent’s occasional reward.
Violence against violence is the resistance of a few children.
A seedling can flourish,Must get rid of the shadow of the tree
Taiwan writer Long Yingtai said in his essay “Watching Off,” “Parents and children are watching their children travel far and wide.”
This is the growth that teenagers must experience: from ignorance, to grow into a mature adult who knows how to choose, obey the rules, and be proactive. They need to psychologically wean, cut the sense of existence with their parents, and get rid of the “symbiotic” model.
Since the first only child in the 1980s, China has given birth to the “heavy investment model” of child-rearing. The parents of the post-80s and post-90s completely abandoned the extensive parental model of the previous generation and began to cultivate the next generation meticulously.
Today, there are still many middle-aged people who have married and are not young and need to rely on their parents to take care of life:
I once had a colleague who was over 30 years old, finalized the job, settled in the city, ready to find a house, and went to see the house during the day to cope with it; In the evening, the house information, pictures all sent to the mother, let the mother choose;
Another male colleague of the same age, every time they meet a new blind date, they also hand over the other party’s information to their parents for review, and even go out to buy tickets, buy what train number, but also let their parents make a decision first.
They dare not, or do not want to make independent decisions, but in fact, they escape the responsibility brought by the decision, still live with their parents psychologically, and voluntarily accept their parents’ support or protection.
With the development of China’s economy, parents of only children have better economic conditions to continue to protect their children. This unconditional protection by parents, symbiotic relationship with their parents, the birth of a special group – “squatting.”
In order to escape the pressure of making a living, some young people choose to withdraw from social competition, withdraw into the protective shell of the family, and rely on the support of their parents to maintain their lives. They have low desires, few self-driven goals, and rely on socially recognized test public, test editing, and test learning goals in exchange for squatting at home.
From the point of view of academic performance, many squatters are proud of their parents: some of them graduated from 985 colleges and universities, once only 5 points away from Peking University; Some squat at home after a few years, admitted to the prestigious graduate school; Others were admitted to the doctor.
Measured by a single system of evaluation, they have exceeded their parents’ expectations. But they also face a common dilemma: success in school, in the final analysis, is a “rehearsal” of resources in the real society, these perfect “quasi-adults” still have not been able to leave the warm nest built by the family of origin, to obtain economic independence.
Compared to the “violent withdrawal from reality” behavior of suicide, escaping reality at home is a gentle resistance that parents can accept.
These psychologically “half-child” adults, due to the lack of self-worth, as well as the ability to think independently and choose future goals, have been wandering around the door confused; Fortunately, they still have the opportunity to correct themselves, get out of the house, and find their own meaning in life.
Like a seedling, constantly to the direction of the sun out of the branches, vigorous, because it is independent between heaven and earth, not covered by the tree.
The school's public relations nightmare:
We tried, but the accident happened.
As mentioned in the previous article, teenagers are a high risk group for suicide, which makes school a high place for such accidents.
Fortunately, compared to a few decades ago, schools now have psychological awareness and early warning systems to deal with crises.
Many universities began to consciously let each student gain dignity and recognition in the system of evaluation:
Some schools in the teacher’s code encourages “do not name and shame students, test scores strictly confidential to maintain the right to privacy,” and students to carry out one-on-one private conversations,
In the “14th Five-Year Education Plan” of a county in central China, it is mentioned that the county will “allocate a psychological counseling fund of 100 yuan per student, encourage the whole school to conduct psychological screening, and equip psychological counseling rooms.”
Some parents joked, “In the past, only the best students were eligible for the class cadres, and now my son is blessed, and the whole class is taking turns to be the class cadres!”
School leaders understand that avoiding extreme events is key to maintaining the school’s reputation. No school is willing to deal with the endless hassle of an accident.
Setting up psychological guidance rooms and allowing students to take turns on duty cadres are all early warning measures adopted by the school; these measures are careful and costly, but they are more like pouring cold water on an already red kettle-a little cooling effect, but it is not as direct and effective as turning off the fire.
However, few schools are determined to turn down the fire. This fire is a school.
For the school leadership, vicious incidents on campus will only happen sporadically, but the pressure of entering a higher school is fundamental. Therefore, cooling down while burning a fire and dancing with shackles has become a rational strategy for most schools.
In schools with less pressure to enter a higher education, music therapy can also ease students’ anxiety. However, in international schools with high enrollment rate, self-harm and weariness due to psychological problems have become background noise that is not noticed by people under the high enrollment rate.
In the East Asian cultural circle with a history of selecting the best, it is an instinct inherited for thousands of years to strive for further studies, such as the whirl of carp, and squeeze through the narrow gate among thousands of people.
University entrance examination, postgraduate entrance examination, public entrance examination, educational examination, and career examination are collectively referred to as “disembarkation” in the mouth of students, and it seems that disembarkation is the end of happiness.
However, the examination of today’s society, and hundreds of years ago, the official has been different – today’s examination, can not let the poor become powerful, can not let the wandering people become firm, let the weak people become strong.
The so-called exam “ashore,” compared with the real workplace and life challenges, all experienced adults know, like the difference between driving a rocking car and driving on the road.
After all, we all need to grow up and get out of the juvenile state and into the adult world.
The philosopher Immanuel Kant, referring to the adult model, said: “Growth is more about courage than knowledge.”
We need to have the courage to discern the fog of the real world, to rationally judge that reality is often not what we want it to be, and ultimately to use all of our knowledge, skills, thinking, and patience to become a married adult and a social person who drives the functioning of society.
And when we face our own children, don’t forget that we were once young teenagers, and every struggle and question in the growth process is worthy of serious treatment by all adults.