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Without a doubt, engineers and doctors are prestigious jobs that surely reel in bulky salaries, which to some extent would justify parents’ need for their kids to slave over such careers. However, does it give parents the right to put a high-paying career above their children’s mental health?

Children often feel pressurized into a career chosen by their parents and they do not refuse in fear of disappointing their parents. When living with extended families, there seems to have established traditions that children are bound to follow whether they like it or not. Many grandchildren do not wish to disappoint their parents and grandparents therefore sacrificing their happiness and compromising for their family. Furthermore in competitive households, if one child diverges from the family’s mindset and wish to pursue an artistic or humanities career; they are looked down upon. This tend to put pressure on the other side of the family to continuously force their children to pursue a STEM job for bragging value and to boost the parent’s own pride. Moreover, parents strive to obtain peace of mind and satisfaction of being good parents by securing a good, high-paying job for their kids. They believe that these jobs will cause less financial struggles in their children’s lives.

Although many parents and the older generation would argue that job security and a six-digit salary are extremely important in order not to experience poverty, the universe cannot guarantee that for a lifetime. I believe the COVID-19 virus in the past year of 2020 has taught us that nothing we have is guaranteed to remain forever and that keeping your body healthy mentally is the key to survival and saneness. It is important to note that the Annual Employ-ability survey done in India in 2019 showed about 80% of engineers in India do not possess the necessary tech skills thus being unable to secure a good job in their studied field; this is mainly due to the world’s modernization and the frequent use of new generation technology[1] .This further proves how STEM jobs are not necessarily as secure as parents think.

Additionally, the British Academy released a report which proved that humanities and social sciences graduates find jobs more easily than STEM graduates during economic crises as they possess flexible skills which enable them to work through different jobs and tasks [2]. STEM graduates on the other hand tend to have specific skills related to their field therefore making it difficult to secure a high salary job during economic downfalls when STEM jobs are unavailable and limited.

In a general point of view, we agree that parents are not wrong for wanting the best for their kids. Nonetheless, happiness does not necessarily come from financial stability. The academic and achievement stress of the fast-growing economy around the world tend to put a stress on families which in turn, pressurize the children as the expectations of the end result are high. By pursuing an unwanted degree and being projected to work in a lifelong unwanted career, children face extreme deterioration of their mental health which may lead to substance abuse and even suicidal tendencies.

According to World Health Organisation (WHO), India had the highest rate among teenagers in Asia in 2016 at about 11.2 deaths per 100,000 people, followed by Bangladesh at 6.1 and Thailand at 5.8 [3]. The suicide rate is among children aged between 10 to 19 is very concerning. It is extremely important for parents to understand how much pressure they are imposing on kids so young who have not even reached full maturity yet.

Factors like unemployment, poverty, academic stress, domestic violence etc.

contributed to India having a high suicide rate in 2016

In conclusion, parents should take their children’s opinions into consideration and learn to listen to the cries of the young generations. Societies have to organise many events so as to educate different generations on the importance of mental health and autonomy.


References

[1] Business Today, 2019. 80% of Indian engineers are not fit for jobs, says the survey. Available at: https://www.businesstoday.in/current/corporate/indian-engineers-tech-jobs-survey-80-per-cent-of-indian-engineers-not-fit-for-jobs-says-survey/story/330869.html [Accessed December 23, 2020].

[2] Stokel-Walker, C., 2020. ‘Humanities graduates are just as employable’: do the sciences really lead to more jobs? The Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2020/sep/10/humanities-graduates-are-just-as-employable-do-the-sciences-really-lead-to-more-jobs [Accessed December 23, 2020].

[3] Iwamoto, K., 2019. Youth suicide: Asian teens crack under growing family pressure. Nikkei Asia. Available at: https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Asia-Insight/Youth-suicide-Asian-teens-crack-under-growing-family-pressure [Accessed December 23, 2020].

About the author

Zahira Azhar Khattab (@zazou__99) )
Pursuing Bachelors of Science in Tropical Environmental Biology,
Monash University, Malaysia.

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