Life Over Books,  Parenting

Whats Your Dream For Your Child?

“The mind of a child is fragile. Their emotions touch their future. Your words shape their destiny.”-Anonymous

As I picked up my morning newspaper, a bunch of leaflets slipped out of its pages. Oh boy! The newspaper as it is bombards me with advertisements, and the leaflets just seem to add to the agony. As I got picking the leaflets that were strewn across the room, a little pink one caught my eye. It was an advertisement placed by a coaching institute located in a thriving medieval era colony- Kālu Sarai, in Delhi.

“A Guaranteed Programme”, it said. “Give me a student of class VIII or IX and take back an IIT engineer after 5 years.”

The great Indian IIT dream it was, and institutes, such as this, sell that hope!

Every year over 12 lakh students appear for the IIT-JEE for admission into the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology. With a 3% selection rate, the exam is considered to be one of the toughest competitive exams in the world. A brain child of the first Prime Minister of India Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru, the IITs were seen as a nation building project. However, over the years, the institutes developed a brand identity of sorts- with its alumni making it big in the corporate world. The Indian-origin CEO of Google, Sundar Pichai, is an IITian, so is billionaire venture capitalist Vinod Khosla. For middle class India, the IITs promised a secure and bright future. It was a sort of assured career insurance for one’s child. The harder it became to secure an admission, the shinier the alumni’s future.


Image for Representation Purpose only. Source: The Hindustan Times


And feeding fodder to this dream of Indian parents are coaching institutes across the nation. The notorious of it all are the ones in Kota, Rajasthan. In fact, this small barren town in Rajasthan has now become synonymous with IIT coaching institutes. Many parents are of the opinion that a coaching institute in Kota would give their child a sure shot victory at the IIT-JEE.

But the streets of Kota speak another story too-of children succumbing to the pressure and ending their lives. The undue expectations from parents, often leads to lack of motivation, low self-confidence and morale. A point comes when children are unable to cope up and are left traumatized. For these children death seems to be more peaceful, than going through the daily rigmaroles of coaching institutes and parental pressure. Fragile lives snuffed out way too early!

In a recent conversation with a friend of mine, I casually asked her high school son if he had some idea on what he would like to pursue post class twelve. The young boy all of 16, replied that he was preparing for the IIT-JEE. “Ah!” I said, “An engineer in the making”. His mother was quick to retort back. “Well not any engineer, but an IITian. My husband is one and my son will follow the family tradition.”

I was aghast!!!

Don’t we all as parents dream of seeing our children do well in life? Well, there is surely nothing wrong in that. But things aren’t really all right, when we begin to force “our” dream on them. If giving them the right education and setting values straight is a necessity, it is equally important to allow your child to dream on his own- to build his aspirations.

And that’s what as parents we need to be doing. Encourage and nourish! Sow the seeds tenderly and watch the tree of life bear fruits accordingly,’ cause children are fragile lives.



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  • The_Enlightened_Woman

    very well conveyed…
    The intense competition and the “survival of the most successful” sort of mindset of the Indian society has harshly affected the young generation and their fragile minds….it is not only a challenge in the engineering field to clear IIT rather same happens with the medical aspirants to attain above the cutoffs for their admissions in the top medical government colleges of the country….sigh!!…hope parents and the society realizes that we make jobs and careers suitable for us through are interests…our CAREERS DO NOT MAKE US WHAT WE REALLY ARE…:-(

    • Me Otherwise

      You are right. The compettion is high everywhere and I see parents pushing their children into doing many activities and to excel in life. Hope they focus more on helping their child build his own dreams and guide him to work towards it.

  • inquisitivegeet

    Such an important thing and you have written it so beautifully! Every year, so many students commit suicide because of the pressure that builds up. I had a friend who was studying in Kota, he lost all his self-confidence and motivation, but his close friends helped him overcome everything!

    Children sure live fragile lives!


  • Sunila Vig

    This is a sad sad thing people do to their kids. When will they understand that every child is unique and all we are and should be is facilitate their growth and help their own dreams unfold.

  • Rajlakshmi

    I remember preparing for IIT and soon I realised that I just wasn’t cut out for it. My parents were pretty cool about whether I make it or not. And I really feel fortunate that I never suffered any pressure. Today when I hear the timetable of young kids I feel pity… so many tuitions, one after the other, their whole childhood spent running after score and marksheets

    • Me Otherwise

      Glad your parents were pretty cool and didnt force you into it. Its sad with the kids these days. Umpteen pressures, classes and coaching for aspirations that are more their parents.

  • nabanita

    I really don’t understand this IIT fetish. Like you said, why can’t parents let children grow into healthy and happy human beings , doing what they want to without this burden that we shove on their backs!

    • Me Otherwise

      Exactly the point… why force your aspirations on them? leads to undue pressure on them. Hope there are more parents who think practically and give more space to their kids

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