There's no denying that kids face an incredible amount of pressure these days. The competition to get into college is stiffer than ever before and kids learn that at an early age. So getting good grades is of the utmost importance -- shockingly, even to grade schoolers. One 9-year-old's quest for the perfect GPA has sent him over the edge.
The young Chinese boy was so distraught over getting a 99% on a test that he stabbed himself in the stomach with four needles. His father had no idea what happened until he complained of stomach pains several days later. He took him to the hospital where doctors took two hours to remove the needles that had burrowed into his tummy. Only then did the dad find out about the horrific, self-inflicted injury and the reason behind it. The child said he was angry at failing 1% of the test and felt he needed to be punished because of it.
It's unfathomable to think a boy that young could do such a thing to himself because of a grade. But children feel so much pressure to succeed. Of course parents play a big part. They want their children to be the best, stand out, and as a result have opportunities.
However, it's not just the parents who are preoccupied with perfection. Sadly, kids are imposing a lot of pressure on themselves too. They want to make their parents proud, and they often feel the only way to do that is to get all As. Of course, this story is extreme. This child needs a lot of help coping with the emotions that he is experiencing. Still, this story is one all parents should take note of.
We need to ask, how do we help our kids find balance? How do we let them know they should try hard, but not to let that pursuit overwhelm them? I suppose one of the most important things we can do is let them know we are proud of them even when they don't get top marks. They need to know that the most important thing is giving it their best, and their best -- whatever it results in -- is good enough.
Do you think our kids feel too much pressure to succeed? Who is to blame for that?
Image via Adrian Sampson/Flickr