The Role of Schools in a Child's Mental Health

Rako

13 October 2022

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I have been shooed away from nitty-gritty details all my life and advised that I needed to ponder on something only if it was of significance. People are more scared of these thoughts than COVID-19. I kid you not.

It felt like there was a secret handbook that I missed because everyone acts like they memorized the “art of feeling the same way your peers are feeling to be loved” and act like wind-up dolls that only say what society wants to hear. Institutions always decided the type of influence or first-hand stories we could indulge in and left out stories of people like me from the limelight by choosing the syllabus for the academic year based on biases.

I did not have the proper representation, which impacted me the most because I spent every waking moment at school like all my peers, which was like a second home to me. Like any other child,  I believed I only had to learn the skills they taught us without any protest, which would help me get through life. Little did they know that little me was barely hanging on without validation which comes from resource availability and representation.

People were not aware enough to make peace with not understanding the unusual and constantly told me that I was different and had to change my ways one day to survive. No one knew that simply trusting adults to have the best interests of all young people would give them power beyond their emotional years.

This made me conclude that the resources provided by schools are primarily aimed at protecting the institutions rather than the students, making us forget that children’s brains are most malleable when they are young. We need to make sure that all the resources are readily available to them and that no stone is left unturned; it is better when it is done at school, as growth is a continuous process, and it happens collectively with peers.

Knowledge of consent education, trauma bonding, and levels of abuse got me through many dark phases in life. However, it would be better if schools ran us through some cases and made this as common as learning biology. 

It was only up to me to break the learning cycle, unlearning that maturity doesn’t come with age. Respect shouldn’t be given to people only because they have been on this earth longer. Also, “power does not always sit in the right hands” can be given to confident immature adults like teachers or parents whose capacity for emotional intimacy was stunted; it was the overdue validation I needed. Suppose I knew adults could not become emotionally mature just because their physical bodies grew much earlier in life and learned the emotional limitations of their emotional intimacy. For example, if someone was anxious as a kid or if awareness was demonized or put on hold, they might grow up to be an emotionally immature adult.

We aren’t trying to play the blame game here but are entitled to surround ourselves with others. We are gifting ourselves emotional freedom by creating or increasing self-awareness. People often see this as a betrayal, but making children see adults around them accurately sets them out for a less traumatic life. Once you learn the traits of people and what to expect from them instead of just placing them on a pedestal, things will get accessible. So often, their roles in our lives are romanticized. I would be lying if I said trauma-free, as it is hard to identify all the scenarios, but we have to start somewhere. Not everyone is lucky enough to be surrounded by people that encourage unlearning. So, let’s begin by doing that for ourselves and the people around us.

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