Depression in teenagers can be caused, among other things, by a feeling of worthlessness and inadequacy over school grades.There can also be problems regarding socialising at school.Both of these two problems could develop as a result of narcissism within the parents and educators in general. Unfortunately, in our society, narcissism is on the rise.
I’ll talk more about narcissism on another page.
Why do teens feel bad if they get bad grades?
It could be that their parents want them to do well at school, in order to satisfy their narcissism. Parents will rationalize. They will say that they want their children to be successful at school for their own good. Narcissism can be difficult to spot and to treat because society fails to recognize it as a psychological problem.
Parents could also subconsciously want their children to conform to the model of a “perfect child” that society has created in their heads. Perhaps parents are frustrated with their own lives, and want their children to succeed where they failed. Perhaps they had a child simply for the purpose of satisfying their needs. Perhaps parents learned a model of the perfect child somewhere and are convinced that their children have to be like that.
The problem isn’t with the model of a perfect child adopted by the parents, but rather the loss of a human relationship between the parents and their children. It’s as if parents were talking with their ideal model instead of with their child.The model of “ideal child” could include expectations of scholastic performances. So, let’s touch on the subject of the psychological damages produced by schooling.
Depression in teenagers and how school contributes to it
Let me share with you the words of John Taylor Gatto:
“[schools are designed to create] a workforce that will not rebel – that will be physically, intellectually, and emotionally dependent upon corporate institutions for their incomes, self-esteem, and stimulation, and that will learn to find social meaning in their lives solely in the production and consumption of material goods … and we voluntarily pay to forge the chains of our own servitude.” (Dumbing us down, John Taylor Gatto)
John was a teacher and not just any teacher. He was named New York City Teacher of the Year and New York State Teacher of the Year. He stopped teaching, and when he did, he sent a letter, entitled ‘I Quit, I Think’, to the Wall Street Journal.
He said that he didn’t want to make a living from hurting children any longer.It looks like we pay to make our children feel as slaves.
What has this to do with depression in teenagers?
Let’s state that:
- Not all teens will get depressed because school teaches them to be emotionally dependent on someone else.
- Emotional independence should be something much more valuable to teach than dependence.
- Emotional dependence is a problem.
Some teens subconsciously refuse to accept having their humanity belittled in such a way. This can create a conflict that can consequently evolve into depression.
John also tells us that school teaches intellectual dependency. Teachers decide what we must learn. This is to imprint in our children’s memories that other people will teach us the meaning of our lives. We aren’t allowed to find it by ourselves.
If you can’t find the meaning of your life by yourself, you can end up asking yourself why you are on earth and what for. It’s demoralizing and depressing.
Depression in teenagers and freedom to learn
Another great psychologist, Carl Rogers, was also a teacher. He stopped teaching because he understood that when he was teaching, either he was damaging kids or nothing happened.He is an important figure in western psychology because he invented the person-centred approach now used by many psychologists.
Carl says that the best learning is self-discovered, self-appropriated learning. It isn’t imposed. He says that imposed learning denies any trust in the ability of the child to create their own learning path. This is the psychological damage caused by our culture in a bid to create conformity, and from it comes a lot of psychological problems.
Freedom to learn is denied, and that’s one of the reasons for depression in teenagers.Carl refuses to use grades as an instrument of punishment, and is of the opinion that we should do away with examinations. He thinks that examinations just measure the damage made by education and give importance to it.If you are really interested in a subject, and freedom and trust are given to you, you don’t need examinations. You evaluate your learning by yourself.
Personally, I don’t believe that we have to do what Carl Rogers says simply because he was a famous psychologist. Psychology is not a dictatorship. I say that his opinions are worth a look.It’s curious to note that immediately after two big revolutions, the American and Russian, freedom to learn was given to children. Unhappily it didn’t last very long.
Where to go now?
- Back to the home page, Depression teens: a scary problem with an easy solution.
- From Depression in teenagers: the damages of education to Depression in adolescence: one of the causes is the parents’ narcissism. I’ll talk about narcissism and how it’s a possible cause of depression in teenagers.