The suicide of an 18-year-old girl last Sunday in Dubai, after she had been scolded by her father for her poor scholastic performance, comes in the wake of another teenage suicide by a boy in Dubai a few weeks ago.

This brings to the fore an issue that is, unfortunately, gaining momentum in the UAE — teenage angst that triggers fatal consequences for families. The cause and effect in both these cases is alarmingly disproportionate to each other. Beyond the face value of parental reprimands in the context of poor academic performances by children lies the possibility that needs immediate scrutiny: Do such horrific outcomes result from imbalanced parent-child relationships? Are symptoms pointing to a teenager’s fragile state of mind being ignored by schools and parents? What factors turn their minds so brittle?

These questions have acquired an immediacy that can no longer be ignored by those involved in the upbringing and mentoring of a child. This is an era where intense competitiveness victimises even the young and the forces of disruption are non-discerning in their pernicious intent. The sooner we understand how to stop these forces, the faster we can take steps to avert the eventual terrible consequences.