It is exam time, not end of the world!
This is the time that becomes very crucial and one during which both parents as well as children are tensed.
It’s the time, when parents, teachers, tuitions, play time, social gatherings are only about how ‘important’ exams are in the most crucial year of a student’s life and suddenly it’s the only topic being discussed everywhere you go as a student.
- Recess time is cut short
- TV and phones are restricted
- Sports help children calm down but that’s taken away
- Music classes come to a halt
- Art and dance classes will resume after a few months only
All the extracurricular activities have been stopped and children are constantly reminded of their performance and how well they need to score.
This change in attitude and the behaviour of parents, teachers, friends and well-wishers takes a toll on the adolescent mind. It becomes very difficult for a child to cope up with the pressure which affects their emotional status as they start measuring their self-worth according to their grades. Pressure of students and seats in top colleges add more burden to the already burdened school bag carrying shoulders.
Some education systems require a student to decide his/her field of interest and choose a career path at 15-16 years of age and they are expected to decide on a stream in which their interests lie. This phase is considered to be a stepping stone to a bright career.
This whole process becomes difficult for a young adult primarily because of lack of exposure and effective guidance available. While a happy and protected family life is considered a bare necessity for healthy growth and development for any individual, there is a fine line between caring and caring too much. We all are aware of parental pressure stories that has led to the most awful scenarios.
We have always heard parents tell us, honesty and modesty are shown with cynicism in the world, and good deeds are constantly questioned. There’s recession causing constant lay-offs. You need to be really ambitious and the best to have a happy life, or everyone in our family is doing so well, my child needs to be equally good.
She needs to be thin and beautiful to look good. Oh my son needs to play all the sports for his age and he can’t cry like a girl and so on and so forth. They cannot win everything and they may not be at their best every day. Constant criticisms at school and home leads to low self-esteem and poor self-image.
Sleep and nutritional deficiency, excessive worrying, deceitful thoughts, emotional and mental exhaustion, suicidal thoughts, youth crime, loss of interest in hobbies and withdrawal from friends and family are some of the consequences of excessive parental pressure.
Introspection: After a long day, review your time and interactions with your child. Do you listen to your child? Have you been understanding and motivating towards them? Do you give your child the right to disagree? Highlight their small wins: Encouragement and compliments, coming from parents, can be a child’s stepping stone to success. You are a key player in your child’s life.
Make it a habit to highlight each other’s successes or small wins of the day. It helps them know you’re proud of them irrespective of whatever they are scoring in school and will help improve their self-image. It is also your responsibility to teach your child to accept failure without losing faith or interest. Interact: Some of the best times you are likely to spend with your child are those when you are playing, laughing, travelling together and participating in fun or leisure activities. Make these times an opportunity to build a friendship with them. Try and explore what your child is good at and give them various career options accordingly.
At the same time students should also learn how to deal with pre-exam and post-exam stress:
- Take good care of yourself
- Take time out to relax
- Spare an hour and continue a hobby that destresses you
- Remember good scores does not get you good jobs
- Talk to your friends, parents, siblings about your exam stress
We can’t emphasise more on parents to educate their children, as board exams are just experiences in a student’s life that teach them to embrace challenges but it’s definitely not the end of the world! Contributed by Dishita Muliya and Binal Kanabar, founders of Brain Secrets Oman The writers can be reached at [email protected] and [email protected]