Parental involvement during the board exams

13 Nov

 

With board exams only a few months away, the veil of anxiety looms heavily over homes where children are in class 10 and 12.

Its not just academic pressure that causes stress in children. Immense competition and living up to parent’s expectation can make the existing stress skyrocket.

What makes worse are the “decrees” Parents lay out for their children – ‘Put aside everything else and concentrate on studies’; ‘No listening to music’ , ‘No watching T.V’, ‘No chatting with friends’, ‘No going out to play’…………etc

Everything that is ‘solace’ to the child is suddenly pulled away without his or her consent making him/her resentful. Now, along with stress there is an additional sense of powerlessness which is overwhelming. Vulnerable as they are, various feelings bubble up inside of them which make them scared and sad and mad. They can lash out at themselves or others , misbehave etc. …..all of which are ways of sending out an SOS that they are hurting.

Although its only natural to want your child to perform well in the exams, it is important to remind yourself that you are just a facilitator in this process.

What does that really mean?

  • Provide a quiet distraction free environment for the child to work.
  • Make sure that nutritious, tasty food is available at home so that they are physically fit and in a good mood.
  • Monitor their sleep. Make sure they get adequate rest.
  • Create a warm and comforting atmosphere at home. Set aside time everyday [preferably dinner time] for light conversations that revolve around various events / topics.
  • If your child is very driven to perform well in the exams and spends long hours in the room studying …..be around to prompt him/her to take breaks, go outdoors, do fun things
  • If your child has too casual an approach towards the exam it can be a source of worry and frustration. There could be various reasons why he/she is unmotivated to study –
  1. Maybe the course work is way too difficult
  2. Maybe he/she doesn’t have the required academic enabling skills like organizing notes , having a study plan, knowing how to study a particular subject ,
  3. Maybe he/she doesn’t think he/she has the ability to successfully clear the examination.

Take help from the teacher to encourage him/her take small steps that will help him feel engaged and empowered to be a part of his success. Avoid threats and nagging which only has a counter-productive effect.

  • Let all your actions/words come from the belief that children want to do well in the examination. They too are struggling with their fears and expectations despite the fact that it appears as if they aren’t bothered.
  • Encourage your child to do one thing everyday [ other than studies] that gives him/her joy and makes him feel energized. Do the same for yourself too.
  • Some “DO NOTS include –
  1. Do not link their entire future to the current exam;
  2. Do not emphasize on the financial sacrifices that have gone into making all his/her classes possible;
  3. Do not keep talking of marks and achievements of neighbours, cousins siblings etc.
  • Assure them of your unconditional love and acceptance.
  • If your child seems overtly anxious, in a persistent low mood, having no appetite , unable to sleep etc – consult your Physician or a Counsellor.

 

Exam time is a period where both parents and children are high strung. Parents need to focus on their own emotional needs too. Share your anxieties and with other parents else all you will be doing is stirring up fears, imaginations and projections. Speak the right words to your children so that the message conveyed to the child always is ‘I am with you’.

 

 

 

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