That time of the year is here again when the parks seem abandoned and the streets are quiet; when no one seems to be playing cricket in the lane outside and you don’t hear little voices calling out to each other. Exam time is here! All children, little and big are huddled in their homes, in front of their books, under the watchful eyes of their parents, trying hard to memorize the chapters in the syllabus and in a hurry to get over with the exams, longing to return to their routines and playgrounds. The anxiety in children is accompanied by lines of worry on the foreheads of parents.
They fret, they fume, they pop anti-anxiety pills; they bribe, they threaten and even emotionally blackmail their children to get good grades. Am I being overzealous in my narration? Maybe, but not as much as many parents of today. The concern of a child’s education comes naturally to a parent, but when the concern turns to anxiety, it affects the child as well. Can we just slow down?
The Kindergarten Woes
As soon as the child begins crawling, sometimes as soon as a baby is born (and I don’t exaggerate when I say this), the parents start worrying about the school to send the infant to. I hear there is a lot of rush to get into good schools so the early bird gets the worm. But it is also a question of status symbol attached to the school for the parents. Is that a valid reason?
Boarding Or Not?
Once a child is in school and is through with five grades, another question looms large. To send the child to a boarding or not? I have a lot of friends going through this phase right now. The surprising element here is that the question is not based on the apprehension about whether the child/parents shall be able to stay apart, but on the ranking of the boarding school and whether the child will be able to get selected or not! One of the mothers I know wakes up her son at 5 am to make him prepare for the selection test of a boarding school. He goes for tuitions for the same in the evening. I may be absolutely wrong in thinking so but to me, it feels like too much of a burden on a child.
The Forever Worry – Exams!
This is a perennial cause of concern for most parents. Children are put under curfew and expectations loom large. Working mothers take leave and stay back at home to help their kids study. It is good to be involved in your child’s education but is this not over indulgence? For young children, the pressure is way too much to handle. I say, for the parents too! Why do you want to burden the child and yourself too? Exams should reinforce the process of learning, they must not feel like a seasonal evil in the house.
If I may dare, I request all fellow parents to take it a slight bit lightly and release the tension of the worry band just so much that it doesn’t snap.
Don’t let the children feel the pressure to perform; even we adults can buckle under pressure.
Let them know they must try their best, period. Do not add on your expectations of specific grades to it.
Do not, for God’s sake, compare your child to another. Every individual is unique and gifted with different talents. Spare the comparison meter for shopping.
Do not think that your child’s grades are in any way a parameter of how good a parent you are. You are a parent, not a teacher. Your job is to take care of the child, encourage her, love her and help her be a great human being.
Do you remember how much you scored in second grade or third, or fourth for that matter? Let it be.
Don’t sigh over low grades, don’t let your child see your disappointment. Actually, don’t get disappointed at all!
Encourage your child to do better and praise the effort. Rewards work better than punishment.
Yet, do not bribe your child. Do not promise a grand gift on achieving a certain target of marks. In case the child fails, her disappointment shall be two times over.
Childhood is a very small phase that passes by in a jiffy. Cherish your child’s and create memories and a bond that lasts a lifetime. Grades really don’t matter that much and though education is very important, it is not the only thing in life. If your child is destined to become a cricketer or say a movie star, who is going to be bothered about the grades? I just mean to say, hone and cherish your child’s talents and don’t worry yourself sick!
A doctor, a healthcare administrator, an ever travelling army-wife and a hands-on mom who loves to bake, Dr Shivani Shourie gives multitasking a new definition. As if this wasn’t enough, she has recently taken up her long neglected passion for writing as well and is now juggling it all! Her writings are inspired by real life as she believes that everyone and everything around us has a unique story and someone must do the justice of weaving it into words. Shivani blogs at The Solitary Saunter.