Newspaper headlines about how yet another child has succumbed to exam stress are enough to upset anyone. But for parents whose children are facing or are soon likely to face crucial public exams, these news stories can be truly horrifying. ‘What if my child…’ is the unwilling thought which is enough to give night-mares to any parent. How should one deal with exam-stress?
The reality is different: There are infinitely more options avail-able, apart from doing graduation. Remember the time when the only ‘real careers’ meant being a doctor, an engineer or a lawyer?
Do you really believe this holds true even today? If this is no longer the case, then how can a child’s performance in board exams, which only decides his eligibility for college, be the criteria of his worth?
Pay attention to what your child is capable of becoming instead of what you want him or her to be: Once you stop seeing exams as the all important deciding factor, you will become a better judge of your child’s skills, talents and interests. You can then jointly decide on what he or she wants to do in life and what is the best way to achieve it.
Let your child feel free: Your child can be burdened by not only yours but also his own expectations from himself. He expects to be a success in your eyes and the eyes of his peers. He expects you to be proud of him. But his standards are determined by yours. If his marks are your criteria of his success then they will be his too and his stress level will increase with yours. Let your child feel free to choose the path of his choice and not of your choice.
Reach an understanding much before the exam: Talk things over with your child. Explore her aspirations and ambitions. Help her set goals accordingly and work with her to devise a time-table which will help her achieve marks that will allow her to do the vocational/college course that she wants to do. Let her know your expectation is that she should not fail in the objectives that she herself has set.