We all live under the impression that better the marks, better the future, and better is the scope of getting a good life.
This belief not just blinds the student, it unfortunately blinds parents as well. Of all the pressure and burden that is put on students to secure good marks, maximum comes from the expectations of parents.
Parental expectation: Know the threshold
Expecting a lot from the child is inevitable, however, as parents you should know the limit. A young mind is capable only when it is given sufficient space to grow. Do not limit the scope of growth by piling your expectations on the child.
Academics achievement is necessary, so is the mental health of the child. A child who is constantly made to feel bad about the marks and the performances ought to feel useless gradually. This is when anxiety and depression begin in the child.
“Parenting is indeed one of the most gratifying feelings in the world. But they can too be overwhelmed sometimes, whereas children might feel misunderstood, resulting in their rebellious nature against strict control. This can be considered as parental pressure,” says Neeraj Kumar, CEO, Co-founder and Emotional Intelligence Coach at Peakmind.
Competition is necessary; but it should be healthy too
“When children are compared to other children by their parents, it affects their behavior and can make them anxious. Whether in academics or any other field, children feel pressured. Their individual temperaments, adaptability and other factors are also contributory to the anxious situation. If the child can adapt to the situation well, then they might not complain. But if they cannot hold a normal temperament, they tend to complain,” says Dr Shubhangi Parkar, a psychiatrist and a member of the Clirnet community.
A healthy competition can ignite the passion in a child. Instead of pulling the morale down, encourage them and make them competitive.
When competition goes wrong
As per Nirbhika Sachdev, a psychologist at Athena Education, “Healthy competition is when students help each other grow instead of pulling each other down. It’s when they are sure of what they’re good at, and focus on excelling at it without the need to one-up each other. Resilience, the ability to bounce back from failures, is thus an important trait we strive to instill in our students. This way, each time they fail, instead of displacing blame to their competitors or other external forces, they will course correct.”
As much as competition is necessary, so is a healthy mind required for the child. With too much pressure and living under the impression of not being capable, forces many children to take brutal steps.
Suicide rates among students is rising. In the year 2019, a total of 10,335 students suicides were reported in Indi; this was the highest in the last 25 years. From 1995 to 2019 more than 1.5 lakh students have ended their life and one of the main reasons for this is academic and other sorts of pressure
What should be the role of students in managing stress and disappointment?
“Positive thinking and positive self-talk are critical skills that students need to learn and hone to be successful into adulthood. A positive mindset impacts productivity and motivates the students to achieve great things in life. Students should also invest time in learning skills such as time management, goal setting, distraction management, mental strength & resilience to handle any setbacks. Social connectedness is an essential component of mental health and students should learn to use this support system in the best manner, for their overall emotional wellbeing. All these skills will help them in managing stress, and anxiety in an efficient way,” says Neeraj Kumar.
What role do parents play?
Refrain from comparing your child to others. Make your child goal-oriented, but make sure you don’t push them hard. Let them take their own baby-steps to get into the competitive environment.
“We support healthy and valid competition. We advise that children should be made aware of healthy competition and its existence from an early age, as it can be unhealthy when the competition starts to become triggering for them. If it makes them anxious, it cannot be good for a child. It is suggested that a comfortable environment should be created around the children regarding the competition. Creating stress and anxiety among children due to the grades and learning process should be discouraged. The efforts of the students should be acknowledged and appreciated,” says Dr Parkar.