Its exam time again for the students who are drowned in their books for their last minute revisions.Parents are busy too— but sadly most of them unknowingly are busy ,being stressed! This is what I will be discussing today. What is the parent’s role when their children have exams?
Stress as we all know is hazardous to our Mental, Physical and Emotional well- being.It drains us completely of all our energy and as we fall deeper and deeper into its trap we find that our performance levels PLUNGE deeper down. We should all be aware that students face a lot of emotional turmoil during their adolescence growth and we attribute this to the hormonal changes they are undergoing. During exam time these emotional upheavals get more inflated and take a toll on the student’s mental health. Added to this are the Parental expectations, academic expectations, peer and self-imposed expectations, all of which play a significant role in creating more havoc on the child’s psyche and the children end up getting more and more stressed.
The need of the hour is Parental Awareness about the guidance and support they should give to their children during exam time. It is a known fact that no parent ever wants any harm to befall on their children.They always have good intentions for their children, but somehow these intentions are never understood by the children! For instance the parent will tell their children to study continuously or not to see TV or talk to his friends or not to use the mobile, meaning well for the child. But the children misunderstand their parents and often complain that these restrictions stress them further. Sometimes the parents get so stressed themselves, and this reflects on their expressions and behavior.The children, who are already burdened with their studies, are very sensitive to their parents altered attitude and unknowingly imbibe their stress . As a result they get more stressed and their performance further dips. This is a vicious cycle which needs to STOP.
It is imperative for parents to be ‘Happy Parents’ and supportive to their children’s needs. A few tips for parents at this point are as follows:
- Be stress-free and happy parents because as I said earlier, your stress will be consumed by your child and thus making him more stressed. For this you should practice positive thinking and relaxation exercises. Involve yourself in activities which you like to do so that all your attention is not focused on your child 24×7.
- Focus your attention to your child’s daily needs such as the food he eats, how much he sleeps , is he warm enough or is he cool enough?
- Give him small frequent high energy protein rich potions of meals like dals, soups, fruit, dry fruits etc. Avoid giving him heavy oily fatty meals or high carbohydrate meals. Give him enough water to drink and avoid a lot of tea or caffeine
- Ensure he gets at least 7 hours of regular sleep in the night, every night.
- Do not be an angry or a perfectionist parent. Be flexible, kind and supportive as children are in a lot of emotional stress during exams.
- Help him with small things he needs, like manage getting him books or copies which he wants or listen to his revisions or help him wake up or go to sleep in time or with the making of his revision -time table.
- Do not criticize or scold him or get angry with him.Do not compare him to others or to your own past achievements. Be loving and compassionate.
- Do not rake up the past and say things like—‘I Told You So’ or ‘You did not study when I told you to in the past etc. Children hate hearing this.
- Do not be very strict with his following the revision schedule.Let him take breaks in between his studies for some exercise, power naps, talking to his friends or relaxing.
- Avoid parties or visitors at home during exam days. Do not sit and watch TV while your children study—this does not work well for the child.
Parents need to talk with their children about issues which seem to be worrying them, and empower them to find solutions to the problems. But this should be done with a lot of compassion and love. The child should be able to understand that his parents are with/for him and LOVE him, no matter what the problem may be. At the same time he should feel free to discuss any problems with them and try find, rational solutions.
We need to understand that Stress is very depleting factor and drains the child’s energy. The good news is that it is Preventable and Manageable , only if we are alert and aware of its signs and symptoms.
Parents hold the key to their children’s future. We need to wake up to the fact that we as Parents should be kind, compassionate guides and counselors to our children and only then will they flourish and bloom.
Dr. Sona Kaushal Gupta
Neuro Psychologist, CBSE Counselor.