#StressFreeExams: 4 motivating mantras for parents

It is that time of the year again when students who are appearing for their board exams are under immense stress. Not just them, but even their parents and family members are under pressure. Dr Harish Shetty list four common scenarios between children and parents and how to deal with them in an effective manner

#StressFreeExams: 4 motivating mantras for parents

As the 10th standard exams are approaching pressures in the families are also building up. An extremely hyped exam, this journey also is filled with aspirations and dreams of all those around the children. Parents forget that the board exams do not test the real talents of the child, be it State Board or I.C.S.E. Following are four scenarios and tips for parents to tide over the year with ease and peace:

My boy is wasting his time and studies for a few hours only

When I met both the parents and the boy I understood that there was a gap in perception. The boy was studying for 6 to 8 hours a day and was doing fine. The mother believed that he should study for at least 12 hours. Such beliefs destroy the line of communication in the family. The mother still persisted.

On exploration it was discovered that in her childhood the fact that 12 hours a day studies is a must was drilled by her father. As she shared the journey of her life the beliefs began slowly melting and the perception changed. She stopped nagging the boy. Correcting perceptions and tackling faulty beliefs help bonding and decrease fears.

My girl is mentally paralysed and stopped studying

Fear and anxiety can cause emotional paralysis that kids just don’t study. As I sat with the girl I realised that parents had put the magic figure of 90 % in her mind to be scored in the exams. As she had never crossed 75 % in school the girl was mortally scared of the new magic number that was running in her minds.

While listening to her, the girl shared that she wanted to make them happy but may not succeed because the expectations were too high. She also felt that her parents were doing so much for her and she felt that she was betraying them.

#StressFreeExams: 4 motivating mantras for parents
Dr Harish Shetty

Now, when I shared this with the parents they were surprised that they actually did not mean so and the magic figure was uttered only once in one discussion. They felt that providing a target may inspire the girl. Targets can inspire few kids but can paralyse others. Different strokes with different kids works. There is no one mantra for all children. The key is for the parents to keep their cool come what may. Parents need to be prepared for the child to take a drop if necessary.

My son is busy with gadgets and hardly studies, I am so angry

Share the anger with friends and teachers. Catch the child during a lucid moment and share your feelings. They are open while chatting intensely on an issue. There may be many opportune moments for you to share that you are so upset sad or angry at his/her habits. Children do listen to certain members of the family, teachers, neighbours, etc. Let any one of them talk to the child.

Being firm by one parent and clearly asking the child to bring down the screen time has been found to work. Some kids use gadgets to kill the anxiety of the impending exams. The fears need to be understood and resolved.

My young lad plays for long hours and neglects his studies

If the lad is a sports buff and is happy playing request him to cut down his play and come home in maximum two hours. If his studies are under control to his satisfaction there is no need to worry. What happens is that when one gets into the mood it is difficult to break the rhythm and come home though one wants to.

So it’s a good idea for the child to tell himself and take a stopwatch to remind him to come back at the designated time. A frank chat without humiliation by parents and/or teachers can work. At times there is a complete loss of interest in studies and games are the only option in the minds of children. Here one needs to take the help of a psychologist to lift the kid from the pit.

The author is a Consulting Psychiatrist at LH Hiranandani Hospital, Powai