- Can you advise me on some pre-board parenting tips?
Following tips would help you as a parent:-
- Have realistic expectation from your child as per his capabilities and interests.
- Don’t black-list activities that your child enjoys, like watching TV, playing games and sketching etc.
- Avoid nagging. Gentle reminders are welcome from time to time.
- Encourage sleep patterns and some form of regular exercises.
- Providing a healthy, positive and empathetic emotional environment is crucial, which parents often forget.
- Highlight your child’s strengths. Encourage a dialogue to move ahead from past failures.
- Stop comparing your child with other students and their achievements.
- Acknowledge that it is normal to be supersensitive and impulsive from time to time. Family members are usually the first targets. Try not to overreact to such outbursts.
- Don’t panic when they announce just before the examination that they don’t remember anything. Reassure them, even if you think they could be right. You can say something like this – ‘Just do the best you can. We know you’re giving it your best shot’.
- Encourage help from teachers or the school counsellor in course of any difficulty with subjects, or anxiety about examinations.
- During an entire day of 24 hours try to spend at least 15-30 minutes with your child, when you can indulge only in pleasant humoured talk. Remember, the magic of an “occasional hug” or an endearment like JADU KI JHAPPI!!!
- Whenever I ask my son about his preparation, he gets angry. Should I stop asking him?
Ans- Every time you ask your child about his preparation, it makes him feel stressed and thus, increases his anxiety level. As a parent, you feel tensed about his preparation, but when you ask it, you transfers tension to him. Help your child to practice deep breathing exercises/ meditations for 15 minutes daily. Autosuggestion is also effective which will help your child attain mental relaxation. In this, child will repeatedly say positive and encouraging statements to himself. It is not that you need to stop asking him about his preparation rather enquire in a way that does not make him angry. Stop probing him.
- Should I ask my child to write everything and show it to me to ensure that he has prepared well?
Ans- If you will ask your child every time to show you his learning, may be he will feel more stressed and become more anxious. It could also be possible that he starts evaluating himself in negative terms .You can ask your child occasionally to write only the most important topics.
- My son wants to study with his friend. Will it help him or it is just a waste of time?
Ans– Every child is different. If your son feels that he is able to study better in a group, then it’s all right for him. Some students do prepare well by studying in groups, as they are able to discuss their doubt and feel encouraged to study better.
- If we don’t tell him that how much he should score, do you think that he will be motivated enough to achieve something.
Ans- His motivation to achieve something may not be affected positively by your telling him a score. But if you wish to do so, settle on a target after a dialogue with your child. The purpose of the target is to serve as a lighthouse and not as a pressure point.
- I know my child is wasting his time in watching TV for long and talking to his friends on phone. How should I stop him without annoying him?
Ans– You can help your child in preparing a time table, make him realize the time he is wasting in watching TV. You can also help him in managing time. But before all this, make yourself clear, if your child is not watching TV for a long time or talking on phone for short time, then its fine as he also wants to take a break in between his studies.
- I am having nightmares about my child’s result. Should I discuss my anxiety with my child?
Ans – I agree that as a parent you must be having anxiety about your child’s performance in the examinations, but you should not transfer this to your child. As this will overstrain his mental capacity and above all it will further make the situation worse by giving him tension about the results and thus would not be able to concentrate on his preparation.
- My child faces lot of difficulty in learning and retaining that learning. How can I help to improve his learning?
Ans- Firstly you can help her to concentrate on preparation rather than worrying about marks. Help her in understanding concepts, you can ask your child to regularly review the time table and make changes in it according to progress. You can encourage child to give you short tests during the revision.
- Should I stop giving coffee to my son when he is studying till late in night, these days?
Ans- Caffeine in small doses acts as a stimulant and keeps you awake, so a cup once a day may be Ok but excessive coffee drinking gives side effects like tremors, fast pulse rate, irritability, acidity and stomach pain. It can also cause addiction. So better, take care about the quantity.
- Should we cancel all our outing plans when my child is preparing for his examinations?
Ans – No, you can making outing plan as cancelling it would make the child feel responsible for it and will further make him more tensed and anxious.
- Can we take our children further out for dinners when my child is preparing for his examinations? Is it not going to waste his time?
Ans – No, definitely not. Even a child needs a break, this will not waste his time rather after going out and having a kind of enjoyful time, he would be able to study well with good concentration and would feel rejuvenated.
- Should I stop my child from listening music while studying?
Ans – Firstly make sure by asking comfortably with a child, whether music helps him in concentration. There are few students who feel that their concentration increases when they listen to music. It could be possible that that your child is one of them. You don’t need to worry about it and refrain yourself from stopping him.
- I feel that he is wasting his time when he spends some time with his friends. Am I right or wrong?
Ans – If your child spends little time in a discussion with friends, it would help him in his preparation. He may not be wasting his time but trying to refresh himself. Taking breaks in between long study hours is necessary to maintain the energy level and concentration. Every student has different way of changing their mood and taking a break, some prefer watching TV, some go for a walk and some try to listen to music.
- How do I know that my child is stressed? What are the stress symptoms that I must be watchful of?
Ans – Look out for symptoms like-
- Frequent Mood swings and frequent sad moods
- Crying spells
- Avoiding friends and going with others.
- Somatic complaints like aches and pains
- Reduction or loss in appetite
- Lack of sleep or sleep disturbances
- Too much anger or irritability
The important part is; if these things are compounding and escalating, do feel comfortable to communicate or discuss them out. The child may not express stress, which builds up over a period of time. You need to detect stress from the child’s voice or from the day to day behavior. You can understand better if you meet a counselor. DON’T HESITATE!
- Since both of us are working, do you think that one of us should be at home always particularly for this month when my child is preparing for board examinations.
Ans- I would not suggest you to be at home all the time especially at the time when your child is preparing, though your intention is not wrong but the message that could be conveyed to the child could be wrong. Child may feel, his parents don’t trust him, may feel that you are always watchful and moreover your presence would again put him on pressure of studying well and will ultimately result in stressing him. It may be perceived, of course, as per a given situation, take your decision.
- How can I help my child to develop positive attitude towards future?
Ans- Parents have an immensely important role to play to help a child develop an optimistic attitude since they are the first and foremost source of the child’s development. Parents need to play the role of a good communicator as a friend, as a comrade, with whom a child can communicate everyday. Your expectations from your child go a long way in influencing the child’s mind. Parent’s expressions verbal or nonverbal, their stress, their unfulfilled dreams can be perceived by the children. These things are unknowingly shadowing on to the children and dim the positive attitude of the child. Little things like these would be helpful:
- Sitting on the dining table together
- Watching television together
- Taking a walk with your child during the examination days.
- Ensuring a pleasant environment at home. Humor the life!!
- Suggest five stress busters for my child.
- The simple way to bust stress is to study without giving up on things you enjoy doing.
- Share few moments of togetherness with the family discussing things not related to examinations.
- Indulging in simple breathing exercises- slow deep prolonged breathing just for about 4-5 minutes 3-4 times a day help to release the stress.
- Thinking positively as negative thoughts can destroy the confidence. Attempt to override the negative thoughts with positive ones (for ex- I study hard, I know my facts, I’ll do great)
- If stress really gets on their top and talking to dear ones is of no good then make use of professional help lines which are designed to help in relieving stress.
Lastly never forget that there is life after examinations.
- My daughter cries very frequently as her examinations are approaching. Do you think that she has some problem?
Ans- Yes, it could be possible. Make her at ease and ask her the problem. For her it is one way of displaying stress. May be she is apprehensive about her performance, or expectations you all have from her or may be she is not able to concentrate well. But definitely it needs a considerable attention. Active reassurance and a non-judgemental attitude from parents always goes a long way in smiling through exams.
- Is frequent bouts of vomiting, also a symptom of stress?
Ans- Yes, it is also a symptom of stress. Different children have different way of expressing their stress. Of course, it does need evaluation by a medical professional to rule out any organic condition. Planning a balanced compatible diet and schedule will help.
- My child sleeps only 2-3 hours in a day. Is this harming his health and his preparation?
Ans – Yes, it does harm health and his preparation as well. If one sleeps less for a day or two, body copes up by taking more sleep over next two days. If continued for long then the body gets into what is known as sleep deprivation syndrome because it accumulates so many hours of Sleep debt. Then finally one get symptoms of feeling tired and sleepy, headaches, body aches, poor digestion, inability to concentrate, irritability, short temperedness etc
- Is failure harmful? How does one suggest a positive coping?
Ans – It is important that children learn how to cope with failure. If they don’t manage the first time they can try again. It is important for parents to know what they can do to help their children cope with disappointing results. Not every parent is confident to help with schoolwork, but all parents can teach their children how to listen, take responsibility and improve their work. Children will learn that through their own efforts they can get the results they want. Children will learn that failure can be a springboard to future achievement. Your children need to know they will feel delighted with the results of some tests but that other tests will leave them feeling devastated. It is important they know that tests are about what they know and not the sort of person they are. It is important they know how to cope whether tests make them feel delighted or devastated.
- Does it matter if I don’t help my children?
Ans – Sometimes children don’t want any help and sometimes you will be too busy to help. Sometimes help is necessary and sometimes it isn’t. It is important that your children know you are truly interested in their effort and progress and will always help whenever possible.
- Should my children have a tutor?
Ans – Sometimes parents feel worried that they are not doing enough. The school may draw attention to a problem and parents may feel that they want some extra support to deal with the difficulty. You don’t always have to have a tutor. A friend or an older brother or sister may be able to help.
- Is it possible to push children too hard?
Ans – It is always difficult to know just how far you should go. If your experiences of studying were unpleasant or limited it can make it even harder to know what is reasonable encouragement and help. Some parents are terrified of pushing too hard. Other parents feel it is their responsibility to insist that schoolwork is done to a high standard. Your children’s teachers can tell you what standard of work is considered excellent, above average and below average. This will make it easier for you to know what your children should be aiming for.
- How can I tell if I am pushing too hard?
Ans – You will know you are pushing too hard if you are getting irritated and angry when you are working with your children. You might be angry with yourself, the teacher or your child. If you feel calm but your children are getting upset, check whether:
- What you are asking them to do is too hard
- They need a rest or something to eat
- Your children think if they look upset you will feel sorry for them and let them stop work.
- Can we help when our children are anxious?
Ans – Yes, you can. Some children become extremely anxious at the time of examinations. They may develop twitches, become very pale and thin, look confused or talk in a babyish voice. You don’t need to panic if your children are like this. Children can learn how to avoid anxiety. Encourage them to:
- Be still
- Leave time to get work done
- Have some fun
- Do some revisions
- How can I help my child to enhance his learning?
Ans – The secret to learning is to break what has to be learnt into tiny bits. A good way of doing this is to find one keyword from the topic that has to be learnt. Ask your children to tell you what the word means. Once they have told you what it means you can ask them some questions. You can ask them why the word is important and what it is connected with. Don’t forget that dictionaries and encyclopedias are wonderful friends when you have to understand something. Ask them to tell you one thing they know about the topic. Read the definition out loud. See if the definition reminds your children of something else that they have been taught. At this point they may remember that they have been taught about it. If your children still have no idea you will need to help them learn the topic from scratch.
- What makes somebody successful at examinations and tests?
Ans – To face any examination or a test people need mental and physical stamina. They need to know how to do their best at a set time on a set day. They have to be brave enough to have a go. Each time they do an examination they get a little more experience. They learn how to cope with the emotions they feel. They learn how to pace themselves so they answer enough questions. They learn how to sit in a room full of other people who are doing the examination. They know that for the time for the examination they re expected to work on their own.
- What should I do if examinations make my child ill?
Ans – Sometimes children are ill before an examination and have to miss it. Some children discover that illness means the unpleasant experience of an examination can be avoided. If children miss one examination they can feel too vulnerable to try the next one. Children who become ill at examination time, in order to avoid examinations, need help to develop mental and emotional courage.
- Why do children want to avoid examination?
Ans – If you have children who are frightened by examinations you can help them. You need to know what they could be thinking. They might:
- Feel examinations have taken over their whole world
- Think that if they don’t do well their parents will be upset
- Think that if they don’t do well, people will think they are stupid.
- Worry that nothing they know will be on the examination paper.
- Worry that they haven’t done enough work
- Not realize that everyone else taking the examination is feeling nervous, unsure, scared, exhausted and is longing for it to be over, just as they are.
PARENTS………HELP YOUR CHILD TO ENABLE STRESS MANAGEMENT
Voice of parents is the voice of god, for their children they are heaven lieutenant.
To be friend, philosopher and guide parents can adopt following strategies:
- To avoid a stressful situation for children the parents must provide right kind of motivation and a conducive environment.
- Just good schooling and tuitions are not substitutes for emotional cushioning.
- At times, children are unable to cope with stress. Parents should guide their children in planning, organizing and setting a time – table.
- High achievement goals can be scary and unrealistic for children causing underachievement by them – a source of bury for parents.
- Under-achievement may be due to some children believing it is safer not to try than to try and fail.
- If achievement expectations are too high then some children would prefer to be criticized for being lazy than being considered not good enough.
Accept that expectation for everyone to do well is unrealistic and examinations are not the end of the world
“The best thing to give your child is – Good