How parents can be counsellors during their children’s exams
Looking back on my school days, I remember how scared my parents used to be during my board examinations. My dad decided to remove the wires from the plug and hide the stabiliser in his cupboard, to keep me away from watching TV for the entire duration of my exams. No doubt, the decision came as a shock to me and I protested. Somewhere at the back of my mind, I had the belief that I could do well in my exams and what I needed the most was their faith in my abilities. In retrospect, when I think about this incident, it evokes mixed feelings. Perhaps, it was the right course of action from the viewpoint of my parents, but I still feel they could have dealt with their anxieties differently.
I chose to broach this example in light of the larger discussion of how parents can take on the role of counsellors during their children’s exams. As a point of departure, this blog post is an attempt to help parents approach their children not as strict disciplinarians but as counsellors during exams. This way, a more equitable relationship can be established between both parties.
The pressure of scoring good marks means that most parents are perturbed about the progress their children are making at school. Especially, when it comes to classroom achievements, parents usually have high expectations of their children. This adds to the anxiety of children and can take a huge toll on their physical as well as mental health. In fact, it is common for both parents and children to suffer from issues such as anger, irritability, loss of appetite and sleeplessness, in such situations. What’s more? Parents even go to the extent of consulting counsellors to keep their anxiety levels at bay.
As a parent, you have to accept that your child has a certain understanding of their capabilities, which may or may not be in line with your expectations. Only through effective communication, you and your child can come to a mutual agreement on the right course of action for dealing with exam-related stress.
However, there are a few tips that you can consider for providing emotional support to your child as an effective counsellor.
- Have a frank conversation with your child about the negative impact of prolonged screen time.
- Help your child make an exam schedule so that they can focus on all subjects equally.
- Take out time for your child and answer their queries with patience.
- Encourage your child to take breaks, so that they don’t feel under pressure all the time.
- Refrain from stating your expectations constantly, as this raises your child’s fear of exams instead of allaying them.
- Don’t make comparisons between your child and their peers, as this can shake their confidence.
- Stay calm, practise patience and teach the same to your child.
It is natural for parents to want to feel assured that their child excels academically. However, it should not lead to a situation where the child starts fearing you and shies away from making attempts in the future due to their past failures. Give them a chance to fail and learn from their own mistakes, instead of dictating what is right and what is wrong for them. This will make them more aware of their failures and give them the much-needed spirit to move on.
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