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Almost all parents want their children to be good at academics. I do not say it is wrong. In today’s competitive world it is required to be the best. But many parents put intense pressure on their children to score well, no matter how hard it is. Parents are afraid of the future, especially because of today’s economy. In addition, some parents desire to live their own unfulfilled dreams through the lives of their children.
Experts say that this type of intense pressure around school and performance can backfire, leading to social, emotional and physical stress. As a result, children can suffer from sleep deprivation, eating disorders, excessive worrying, loss of interest, depression, anger, withdrawing from family and friends.
This is not just a problem which the kids suffer in school. As they grow up the problems continue, and they can develop a dislike or hatred towards people involved in the process of their education, be it their parents or teachers, relatives or friends. Some of them become very rebellious, leading to much serious trouble.
Teachers are equally responsible in building up pressure. “Look at your elder sister – so intelligent. And look at you.” “I am going to call your parents to school.” And my favorite one, “Your senior batch was so good.” I wonder if every senior batch is good and every junior batch has spoilt brats.
Most of my mom’s students complain that with the grades and homework pressure, they always have a fear of failure and so less motivation to study. But I say motivation for success should be fueled by the love for what you do and not by any external pressures or fears. Do what you love and love what you do.
Do not compare your kids with others. Doing this is the recipe for causing stress to yourself and your kid. Remember your time as kids – you never wanted your parents to put pressure on you. The same applies to your children. Think about it. When you were a child, sometimes you would forge your parents’ signature on your report card. Nowadays, online access to grades means the kids cannot do that, and it puts unwanted pressure on them if you keep nagging them about it or keep comparing them to their peers who did better than them.
So what can parents do to avoid this and reinforce motivation positively?
Identify your child’s strengths, talents and interests. If she thinks maths is boring and loves to paint, that’s okay. She might do very well in a field that interests her. There are so many options available these days.
Recognize that his or her strengths may be different from those of his or her siblings. So do not compare.
Also, give a chance to your child to relax. Kids develop at different rates. There are fast learners, slow learners and steady-as-you-go kids in every group, so comparing your child’s performance can be completely unrealistic.
What this means for you: Focus on your child’s improvement and effort and use your child’s results as the benchmark for his or her progress and development. “Your handwriting is better today than it was a few months ago.”
And see the change.
Image source: mother and daughter writing together by Shutterstock.