Board Exams Here? Let’s Help Our Kids Redefine Success To Look Beyond The Grades

17 year olds are technically still children. As parents, shouldn't we try to help them find a balance between academic success and mental wellness?

Board year. These two words can send a shiver down the spine of parents and children across India.

As a mother of a grade twelve student, the past few months have been stressful, to say the least. A few years ago, when my child decided he would not pursue the two favourite choices of Indian parents, engineering and medicine, I was secretly relieved. I did not want my child to be fighting for a seat against one lakh other children. I wanted him to balance his studies with having fun as a teenager. The grade ten during COVID, with double board exams, had been stressful enough. But I didn’t know that getting into a good university, especially an overseas university, was no piece of cake.

17 year olds are technically still children!

The whole process, and its accompanying stress, have made me think about the pressure we put on these 17- and 18-year-olds.

Grade XII is the year that will decide the future of the child. Or so the parents and society think.

This is the year when the pressure is maximum on a person who is technically still a child. If the child is preparing for JEE, NEET or any other professional entrance, then extra coaching hours get added to the already strenuous grade 12 coursework. With their nose to the grindstone, the children struggle for more than two years to secure a seat at one of the premier institutes.

And it’s not just the pressure of academics

If the students are privileged enough to apply to foreign universities, then they need to make sure that, apart from academics, their extracurricular record is also exemplary. The children go through a wringer of activities to collect certificates and pack their CVs. They need to be go-getters, who work for the community and still get excellent grades.

It’s pressure on the kids and pressure on the parents

With the exams around the corner, most parents will share posts and blogs that talk about the mental health of children. And yet, while selecting colleges, colleges with higher CTC packages are preferred. World QS rankings become the be-all and end-all in determining whether a university is worth applying for. The brand name of the university and the CTC package become the bottom line rather than the quality of education. Because for us, getting into a good college has become synonymous with being successful in life.

It is almost as if only getting good grades in XII and getting admission to a good college will determine whether the child will be happy and successful in their life.

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This, of course, brings to mind the question, what is success?

Is it only achieving the corner office and earning loads of money? Or is it being happy and fulfilled with the work you do?

And what about the qualities that make us human?

Qualities like kindness, politeness and empathy, that any exam or certification can not quantify. Don’t these qualities matter when we look at the individual?

If yes, then why do we forget to count them when we plan a future for our children? Why do most parents only focus on grades and activities rather than nurturing and appreciating these qualities?

It would be foolish for me, a privileged woman, to say that money doesn’t count. Of course, it does. One needs money for food, shelter, clothing, little luxuries and travel. We all know money makes life much easier for those with it. But is material success the only criterion for being successful? Who determines who is happy? The society or the individual?

I think this is the real question the parents need to ask themselves before they plan a future for their children.

Image source: by atlasstudio Free for Canva Pro

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My Motto is you can learn anything from books! I am an engineer turned SAHM turned book blogger. I love to read, talk and write about books. I am passionate about instilling a love for read more...

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