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Moms and pops on call

education Updated: Feb 21, 2012 15:27 IST
Rahat Bano

Board examinations are fast approaching and the tension is building in many households. In many cases, while the students proceed calmly, their parents get hyper, though one can’t blame them, such is the importance of these exams in India. However, there’s a clear difference between affectionate concern and anxiety, which can morph into panic and get offloaded on the child.

Parents who have been there, done that say that one should be realistic and supportive — being there for the kids when they need them without being overbearing.

Savita Vasesi, a teacher in a leading Delhi school, says was she was very stressed before her daughters took their board exams a few years ago, especially because “one doesn’t know how the students will be marked. We have seen children who are bright but don’t get the expected marks.” Vasesi got her daughters tutors, ferried them to private classes and chose to be realistic about their performance as per their ability.

Geeta Mehrotra, a teacher and counsellor for the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) helpline, says she was so “cool” that she forgot to wish her son ‘all the best’ on the day of his Class 12 board examination. “I thought maybe I did a blunder. But then I thought about it. My son was happy. I was happy. He never went for any private tuition, except for maths for a total of about seven-eight months in Class 11 and Class 12. There was no studying throughout the night,” says Mehrotra. Her son, from the science stream, scored about 84% and joined the Army.

Mehrotra says parents should recognise that by Class 12, students know what is expected of them. “They know what they are supposed to do. I see students who talk so sensibly. They know their duties and responsibilities. Once in a while, you need to remind them (about the exams) like friends, not like dictators.” Keep yourself updated about their academic performance at school throughout the year. Be a support system.

Parent and CBSE helpline counsellor, Geetanjali Kumar, echoes the same advice. “You could ask, for example, ‘Have you achieved your task for the day’, ” she suggests.
Jay Kumar Singh, a CBSE counsellor, says, “Often, Class 12 students focus more on maths than on English. They are able get about 60 marks in English with that but if they concentrated on it a bit more, they could score 90. Parents should also ensure children get nutritious food and a little exercise. See that they drink water at regular intervals and don’t study for long spells at a stretch. Ask them to take a break in between study hours.”

Kumar, whose son is going to write his Class 12 commerce exams this year, says that parents can be akin to a refrigerator for their kids. “Whenever he wants something, he can open it, peep in and see what’s there for him,” she says.

Accept your child for who he is. “Be an emotional anchor for them and give unconditional acceptance. Tell your child, ‘It doesn’t matter whether you get 60 or 70%, you are my child’,” she elaborates. There are colleges where you can get a seat even without a 90-plus score and so many competitive examinations for professional courses, she says. “I told my son, ‘You’ll clear one or the other. The boards are just like a warm-up exam.”

Parents should also help the child make and follow a study routine at home, suggest counsellors.

Advice online
Worried about how to deal with feelings of anxiety now that the exam season is about to begin? Want to stay uber cool and write the exams totally free of stress? The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has a manual online that offers useful advice on coping with all kinds of negative emotions. Learning more about thetell-tale signs of stress, to preventing and managing anxiety, eating and living healthy during exam time… the booklet has loads of useful information that can be accessed at: http://cbse.nic.in/welcome.htm. Click on

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