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Parents should not burden child with own ambitions

Pratima Swaroop, an East of Kailash resident, whose daughter Tripti is appearing for the Class 12 Boards, said that she has taken some days off from work to be with her daughter who, she says, she needs complete attention and care.

india Updated: Feb 21, 2012 02:20 IST
Jaya Shroff Bhalla

Pratima Swaroop, an East of Kailash resident, whose daughter Tripti is appearing for the Class 12 Boards, said that she has taken some days off from work to be with her daughter who, she says, she needs complete attention and care.

Swaroop wakes up early in the morning to wake her daughter up and fixes her breakfast.

When asked about how nervous she is, she said, “I am very anxious. It feels like I am going to sit for the Boards. I was never this nervous during my exams, but now there is so much more competition.”

The feeling is echoed by Archana Kapur, whose son Pranav, will also be appearing for his Boards this year. Kapur, who works at a private bank has taken 15 days off work. Later, her husband will do the same.

Expert advice
Psychologists say that several parents relive their exam days through their child’s exam. It is not fair on the child or the parent.

Psychiatrists say that these days the anxiety levels among parents is much higher than the child.

“We have seen this trend in our clinics. Parents, especially mothers, are more stressed. Working parents alter their timetables and take leaves from work to be with the child all the time. Sometimes it helps, but a lot of times the over-involvement of parents only adds to the child’s pressure,” advised Dr Rajesh Sagar, consultant psychiatrist at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences.

“While it is important for the parent to provide emotional support to the child, over-protectiveness and over-involvement may sometimes amplify the anxiety levels in the child,” he said, adding, “They should inculcate a normal routine in the child instead of reminding them about exams and studies.”

Don’t go overboard
Have realist expectations, say psychiatrists to parents, who tend to burden their child with sky-high expectations. While good scores are important, they are certainly not the end all.

Experts say that as a parent, one can play a very important role in helping the child de-stress. “Be a good listener. Encourage your child to talk about his/her anxieties and help them get over them by boosting their confidence. Remember, exams definitely are not the end of the world,” advised Dr Jitendra Nagpal, senior physiatrist at Moolchand Medicity.

“Just a fortnight short of the Board exams, it is important for families not to burden their children with their own unfulfilled desires. This is not only unnecessary, but also increases the stress of the child manifold,” said Nagpal, who counselled two sets of parents at his outpatient department on Monday.

“Worst things that they can do to their children at this time is knowingly or unknowingly displace their anxiety on children,” said Dr Puneet Dwivedi, consultant psychiatry at Max Hospital.

"It is important that parents do not overdo things. It is essential they they strike a balance," he said.

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