Overreaction to poor results can scar your child for life
Parents, exercise restraint! With class 12 (science) results to be announced on Thursday, psychiatrists and counselors advise parents to avoid negative outbursts if their children fail to get expected results as that could add to the stress that the students would be facing at that time and in turn have lasting consequences.
The reactions of parents of science stream students tend to be more intense, say experts, cautioning that they may need to be a little more understanding of their children’s mental state at the time of results.
Police inspector Pravin Valera, liaison officer for Jeevan Aastha Helpline from Gandhinagar police, says that more than 50 of the 100 calls per day are from students who fear poor result in exams.
“These kids are mostly worried about how their parents will react. It is neither their future, nor their career nor even education they are worried about, but the expectation of their parents,” he adds.
Mirror had on May 3 reported that while half the students calling the helpline spoke of fear of results, others sought career counselling. Asked about students’ biggest fear, a counsellor at the helpline says, “Mostly it is the fear of parents commenting that they have nothing to show after wasted money on expensive schools and tuitions. Poor results can be extremely stressful and we have to counsel them to relax and talk to their parents instead of taking any rash step.”
Another counsellor points out parents feel their job is restricted to just paying for the children’s education. “But that is not so. On the other hand, students have this overarching need to please their parents and are very apprehensive about not living up to the high expectations thrust upon them. We tell them that their job is to work hard during the year and give their exams. They should not worry about anything else. But parents need counselling too,” the counsellor adds.
Nikita Bhatt, whose son Hemil will get his results on May 10, says, “I don’t believe that results dictate my son’s future. Obviously, as a parent, my expectations are high because I want him to go to a good college but that doesn’t mean I thrash him because of a result I cannot change.”
According to Dr Hansal Bhachech, a parents’ aggressive reaction to results can have long-term effect on children. “Recently a 68-year-old man had come to consult me because he was still getting nightmares of failing in examinations,” he says.
Talking about the attitude of parents, Dr Bhachech adds, “We in Gujarat associate education very closely to money and success since we are a business community. Parents see a direct relation between bad results and financial burden as they will have to send their children to private institutions and pay more fees or donations.”
He advises parents to put across their disappointment in a subtle way and not to overreact to an extent that may cause long-term damage to children’s psyche and their bond with their parents.
“A bad reaction to results has a direct relation to performance anxiety in people throughout their lives,” he says.
Dr Prakash Mehta, HOD of psychiatry at Sola Civil Hospital, says, “Parents have unrealistic expectations and then get disappointed with results. Mostly, this leads to drastic reactions that end in anxiety, depression and lower confidence levels in students. In extreme cases, when children do not have the capacity to handle the double stress of failure as well as disappointing their parents, it may lead to suicidal tendencies.”
Must-do for parents
Have realistic expectations
Be prepared for poor result
Counsel yourself to remain calm
Do not react harshly to poor result
Express disappointment tactfully
Support children in times of failure
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