Tips for parents to reduce child’s stress and anxiety during exam
With the exams nearing, the stress levels for the child escalates like never before. Exams and evaluations have always been associated with fear and apprehension.There are students who commit suicide just because of exam stress. Exam stress and exam anxiety are things which are common among students of all age groups. Some are capable of handling exam fear and exam stress in their own way. Some fall prey to effects of exam stress and go to depression, perform badly in exams or even take extreme measures. Sometimes, the exam pressure can give you panic attacks
Each individual experiences exam stress differently and hence there are multiple kinds of reactions to exam stress we see around ourselves. One child may experience headaches, another may experience irritability or sadness of mood and another may find it difficult to concentrate or pay attention to the studies. However, they all may be stressed! Excessive exam stress affects us physically, psychologically, emotionally and even reduces our ability to use our mental capacities to the fullest. A lot of people find that the stress before exams is often worse than the actual exam. It can be made even worse if you have a neighbour or a close family friend who have already done well and they feel they have to match their standard. As you know the comparison with “Sharma ji ka beta” is common in all the Indian households and parents always want their kids to perform better than him.
Sometimes parental pressure and lot of expectations from the child, lead to stress and tension. Parents don’t stress kids over exam, rather help them to deal with exam stress and anxiety. It is important for the parents to try and keep things in perspective and find ways of reduce stress if things seem to be getting on top.
Suicide rates on the rise India Due to Exam stress
Sadly, while restlessness, loss of appetite and sleepless nights are just some of the symptoms, they can also manifest in suicidal feelings. Fear and distress have led to suicide in several cases. “Suicide rates are on the increase,” affirms Johnson Thomas, director of Aasra, a helpline that aids suicide prevention.
Report from the organization shows that last year, the number of calls from students to the helpline is 30 a day. “These can be exam related or other factors can be involved,” he says, adding, “The days around the unavoidably bring about uneasiness, impatience, sleepless nights, loss of appetite and worry. Students have negative thoughts that if their percentage does not meet expectations, they might get humiliated. Often, what happens is when youngsters do confide their suicidal tendencies to their friends and family, the warning is usually not taken seriously and sometimes even brushed off as emotional blackmail. “
With barely two weeks to go, here are few parenting do’s and don’t that will help you to minimize exam stress of your children.
1. Be aware of signs and symptoms: Children may be worried and anxious about exams, which is natural to a certain extent. But as parents, you must look out and be aware of any such anxieties becoming exaggerated. If your child has not been sleeping well for nights, gets easily irritable, cries often, stays alone and quiet, blames self and expresses low self-confidence, gets excessively anxious, has been falling ill frequently or has been showing any other such odd behavior, please talk to a professional about it.
2. Encourage but don’t put stress on your child during exams: Constantly being after children to study does not work. In fact, it may make them avoid studying even more or worse they may sit at their table pretending to read. Don’t try to plan their schedule for them. A better approach is to discuss their plan, motivate them, talk to them regularly about any concerns and most importantly provide them with a conducive/ tension free environment at home to study. If your child is spending too much time on his phone, instead of locking away every gadget around the house, it is best to moderate the amount of time that kids spend on their media devices. You can also use Nischint Parental Control app to schedule phone usage remotely.
3. Attitude matters: The way parents approach and understand a situation is what children easily learn and emulate. Hence, the attitude parents have about exams plays a very crucial role. Examinations must be viewed as just another thing they must do in their life, not the epicenter of it
4. Each child is unique: Just like not every child is a good dancer or an artist, not every child scores a 90%. Hence making comparisons with other children is not helpful. Each child has his/her own unique abilities and interests. As parents, you must promote their interests and also help them in identifying and working on their weaknesses. Let your children know that you are with them and appreciate them for their unique achievements.
5. Keep communication open: It is always a good idea to keep in touch with the school faculty who are mentoring the student. Being aware of their feedback allows parents to have an open discussion with their children too and build friendly relation.
Parents remind yourself that you have given birth to a child, not a marksheet. One exam does not define life. It is not a milestone but a stone with many miles to go.
Psychologist Malini Krishnan says, “ Parents need to put themselves in their child’s shoes. In doing so they will be more conscious of what they are saying, and it will make them more aware of what the child goes through. Basically, they must convey the message that ‘I am with you.”