Parveen Shaikh, Principal, The Somaiya School, India

Parveen Shaikh is a Developmental Psychologist. She received her Master’s in ‘Human Development’ from Nirmala Niketan and her post graduate Diploma in ‘Education Management’ from SNDT. In a career spanning over nearly seventeen years, she has donned a variety of caps in the field of Early Childhood Care & Education, as a teacher, university lecturer, preschool head and Teacher trainer.

Her areas of expertise include coaching, mentoring and professional development of pre-service and in-service teachers, guiding reflective research-based practices, guiding and designing developmentally appropriate curriculum, designing classroom layouts, school supports and audit. She has worked with reputed institutes across Mumbai. Prior to joining us she was working with Birlaedutech, as a manager for training and teacher support.

She strongly professes the importance of early years in the life of a child. She believes in setting high standards and works towards achieving them.

 

Exams are as stressful for students as they are for parents these days. I have seen parents keep their life on hold because their child is appearing for a board exam. Mothers take long leaves and sometimes take a drop from their careers to ensure they are around for their child who is appearing for the board exam. For many students, study leave is the most torturous time of their life because every minute of their day is closely scrutinized by their parent. Some felt they were under house arrest, as their parents did not allow them to meet their friends, go out to play and lead a normal day. These attempts from parents to “maximize the time” before exams and push for success is often counterproductive. Students see the period before the declaration of results as their only time to breathe and relax as the result will bring with it yet another period of stress and anxiety.

Psychoanalyst Eric Fromm rightly said, “Few parents have the courage and independence to care more for their children’s happiness than for their success”. It is often seen that parents see their child’s success or failure as their own. Over a period of time, parents, are seen to have closely tied their self- esteems and their worth as a parent to their child’s performance. Any failure is seen as their failure as a parent. Alfie Kohn in his book ‘Unconditional Parenting’ talks about a phenomenon known as BIRG (Basking in Reflected Glory), parents who derive a vicarious sense of vindication from the success of their kids. While there is nothing wrong with feeling proud of your child’s success but tying your identity to their accomplishments is detrimental.

Students often experience tremendous amount of stress while waiting for the results. Some of the common signs of stress are complaints of headache or stomach ache, insomnia, irritability, loss of appetite, not enjoying activities they previously enjoyed, and displaying signs of hopelessness. The period before the results are declared is very crucial and it is a good time for both the parent and child to prepare for what is to come.

Keep Calm and help your child remain calm: As parents, it’s important that you keep calm, children pick up parental anxieties and it adds to their stress. Be available to talk when they are ready to. Reflect back how they are probably feeling e.g.  “I can see you are stressed, it is understandable”. Acknowledge their feelings.

Have Realistic Expectations: You know your child better than anyone else. Keep your expectations aligned to your child’s past performances. Many students, regardless of their intelligence and preparations are not good exam takers. Remind yourself and your child, that this is an important milestone in their life, which they are successfully crossing. The marks or grades do not define their worth. Assure your child of your support, no matter what their marks.

Your child’s performance is nobody’s business: The stress of facing the friends and relatives and the nameless “they” and what will they say about your child’s performance and you as a parent can be very debilitating. Your child’s exam results do not define your social status. Be positive and firm and support your child. Do not compare your child to anyone else’s. Your child is unique with his/ her own special gifts and capabilities, which cannot be measured by an exam.

Plan to celebrate your child’s efforts and not marks: Plan along with your child beforehand, how you are going to celebrate this important transition and milestone in your child’s life with the family. Reassure your child that the celebration will be to acknowledge and appreciate the effort and hard work put in by the child, regardless of their marks.

Let this experience act as a springboard to catapult your child into a beautiful world of possibilities, where every child is capable of fulfilling his/ her dreams. Be your child’s anchor and enjoy the journey.

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