We must find ways to help our children to eliminate the risk of burnout. Here are a few tips for parents to help children relieve their anxieties.
By Harry Alexander
In our childhood, we were taught that studying hard and going by the book was the only way to move ahead in our career. And then came the era of E-Learning, which mixed education and technology and created something completely out of the box. Multinational companies have spent millions and billions in designing online courses to take classrooms out of schools and into homes. But is it the only solution to make education easier for your children? One cannot assume education to be the only factor to shape India’s young minds for them to be the future Supermans in Science, Arithmetic, Geography, Arts, etc.
Even though technology has managed to ease the Indian education system, academic pressure and parental expectation on students hasn’t changed. In fact, it has raised the expectation level a notch higher while increasing the pressure for students to perform, which may lead to wrong decisions or choices like alcohol, drugs, suicides, etc.
As per the National Mental Health Survey published by the National Institute of Mental Health And Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), the suicide incidence rate per 1,00,000 population for the age group below 14 was 0.5, while those in the range of 14-17 years of age recorded a suicide incidence rate of 9.52 — higher than the national individual average of 0.9 per cent.
Looking at the figures above, we must understand that it’s important to manage this stress and find ways of helping our children to eliminate the risk of burnout.
How to deal with exam stress
Here are few tips for parents to help children relieve their anxieties:
Referring to the recent news of the Thailand cave rescue of young boys, meditation is the go to tool when it comes to handling stress and anxiety. One of the effective techniques in meditation is Vipassana, which is widely used to get rid of unnecessary pressure and stress. Schools, parents and all of us can set up regular meditation as part of the day. It’s scientifically proven to bolster happiness.
Create an environment of No-Lose at home and at school. If the students can be made to feel that they can approach problems and find solutions, they can take ownership of the solutions and work it out. Here you eliminate any feeling of making the students lose, thus empowering them.
Create a secure space (friend, family member, coach or counsellor) where the students can go to without being afraid of judgment or shame. The pressure at some point in time can get overwhelming, and will affect the day-to-day life of the student; therefore, speaking to a counsellor, coach or friend might be of great help.
Maintain a balance
Introduce a balance in your children’s lives with activities that they are passionate about along with academics, like music, dance, travel, sports and arts. Parents must motivate their children to participate in extra-curricular activities to make sure there is a right balance of studies and fun. As they say, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”.
Moderate screen time
In today’s era, everyone is hooked to gadgets/TV/laptops. We have forgotten Mother Nature and her rewards. Spend time outdoors, in a natural environment, for instance walk, run or indulge in sports with your young ones. This can reduce tension, confusion, and depression for your children.
On the day of results or exams, the pressure to be the best is evident in their actions. Therefore, understanding their anxieties and comforting them with a family outing or a special dinner/movie time at home will be of great help. Accepting their flaws and appreciating their skills/abilities in the family will encourage children.
Support their decision
Academics are not just meant for subjects/books but there are extra-curriculum activities that encourage children to understand their career choice later. Don’t let the child be a bookworm but let them explore their skills and abilities. Appreciate their decision and support them.
Stress is a product of pessimism and it’s important to remember that students are not robots. If they are guided and encouraged by parents and teachers as per their abilities, interests and aptitude, the efforts will be rewarded with successful futures.
(The writer is a master practitioner of NLP & Vipassana, ICF Certified & CCA Accredited Life Coach.)