My daughter is in class X. Much as we have tried not to stress her out or be stressed ourselves over the approaching board exams, inevitably, there has been some amount of pressure and tension, some mishandling on our part, and some fairly unpleasant days. Please tell me how I can fix this, at least after the exams. I don’t want to simply take her on some fancy holiday: I really want to reconnect with my child minus the exam-studies-careers issue looming over us.
Once the board exams are over, every family with a child in class X comes to the end of an extremely demanding year. If you look at the year gone by, or even the last two years, you may find that your relationship with your child has been severely affected by the pressures of preparing for this first educational milestone.
You will have been forced to nag, cajole, bribe, threaten and punish your 15-year-old to focus on studies, work hard, concentrate. Also, your child will have had to, unfortunately, leave behind some of the essentials of growing up: all “non-productive” pursuits such as music, hobbies, sports, even good old daydreaming will have been virtually banned or suspended.
However well or badly your child’s board exams go, once they are over, you could turn to some neglected areas. This is the time to: a) mend and strengthen some aspects of your relationship with your child, and b) encourage him/her to reconnect with hobbies and pursuits that nourish the soul in ways inaccessible to mark sheets.
These two “agendas” are bound together, because they are areas to which you can return in the more healthy and holistic parenting role of facilitator rather than ringmaster. This will, quite naturally, help mend the frayed nerves and tempers of the “board exam year” and heal your parent-child relationship.
How can we go about doing this?
u First, consciously and actively disconnect from the “class X mode”. Undertake non-goal-oriented activities with your child—listening to music, rambling on a hill, watching a favourite film/animation movie, letting her experiment on her keyboards without insisting on practice.
u Draw up your own “mark sheet” of “subjects” on which you would rate your child: Caring, Sharing, Sense of Humour, Helpfulness, Curiosity, Talent, Application, Friendliness, Self-confidence, Self-worth… You may or may not choose to share the “results” of this examination with your child, but it will definitely help you to reconnect with his or her inner core.
u Suspend your (and the exam system’s) “judgement” of the child as lazy, careless, average, poor, not meant for science, etc. Introduce her to people from different walks of life who are doing well for themselves and are responsible and happy citizens. This way, the board exam and its results are not seen as some kind of pivot on which all your child’s (and your) aspirations, interests and choices depend.
u At all costs, avoid using the class X preparation, exams and final result as a “tool” to taunt your child. This achieves nothing but a bruised and shrivelled spirit. If your child has an obvious academic weak spot, find constructive ways to help her overcome it so that she is able to learn from any setbacks and do better in future exams, without loss of enthusiasm and self-worth.
Each child is precious and unique—something that the education system sometimes doesn’t allow us to take into account.
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