Parents’ hearts aching with pain…friends in shock for a long time…media circulates news like a snack plate…it happens when a child commits suicide or runs away from home or falls into the depths of depression.
Over and over again counsellors and therapists have been warning parents that a child’s mental state depends on how he is treated at home first. A good back-up at home is what a child needs. Throwing him into a world of depression based on studies is not the right way to bring up a child. It is not healthy for his development either.
My 12 year old kid had a lot of questions about the tough subjects that he will now be studying in the 7th standard. He was also worried that if he fails he might be required to repeat the class, be a centre of mockery amongst friends and others and might also lag behind and see his other classmates going up classwise. The main point was “mockery”.
Since kids have the habit of making fun of each other, failure in examinations becomes a way to tease each other. “Oye! Ye toh fail ho gaya” kind of statements come with a bursting laughter attitude and become a regular part of mockery sessions. This is due to the attitude of parents towards a child’s grading at school which needs to stop. Mostly parents keep telling the kids to pass in exams with flying colours, else face the consequences which could be anything from personal bash up to social stigma. As a result of all this, a child takes up steps which we read or hear everyday leaving the family in shock for life.
My response to my kid about these kinds of situations brightened up his eyes. From a confused look his eyes turned into balls of never ending hope. I made it very clear to him that I have also failed a number of times to which he looked at me wide-eyed. The prompt question was “How come you look happy and comfortable?”
I explained to him that failure in exams is not the ultimate point in life. I was about to state certain mighty personalities as examples who have seen lots of failures in life to which he said that he had read about APJ Abdul Kalam and Bill Gates. And also that he thinks about them very often. To continue fanning his positivity, I kept on talking about the good side of learning which has nothing to with school grades and report cards. Telling him not to hide away from the world upon facing failures, I asked him to stay strong even when friends laugh. “People who succeed in life face a lot of failures first” …feeding this response in his mind for the ones who think that school grading is important, I convinced him that failing in exams does not disturb me at all and repeating a class makes you learn better…it does not make you inferior.
We need to teach our kids to be honest and daring, not to be scared/depressed or dishonest. We need to fill their minds with the positivity of education and not scare them as if it were a ghost. Education does not mean grades, it is in fact the process of learning and every process undergoes failures for improvisation.
I even mentioned how some kids have committed suicides because of failure and explained the pain the parents go through when the children take such a devastating step. My kid was again quick enough to ask, “Then why do parents force their children to score good marks and get angry when someone does not?” He spoke of some of his friends’ parents whom he had seen shouting after checking report cards blurting out things like “naak kataa di humari aise kam marks lake”. It took me a few minutes to come out of the scene, I had started imagining about the mental condition of that poor kid whose parents think of marks as “status in society”. But thanks to the Almighty, I could easily manage to make my child understand that marks do not cause an impact on anybody’s status in life. You can cram up lessons and get good marks but if you do not understand the lesson and are unable to put it to use later, then good marks are of no use. I could see a great amount of relief on my child’s face (what more can any parent want…a tensed kid is a sign that something bad is about to happen or has already happened).
My request to all parents is to follow the simple ideology that what your child learns and puts into practice will make the real person out of him, his marks won’t decide if he is good or bad. Your child needs to live in this world and even learn to fight, don’t make him give up. Be a friend to your child and make him feel comfortable the way he is, don’t judge him on the basis of marks. Teach him to be a good human being, teach him good manners, teach him the importance of family, tell him how education helps; the word “exam” should not pose to be a terror for him.
Praying that all parents follow and help their kids live with hope and not end up in depression.
Image : indiatoday.in and granot.org.il