Students seldom play Holi with gay abandon, not that they don’t want to, but with CBSE/ ICSE and State board examinations less than a month away, most of them get engaged in preparing for the same to come out with flying colors. They have been categorically told that the fiercely competitive world of the corporate life awaits them, and that has been the BEST, come what may!
Parents being cautious and following all tenets of parenting is significant, and cannot be neglected at any cost. What they ought to also comprehend is that too much reprimand, or demanding the child with producing a result that they, as parents have envisioned, is not only futile, but could also lead to disastrous results, which could even turn fatal in extreme cases. Many times, a child trying his best to fulfill his parents dream seems to have tremendous pressure to stand out from among a millions of students to be able to score the best grades.
As the students are all set to face the board exams, we are trying to deal with the dilemma of pressure in students. In the beginning, let us make sure that stress is a very real. Many researchers have proved that students writing examination endure severe psychological pressure, though it isn’t as if every student spends sleepless nights preparing for the exams. While some students are nervous to perform well in the examinations, others are not so concerned, and are contented with securing just about pass marks.
For all those who are thin skinned, take even the minor struggles to their heart. Some of them are so sensitive that the mental stress converts into headache, body ache, fever and even loss of hunger. Anxiety in students is known to cause severe symptoms of clinical depression too.
Every parent must not become too result-oriented and demanding and expect only excellent grades from their children; they must realize that the world has become very cut throat, and as such, raising the bar for children to almost an unachievable degree, and as such, idealistic anticipations could become impractical and too unrealistic for them to achieve.
The problem is intense, and every year the education boards and child care services initiate Student Helpline to tackle the problem. Here is a guide for parents about stress in students and how to deal with it.
1 – Many parents relate stress as a fad, but the fact is that stress is a biological reaction to a stimulus that tends to disrupt the body’s mental and or physical equilibrium. Stress is very normal and regular occurrence. What, we are, however referring to is acute stress. Parents must communicate to their dependents that acute stress can be extremely disruptive, more so, when it is at a young adolescent age of children writing board examinations.
2 – How does one identify stress?
Identifying acute stress can be tricky but not very difficult to the watchful eye of a parent. The symptoms of stress could be mood swings, irritability, irritable bowels, pain in neck, head or shoulder. Avoiding all contact, and /or not showing any interest in things he/she normally finds interesting. Physical sluggishness, sleepiness and fever could be other signs and symptoms.
1- Encourage the child to take breaks for meals and basic entertainment. As important as it is to follow a strict time table for studies, it is equally necessary to plan the breaks
2- Parents must ensure a balanced and nutritious diet for the physiological and psychological well-being of their children. A healthy and nutritious balanced diet would ensure that the child’s body is healthy to handle the stress arising from examination.
3- The child must remain hydrated and parents must ensure that the child is drinking enough water. Examination could mean long hours in front of the books and erratic eating habits.
4- Students must avoid caffeinated drinks. Coffee tends to dehydrate the body and tires the brain by keeping it alert beyond the normal capacity. Milder drinks like water, lemonade and even green tea are better substitutes than coffee.
5- Snacking is fine – Snacking while studying is known to provide extensive relief from acute stress in students, though one must be aware that it has to be smaller snacks in modified quantities and healthy alternatives that don’t lead to problems.
6 – Dry fruits are very healthy. Almonds and walnuts keep the stomach full and provide with essential roughage. A healthy tip: Peeling the almond is no good. Almonds with skins are better.
7- Ensure 6-8 hours of sleep. Every child needs these hours of sleep to rest the brain and body. Gone are the days when the adage ‘Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise’ worked in our favor- though to be fair, for a large chunk of teenagers it is still a better strategy and tends to help the mind become sharper and more alert. But from my personal experience, I know many students who prefer studying late nights to early mornings. I would say, ‘To each his/her own,’ but parents must encourage students to sleep on time and get up and revise.
8- Family time is another must. The child appearing for any examination must not be isolated, and should always remain within the core concerns of the family time, though it is advisable not to broach the subject of examinations every now and then. It’s not difficult to make a genuine effort to not overdo talking about the upcoming examinations.
9- Relax! Mostly it is the parents with whom stress starts. The more they sweat over the performance of their child, the more the child is susceptible to acute stress. Hence, the most important thing for them should be to start with managing stress their own first.
10 – Yoga and small walks help, a healthy diet, happy banter and a fun activity all would help the parents to worry less about their child’s examinations. Along the aforementioned, meditation will help enormously in relieving stress of any kind. Meditation is also useful for many other benefits like, enhancing memory, maintaining balance between the physical and the mental, improving concentration etc.
Being supportive is crucial but being there and being a constant nag are two very different things. So, if you really want to help your child…let them be. All the best!
By: Pritika Singh