#Suicide and exam stress

how parents can deal the chidl's exam stress- ZenParent

Exam season is upon us and so are the pressures that come with it. I think parents undergo far more pressure than kids, in some households, where results are a matter of life and death. While I hesitate to bring it, it’s important to mention the death of Rohith Vemula, student of Hyderabad University, who committed suicide earlier this week.

Of course, Rohith’s case is far removed from the pressures parents of school children feel. But are the reasons really very different? While we don’t know what caused the death of Rohith, there are abundant cases of school kids being too afraid to go back home with bad results — sometimes not even waiting for the results — that they decide to run away from home, or even commit suicide.

Every year, around exam time, India regularly wakes up to newspapers that proclaim the death of an adolescent or pre-teen who has decided to end her life because she was too afraid to go back to her family with her marks. Studies say nearly 2000 students commit suicide in India every year because of the fear of results.

You can speculate as much as you want about the reasons seemingly-happy teens kill themselves but time and again the biggest reason has been pressure from school and home to perform. One might argue that all students face the same pressure: to do well in exams, so how come only some kill themselves? Easy answer, right? Some kids come from families that don’t allow mistakes. That never ever allow mistakes. Never. Ever.

In the face of such pressures, I just want to be able to remind parents of a few things they already know, but could forget.

1. Protective, safe and pressure-free environment. 

If you’d like forgiveness from your partner, understanding at your work place, and empathy from your friends, why isn’t there an atmosphere that combines all of these at home? It isn’t enough to say, “Beta, you don’t worry. Just focus on doing your best.” And then when beta comes back home with a bad result, you sigh in disappointment, you ask leading questions like, “But we went over this, why didn’t you get it right?” or worse, yell at the kid in frustration and say she (or he) is never going to come to any good. Consistently empathic is the environment you want to go for.

child having healthy foods during exams - ZenParent

2. Make sure your child eats well

If you already control the environment to be supportive and reduce exam stress, the next thing you need to focus on is eating well. As a rule, high-fat and high-sugar diets are a complete disaster because it plays havoc with many kids’ moods. A balanced diet, even if the child wants otherwise, is essential. Don’t force health drinks and memory boosting processed food down your child’s throats. Homemade, natural and nutritious food is a great idea.

3. Sleep, sleep, sleep

We tend to let our kids study late into the night and wake them up early to let them study as much as they can. Lots of kids leave revising till the very last minute and end up staying up all night to study. If they do do that, make sure they get enough sleep in the day time. Ideally, break that pattern. If you enforce strict rules of sleep, then they’ll know they can’t use late nights to study, which automatically means, if they’ve left revision work till the end, then they’re not going to be able to study all of it. Marks will suffer but next exam around, they may just plan their study.

mom helping her children to study well -ZenParent

4. Help them study

While you may not help with homework, it is a great support to them to feel like you’re sitting there giving them moral support. Or helping out when they need something googled. If you can be around them without looking like you’re policing them, kids tend to study harder because they feel more reassured about their effort.

5. Let your hair loose about chores and house rules

During exams don’t worry about your own chores or theirs very much. It’s okay to relax all these rules you have in order to lend support or create an environment on low stress for your child. She’ll be the better for it.

how parents can deal students exam stress- ZenParent

6. Talk about the stress

Many times a child may not know how to explain his nervousness. So ask gentle, leading questions that might help your child vocalise his anxiety. Then address specific areas without getting worked up yourself. Be sure to be clear-headed yourself before you have this talk. It is important for the child to sense that you are the adult here and are not stressed about the exam.

7. Exercise

Let your child go out and play. It’s as simple as that. Children get loads of exercise during their play time. Don’t cut down on that. It relaxes them, it helps them talk about their anxiety to friends and it gives them a feeling of well-being.

8. Treat them 

If it’s a weekend, take them out for a little entertainment. Being cooped at home all day is the worst thing you can do for all of you. An ice cream, a walk by the beach, a little show. Anything to help them destress.

#suicide, # studentssuicideinindia, #exampressure, #examfear, #examstress

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