How Parents Can Support Their Children During 12th Board Exams. The Catalysts Of The Support Equation
THE EXAM SEASON IS HERE! The next few months are going to be all about late nights, gallons of coffee, exam preps, timetables and a lot of stress. Exam time can be hectic and mentally pressurizing for kids and their parents. Twelfth grade is considered the most crucial part of schooling. It is tightly packed with exam preps, class tests, assessments and simultaneously working on college decisions. This is one of those times kids can use all the support they can get.
Parents are the most important element of the support equation during their kid’s exam prep. They act as a catalyst and make the prepping process much easier. Children are the parent’s most important work and the best way to start is by looking into their needs and supporting them. In this edition of “Parent Central”, we will be looking into how parents can support their children during their board exams. Here are things that you can start with:
WHAT DO YOU WANT? ASK THE QUESTION.
The four magic words are- What Do You Want? There is no support equation without knowing what your kids want. There is no place for assumptions. Parents often believe they are well aware of what their children want while the situation might be completely different. The needs of children are always changing. There is no consistency or pattern to a child’s need. The best way to know it is to ask. Start by asking. Asking the children gives them a sense of comfort and puts them at ease. The support equation begins by asking. Begin by asking the children what they want and proceed to ask what will make them more comfortable, what their problems are and what can be done to make the whole prepping situation more enjoyable. The discussion makes the child feel more like a partner in the whole process rather than just someone being commanded.
THE MANTRA~ THEY DO AS YOU DO AND NOT DO AS YOU SAY
The very basis of Albert Bandura’s social learning theory was that kids don’t have to engage in an activity to decide whether they want to do it or not. Just by observing others do something and face its consequences, they make their decision. The same thing happens with almost anybody. Telling your children to study or the benefits they will reap out of it will not get them to do it. But if they see that you go to work every day and enjoy what you do because you channeled your effort into studying when you had to, then they will do the same. Imagine you coming from work every day and complaining about your day all the time. Do you think your children are going to like the whole idea of studying and getting somewhere? They need to like what they see. It has to happen naturally. Telling the children they have to study just for the sake of it is just an imbalance in the whole equation.
I AM THERE FOR YOU!
Extending support to your children is an art. You can explicitly state that you support them or care for them. Both of these work in a subtle manner to keep the support equation going. Letting the kids know that they are not alone is the key. One way to do it is to keep yourself updated about what the kid’s subjects are to start with, their exam timetables, and their results. Don’t be judgemental about the results. But keep track of their progress. See if their results are improving over time. If the results aren’t improving, check the root cause and work upwards from there.
THE MAGIC OF RELAXING
Sometimes the kids tend to get overworked. With so much pressure around them to perform well and stay in pace with others, children tend to lose track. That is when you need to remind them of the importance of relaxing. As much as it is necessary to work hard, it is also important to take some time off. Don’t simply tell them to relax. Rather tell them “why” it is important to relax and what good it can do to them. Tell the kids the importance of having to let their memory consolidate by relaxing. Relaxing helps to retain what the kids have studied and to organize their thoughts.
CREATING THE RIGHT MEDIUM FOR STUDYING THROUGH SUPPORT~ STAYING HYDRATED, EATING HEALTHY AND GETTING ENOUGH SLEEP.
The support equation only works on the right medium. You need to make sure your kids are drinking enough water, eating the right kind of food and getting optimal sleep. The supporting scenario doesn’t always have to be perfect but ensuring that the kids are physically well is a good place to start. Emotional nourishment only works on kids who are physically functioning well. If you were to go and support a dehydrated, half-starving and completely tired child, you still fail at it.
BEING THE AUTHORITATIVE PARENT RATHER THAN THE AUTHORITARIAN
There is a thin line that separates an authoritarian parent from an authoritative parent. Authoritative parents strike a balance between setting necessary limits for their children and allowing them freedom within it. Authoritarian parents try to succeed by catching the bull by the horn. You are being counterproductive when being an authoritarian. Being authoritative takes a lot of thinking and understanding. But in the long run, you will not regret being an authoritative parent rather than an authoritarian.
THE LIBERTY TO FAIL
Hermione Granger’s biggest fear was FAILING. But surprisingly she was also the smartest and the brightest witch in Harry Potter. The reason behind the kids fearing failure is that we don’t give them the liberty to fail. When kids start walking, we allow them to fall as many times as they want. We take pride in them even trying. But as they grow, we take very little time to appreciate their efforts and start focusing on their victories and defeats. Only if children had the liberty to fail, how many wonderful things they would be able to do! Allow your children to take pride in trying and teach them to not take losses to their heart. That way for the rest of their life they will have the drive to keep trying.
LOOK OUT FOR EARLY SIGNS:
Kids tend to get overworked during exams. They are stressed, anxious, tired and overly nervous. Breakdowns are quite common during exam time. Parents can better manage the situation by looking out for early signs. Every time the kid seems stressed, relax the situation by taking them out for a walk or giving them screen time. If your kid seems tired, suggest to them that it would be a good option to call it a day and to start fresh the next day. If you let the stress build up the chances are that it might result in fatigue and underperformance.
You are making a difference in your child’s life every day. In the alchemy of support, there is no right or wrong way to do it. As long as you are being there for your child and making sure their needs are being met, your halfway to the finish line. There is no algorithm to take care of the kids. Every kid is unique and so are their needs. Nobody knows your children better than you and that is your superpower in this situation. As the exam season approaches, be more intuitive and sensitive to your kid’s needs. Be the pillar of support they will need to come out with flying colors. We hope your kids do well this exam season!