As moms, we shape the future generation. That is undeniably one of the greatest superpowers. Having said that, we tend to get carried away on a sea of emotions when it involves our children. We want what’s best for them and sometimes reinforce our beliefs onto them. We play an important role in the lives of our children. Our ultimate goal is to guide them down the right path. While we need to be determined, we also need to have a lot of compassion and understand what our little one is going through.
In India, exams are a testing time for both parents and children. As the results for 10th and 12th board exams were announced, I remember seeing many frightened faces – mostly children. School is the first hurdle in their life. If they were to perform poorly, the next hurdle will appear to be a harder task. Children end up in bouts of depression, high stress and tension. Suicidal intentions are also common. As parents, we need to re-assure them that everything is going to be okay. If your dear child fails, let him or her know that there is always a second, third or even a fourth chance. Let them know that life isn’t about passing exams, but finding happiness and peace of mind.
As a parent, we will surely be overcome by emotions if our child performs poorly or even fails. I remember back when I was in school. When 12th standard results were announced, my uncle was at my school and phoned my mother. She then stared right into my eyes and said that I had failed in one subject. The news broke me. I sobbed uncontrollably as my mom complained that I didn’t put enough effort and that I was spending a lot of time listening to the radio. I was already in a worse state of mind. My mother was making it worse. I can’t blame her though. She wanted to proudly claim that her daughter will join a recognised engineering college. I ended up taking an arts degree. Failing in 12th didn’t make a failure. I went on to graduate from college and become a writer, something that I always wanted to be.
From one parent to another, I urge you not to let your emotions flow. Your child did the best he/she could. You should support them at all times. Shower them with love. Buy them ice cream. Let them know that it’s all going to be okay. Here are some things you should stop doing for the sake of your child:
Avoid comparing them with other children
Comparison is a very common thing. We compare vegetables in the market, phones online, clothes in-store… the list goes on. One thing you should never choose to compare is your child. People live in different wavelengths. I am reminded of the immortal words of Max Ehrmann, who wrote “If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.” The same applies to your dear ones too. I suggest that you identify your child’s unique abilities and nurture them instead of making them become an unwilling part of the flock.
Turn a deaf ear to society
Ladies, I know that this is what will bother you the most. You will often be concerned on what your neighbour or your friends think. WIll they think that you raised a failure? Will they laugh behind your back? Take my advice and forget about others. This is your child. You should be proud no matter what they do. Did they perform poorly? Tell eager listeners that you are proud that your kid has made it through school. Did your child fail? Tell others that you are proud of it. After all, failure is the stepping stone to success. Remember, your dear one is more important than others.
Don’t impose your interests and beliefs on them
My mom wanted me to be an engineer. I want my child to be a pilot. I know for a fact that my little one would choose to be a writer, like me. While it’s okay for us parents to dream, we should never impose those on our kids. While it is completely okay to tell your child about your dreams, you should never force them into taking it up. My father is a chartered accountant. He wanted both, me and my brother to be chartered accountants. After noticing that my math skills were poor, my mom instead wanted me to become a software engineer. I never became one. From my late teens to my late twenties, my parents had expressed disappointment. They felt that I didn’t fulfil their dreams. I was seen as a failure and that used to bring my spirits down almost every day.
Give them some leeway
Nobody like a strict person. It’s an attitude that we loathe. While strict and disciplined people often accomplish things, their behaviour can ward off people. Take it easy with your children. They are children. Your children. You should always give them some space and freedom. You should understand your child’s interest first and must avoid scolding them. Controlling your immediate anger is perhaps the most important feature of a patient mother. In the face of anger, simply move to an empty room or area and take some time to reflect on what had happened. Can’t find an empty space, just breathe. Taking a few deep breaths can vastly reduce your sudden bout of anger. Your child will also understand that you are trying to control yourself and will be appreciative of you.
As mothers, we must all understand that school and college are the first few steps in your child’s life. I’ve known people who have performed poorly in school and go on to become game-changers in their careers. Your child is unique. They are way smarter than what you think they are. All you need to do is nurture them with love. And remember, your child has done his or her best, and so have you.