Why are parents stressed about their children’s exams?
Exam fever can be quite contagious. In the home of American expat Shereena Anwar, when it’s time for the tests, her mood becomes agitated. “I don’t know what they’re called – Gen Z or whatever – they’re very complacent. They are good smart students, but when it comes to exams, it’s [their behaviour is] not like what we experienced; it’s a completely different ball game. They have a different way of approaching exams and that makes them more stressful [for me]the 45-year-old Dubai-based man told Gulf News.
And as she practices using a laid-back, teasing manner to push her children – Faris Kakkodi, 18, and Abir Kakkodi, 16 – she admits to finding herself peeking into their room a little more often taking better notice of what’s on their screens at this point.
This year, Faris is facing her board, her grade 13 papers, and it’s making mom a little more anxious than a normal exam, but she’s hoping for the best.
When it comes to the next generation teaching their parents something, the list of lessons goes on. In the case of Indian expat Hina Pancholi Rao, her youngest child, now 20, baffled her with his relaxed attitude. “I’ve never seen him stressed out about exams. He literally whistled into his examination room; it’s almost as if he were the examiner and not the candidate. I always wondered and stressed about it, but he always handled it and handled it well,” she laughs.
“It’s only now that he’s in his fourth year of university, now that he has to face a jury, I see him a little more anxious. But nothing like the children who are [straining to memorise things] or leaf through books even on the school bus – I’ve never seen Zohran do that. Maybe he’s just a very happy kid,” she said.
The fact that he succeeds – over time, it puts her at ease. “I just have to deal with it. I wait for him to come back and ask him how it was, and he says, ‘As usual mum, I’m going to make it,’” she adds.
Exam anxiety is quite common and most people find it short term, self limiting and not too life impacting.
– Dr Walid Ahmed
So what exactly is this anxiety? And why do parents feel the burn? It really comes down to projection, says Luz Maria Villagras S., UAE-based mindful parenting coach, hypnosis therapist and neuro-linguistic programming practitioner. As a parent invested in their child’s future, you can’t help but hope for the best for them and fear the worst. “We’re afraid of failure and sometimes we project those fears…because we love them, we don’t want them to fail,” she explains, adding that sometimes it’s not about at all of the child.
One rates their own success as a parent based on their child’s performance in key tasks and exams. “It’s an illusion because part of being a good parent is supporting the child and telling them that when an exam is coming up, if they put in the time and practice they will be fine. The only thing they should worry about is that they have time to practice a task and know that we are there for them, know them and give them the support they need,” he adds. -she.
Examination anxiety versus anxiety disorder
“Anxiety is one of the most natural feelings a human being can experience and it helps inform us of a potential threat and prepares the body to react if necessary. These changes can occur in our mind or psychologically and in our body or physiologically.Some of these changes include – feeling worried, nervous, preoccupied with a thought, tense muscles, restlessness, etc. ‘can set in’, says Dr. Waleed Ahmed, Consultant Psychiatrist at Priory Wellbeing Center Abu Dhabi “However, exam anxiety is quite common and most people find it short term, self limiting and not too life impacting. .”
Do you find yourself on edge as exams approach?
Villagras S. says the first thing a parent needs to do is recognize and acknowledge that these responses are a projection of their own fears. “Recognize that exams are just manifestations of the results of time spent on a task, so we need to be responsible as parents to own our own fears, not to project them,” she says.
“Ask yourself, ‘If my child doesn’t pass this exam, will he fail in life?’ And the answer is of course no,” she says. “Get involved in helping the child with their work rather than expecting the exam to pass.
Recognize that exams are only manifestations of the results of time spent on a task, so we must be responsible as parents to own our own fears, not to project them.
-Luz Maria Villagras S.
“Come back to the present moment and have compassion for yourself and for the situation,” she adds.
Dr. Ahmed suggests the following interventions to ease tensions:
- Parents can help organize themselves and their homes to reduce distractions, reduce non-academic pressures on their child, and help enforce previously agreed-upon technology restrictions during exam times.
- It is crucial that parents maintain a calm attitude, recognizing that this can be stressful for the child and that conversations or arguments about “You should have started studying earlier…” will not be helpful, close to school dates. ‘review. It can help to loosen up – remember your child is taking exams, not you! If you stress, they will stress even more.
- Depending on how involved your child typically expects you to be during their exams, you may want to consider organizing your work so that you can spend more time at home with them.
- Be sure to regularly “check in” with your child to see if he needs anything.
- Remind your child to take breaks and make sure they are well fed and hydrated.
- For some children, preparing for exams can be very anxiety-provoking and therefore offering to be physically present around them for a while while they study can be reassuring and encouraging.
Anwar, who often trains himself to relax on test days, laughs: “The inside joke is that when the exams are over, I will have to be taken to the hospital while my son waits to leave with his friends. Needless to say, he assures me that he will give me an A or A+ As a parent, hope is something I cling to.
And so, as the exams progress, we say to parents and children: all the best.
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