Parenting gone wrong

Stop being a source of stress for your kid. Here are the common errors parents make and what they ought to do instead

In today's time, being a kid is a whole new ball game. While a bit of stress may be a natural part of the learning curve, today's punishing exam schedule combined with peer and family pressures means little joy for kids. The pressure doesn't just come from school. It comes from parents too. Here's how you can avoid giving them a stress overload.

Mistake 1
As parents, we don't spend adequate time with our children and today's fast-paced lifestyles leave little quality time for conversation. Many families no longer eat together in the evenings as kids are indulging in so many activities, so the parents are unable to keep up-todate with what's going on in their kids' lives.

The more you talk, even if it's just about trivia, the more comfortable your kids will feel talking to you about problems (if any). And the earlier those problems are tackled, the better.

Mistake 2
It may sound tempting to bribe your child with a new bike or mobile phone if he/she does well in the exams but that's also one of the biggest mistakes you make.

Imagine how your child would feel if he/she worked really hard and didn't make the grade. Sadly, this is now becoming increasingly common in all areas of children's lives, whether it's about their looks, clothes or how well they're doing at school.

A far better approach is to reward the effort children put in towards a task or a goal. This sends the message that their best is good enough - and that suggests they are good enough.

Mistake 3
Many parents compare their children to others, whether it's a sibling, friend or classmate. Rather than motivating them, it could just end up making them feel really unworthy.

Children are individuals with lots of different abilities. While it's important to encourage them to reach their full potential, they also need to know that you love them for who they are. Quit the comparison.

Mistake 4
We all need time out to recharge our batteries and kids are no exception but because there are now so many choices of after-school activities (over and above the school homework), kids are often left with very little free time.

Make sure your child has regular breaks to do something he/she enjoys, whether it's a sport or even listening to music. If children are having trouble sleeping because they are stressed, encourage them to switch off gadgets such as mobile phones an hour before bed. There is increasing scientific evidence that gadgets interfere with sleep.

Mistake 5
It's natural for children to feel stressed around exam time but if behaviour changes are extreme or go on for longer than a couple of months, it may be a sign that they're not coping well. Children under pressure may feel very tired, go off food, become withdrawn, grow overly fretful or tearful and even experience physical symptoms such as headaches. Ignoring these signs is a mistake.

Reassure them that if they don't get the desired grades, it's not the end of the world and there will be other opportunities ahead. Do visit a counsellor with them.

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