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Parental pressure can result in suicides PDF Print E-mail
(4 Votes)
Written by Arunima Rajan   

With just two days to go for the SSLC exam results to be declared, helplines are all set to offer help to stressed-out parents and students. Last year's figures reveal that during times like these, suicidal tendencies run high among students. MJ Thomas, consultant psychiatrist of Sagar Apollo Hospital, gives a few tips to Arunima Rajan on how to handle anxiety attacks in the time of exam results.

How important is it to discuss the expectations of parents with the child?

Firstly, parents should have a relationship based on trust and understanding with their wards. Proper communication with their parents will help children to cope with stress better. The fact that the performance of a child is not only evaluated by parents but also by neighbours and relatives makes the situation even more difficult for him or her. Parents should encourage children to prepare as best as they can for the exams; but once the results are declared, they should accept them. They should not set unrealistically high goals.

What drives students into taking extreme steps?

Competition in developing countries like India is far greater than in developed nations. Parents often consider good education a passport for a secure life. Expectations of parents often overshoot the potential of the child. If there is a wide gap between expectation and performance, the child will be disappointed and can resort to an extreme step. It's important for parents to do a reality check and gauge a child's actual capability.

If the child gets low scores, how should the parents handle it?

Instead of telling him or her that they are disappointed, talk about why the child performed badly. Parents as well as teachers should talk freely with the child. Students also should have a clear idea about their potential. They must talk to parents and analyse the reason for their poor performance. Also parents often compare the result of a child with that of his/her siblings. This makes the situation worse. In many schools 15 % of students are under-achievers. Comparing scores of siblings should be avoided. Exams often evaluate the student's ability to memorise. It is not based on his problem solving skills. So it's important to keep in mind that students, who might not score in exams, might perform well in jobs.

What are the warning signs that parents should look out for?

If your child shows a sudden change in his/her behaviour, then you should be careful. If you find your child depressed and not eating properly, get professional help. Some students might not be able to deal with stress and might resort to anti-social behaviour. They may also turn violent. Try to talk your child out of depression. Single parents might find it difficult to handle the child. He/she can seek the help of a mentor who should be someone the child can look up to.


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