Student. Grade 8G, Gandhi Memorial International School, Jakarta.
While a secure and happy family environment is considered a bare necessity for healthy growth and development, there is a fine line between caring and caring too much. (Shutterstock/-)
Parents want the best for their children. They oft dream of their children attending the best of universities and then securing a most respectable job in modern society.
They work and earn so they can care for their child.
While a secure and happy family environment is considered a bare necessity for healthy growth and development, there is a fine line between caring and caring too much. Parental pressure has led to the most horrible scenarios.
Modern society is a very competitive place. Honesty and humbleness are shown with sarcasm, good deeds are questioned and bad deeds regularly ignored. Power and money have become prime needs for survival. Unemployment rates are running high.
Adding to the pressure on students, considered the future, are those parents whom place mountains of responsibility on their children. One can only imagine what the child goes through.
Many parents want their children to be the star of the class, the top of the school. This is not wrong in that we must aim high to reach our utmost potential but there is, however, a saying that "a chicken can run, canoodle, play and eat. It can enjoy the time it lives. When it tries to fly, though, it will only disappoint itself".
When students are burdened with such high expectations, good intentions go astray. Children are expected to score high in order to make their parents proud. But what happens when they are crushed by overly high expectations and are unable to achieve? In this new era, a parent can keep track of their child’s academic results, assignments, levels and reports. Some parents obsess over these scores so much that the need for their child to achieve the top score overtakes all else. Parental pressure leads to stress and anxiety. The child always has their nose in books, is stressed, and faces anxiety and fears failing.
Sleep deprivation, eating disorders, excessive worrying, cheating, burnout, loss of interest in hobbies and withdrawal from friends and family can be among the consequences of excess pressure.
Teenage years represent the time when a child goes through mental and physical changes. The need to fit into society will grow along with their desire to be attractive, or adequately academic. Parents are the backbones to help them through this time, and thus parental pressure may bring forth a breakdown.
School is full of standardized tests and students are regularly asked to complete up to four or five hours of homework every night. This often causes parents to think they need to monitor their child’s progress; preferably by intruding into their social life and peering over their shoulder while they study.
Such high expectations and pressure may also cause the child to suffer blood pressure problems. They may feel increasingly tired and detached.
They will not win at everything and they will not always score well. This brings disappointment, leads to low self-esteem and poor self-image.
Parents tend to goad their children into becoming all-rounders and children often end up as victims rather than success stories.
Positive parenting is key and it starts with:
After a long day, review your interactions with your child. Have these interactions been one-sided or does your child have the right to disagree? Has your own behavior been understanding and inspiring?
Encouragement, coming from parents, can be a child’s stepping stone to success. You are a key player in your child’s life and shall be the one your child will depend on to learn confidence, hard work and excellence.
It is also your responsibility to teach your child to accept failure without losing heart. Failure is a cue to seek opportunity and not an occasion for mourning.
Some of the best times you are likely to spend with your child are those when you are playing, laughing and participating in fun or leisure activities. Make these times an opportunity to build camaraderie and friendship.
Any advice that you shall then have will not sound like a commandment and will help strengthen your child’s personality.
Good parenting requires parents to nurture their child’s strengths and help out with their weaknesses instead of forcing attributes upon them.
Make sure your child is happy with what they are pursuing.
Just like adults, children need a ‘check-out’ time to alleviate tension and reduce stress.
Aarya Sinha is a teenager who loves Greek Mythology and is trying to prove the existence of mermaids. I try not to waste my life re-reading Mortal Instruments and romance novels.
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.