As soon as one becomes a parent there is a fierce need to protect your child. When they are tiny, we are constantly stressing about falls and injuries. As they get older and start going to school, we suffer angst about incidents of bullying, loss of good friends and time management. And when they are even older, the most enabling skill we can give them is how to cope with failure. I was the most laidback mom around never sending my kids for any classes either after school or in their summer holidays. It was also because the kids did not show any particular aptitude or affinity towards music, dance, craft and other such vocations so there was nothing to hone. Not that I didn’t question my decision many times but then I said what the hell. Let them have fun now. They can slog later.
For both the sons, they enjoyed their summer holidays in monkeying around and driving their parents nuts. But now that the elder son is in 10th, his student life has transformed. Despite us not being ‘put the pressure’ kind of parents with unrealistic expectations, I can see that he feels the heat. Perhaps, there is a subconscious pressure from us as well. After all, he does well academically, and we obviously expect him to perform to his potential. There is pressure from teachers, peers and most importantly intrinsic pressure that he feels. Being academically good, he feels the need to outperform. And his schedule is jam packed. Currently, his pre-Boards are going on and his 10th exam time table is out. We’ve been unable to take a vacation since months as he always has some class, exam or activity even during breaks.
But, if we thought 10th was difficult, the next two years are going to be the mother of pressure. In India, if you are interested in pursuing Science then the road is quite uphill. There are coaching classes that one has to enroll in. There are a bunch of competitive exams that one has to take in 11th and 12th for which one starts preparing as soon as you enter 11th or even before that. It is definitely not easy. Sustained studies on a daily basis is the key, and there is barely room to breathe.
But then this is the time in life when you slog to achieve what you aim for. In the case of my son, the dreams are his own. The choice about what stream he wishes to follow is his own too. As parents, we are guiding him, nudging him and helping him when he feels confused. But, it is also a fact that his days of taking it easy are behind him. I feel a bit sad about it, but I am sure that we have enabled him to face the rough with the smooth.
In a few weeks, he will have his graduation ceremony at school. It will be a bittersweet moment seeing him dressed in a formal suit. He already towers over the both of us. And I am reminded of the fact that we have him for just a few years. I know he will fly the nest most probably in the couple of years. While that makes me sad, there is a feeling of pride and joy in raising a wonderful young man.
But for now, I know he has to work hard. This is the period in his life when he has to be organized and not lacking in effort. The realities and the pressures of our education system will be upon him in full force, and we are doing our best to prepare him physically and emotionally.
Do you have a teen? How do you help them cope with study pressures?