As the board exams will soon befall on millions of children again this year, it is time, Indian parents get a reality check. The aggressiveness with which parents coach and pressurise their kids to excel in exams only demoralises them, often leading to mental health problems like depression, anxiety and PTSD. However, it isn’t just good marks or ranks that are on Indian parents’ unending checklist. Parents need to realise that they have no right to mount their unfulfilled dreams on the delicate shoulders of their children.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked parents not to expect children to fulfill their unfulfilled dreams during Pariksha Pe Charcha.
- Indian parents have a tendency to dump their load of unfulfilled wishes and dreams on their offsprings.
- Parents should accept and appreciate their child’s potential, not exploit it.
- Children aren’t obliged to become what their parents want them to.
The aggressiveness with which parents coach and pressurise their kids to excel in exams demoralises them.
During an interactive session with students in Delhi called Pariksha Pe Charcha, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “I request parents, do not expect your children to fulfill your unfulfilled dreams. Every child has his or her own potential and strengths. It is important to understand these positives of every child,” reported ANI. He further added, “I hope parents do not make the report card of their children their own visiting cards, because if that is the aim then the expectations from children become unreal.”
PM Modi during Pariksha Pe Charcha 2.0: Parents who try to impose their unfulfilled wishes on their kids are a failure, they must try to recognise the potential in their children As far as expectations are concerned, we also feel like working hard when there are expectations. pic.twitter.com/V6y62YKow0
— ANI (@ANI) January 29, 2019
This is a concern which all parents need to pay heed to because Indian parents have a tendency to dump their load of unfulfilled wishes and dreams on their offsprings. And it is not limited to academics. Watch the numerous dance and singing competitions airing on prime time television, or visit any cricket academy or sports coaching centre at 5am. What you’ll find is a lot of wide-eyed kids determined to make their parents proud, as if under an obligation to fulfill their desires, just because they were born to them. Behind them are parents, equally wide-eyed and just one misstep away from popping a vein, pinning everything from their reputation to existence on the “talent” of their children.
Indian parents have a tendency to dump their load of unfulfilled wishes and dreams on their offsprings.
The entitlement to press expectations on children carries out even in adulthood, but in the formative years, it can do indelible damage to a child’s well-being. Statistics from the National Crime Records Bureau’s 2015 report show that students accounted for 6.7% of all suicides committed in the said year. We need to ask what is prompting young students to take such extreme steps? What role does parental pressure and the burden of fulfilling parents’ dream play in this? These figures are very alarming, but year after year, the exam season brings forth the ugliness that is parental pressure to perform well.
Some parents want their children to repeat their legacy. They take failure to score good marks as a dishonour to the forefathers. Others just want their children to become what they couldn’t. A giant emotional baggage is shoved by such parents on their children, which makes them fear failure. And failure here isn’t about failing in exams mind you. It is instead, failing to top the class, school, state or even country. Failure to win a spelling bee or singing competition is also seen as a failure. There is just no in between. You either emerge on the top or you let your parents down. Can you imagine the kind of pressure it must put on kids?
There is just no in between. You either emerge on the top or you let your parents down. Can you imagine the kind of pressure it must put on kids?
As the prime minister said, every child has his or her own potential and strength and parents need to appreciate it, not exploit it. Stop obliging children or making them feel guilty of the life that you gave them, in exchange for fulfilling your dreams. They have the right to conjure up and pursue their own dreams, as per their interests and capacity. As a parent, it is our duty to support our children in whatever they choose to do. To provide them with the best facilities we can, sans expectations. Because forcing them on the path we desire, only makes them bitter and under-confident. They often lose interest in studies, and sometimes tragically even in their own life. No parent who loves his or her child would want that for them, but most do not realise that it is up to them to prevent that from happening.
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Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.