girl studying for exam

Avoid Saying This to Your Child During Exam Season

It is quite normal and understandable to be concerned about your child’s performance in his or her exams. But sometimes parental pressure and too much expectation from the children lead to stress and anxiety among them.

Have you ever thought that the phrases you so casually and unconsciously say to your child during the exam season might be disturbing your child’s composure and, in turn, adversely affecting his exam performance?

It is pertinent, therefore, to be mindful of what you say and what you must not say to your child while he is preparing for his examination. Some such sentences and phrases are given below:

1. “I expect you to get. . .”

Never use this phrase with your child. Burdening your child with your own expectations and ambitions can do more harm to your child’s mental state and his exam performance than you can even imagine. Your child would anyway perform according to his own abilities and mere pressuring and nagging him for a better result cannot guarantee it. Let your child learn about success and failure on his own, while you instill the faith in him that you will be there for him irrespective of his or her result.

What PM Narendra Modi said in Pariksha Pe Charcha-2020 is relevant in this context. He said, “Children should be pursued not pressured into studies and parents should see that they also have ample amount of time to commit to extra-curricular activities.”

Thus, more than your child, it is you who need to learn that every child has his/her own strengths. Good marks in exams is not the only and ultimate way to success, and failure is not the end of the road.

2. “Don’t you think you should be revising?”

It is not bad to keep track of your child’s progress and activities to a certain extent, but don’t let your concern for your child turn you into a helicopter parent during exam days. Your child might need some time to unwind during preparations. Don’t get too anxious the moment you see your child without a book. Allow him the time and space to replenish his stressed mind. Offer the child your help if required, but if he/she refuses, do not insist. Treat your child as a responsible individual and let him know, in a subtle way, that you trust him to make good use his time.

child revisinf for exam3. “Are you sure this is the best way to revise?

There is no single best method of preparation. Every individual has his own approach to understand and retain information. Just because your child is revising the syllabus in a way quite unlike the way you would, does not mean his discretion has to be doubted. For instance, just because your child revises the syllabus with music on, doesn’t mean his preparation would go waste entirely. Also as a parent, one should understand that the school prepares the child adequately about how to revise. Trust and allow your child the space by letting him adopt the method that works best for him. But at the same time, be ready to offer suggestions if the child feels lost and comes to you for help.

4. “It is going to be fine.”

There are certain phrases that you often say to your child for expressing support. But you might not know that they can also have an opposite effect on the child’s mind to what you intend. Exams are stressful and when your child expresses his or her anxiety, the seemingly reassuring but vague phrases like “It’s going to be fine” don’t really work. What is required, on the other hand, is that you acknowledge that it is okay to be stressful and even after the best preparation, a child can be worried about his performance in the exam. In such a time, it is essential to make the child understand that one can only do one’s best, and that’s enough. Tell him to focus on making an honest effort instead of the result.

5. “You will regret it if you don’t put any effort in!”

This is something many parents must have said, at least once, to their child during exams. Putting in an effort is definitely very important and every individual comes to learn it as he grows up. Your child is still to learn about all the brutal truths of life, which, he or she will eventually learn about, but in his/her own time. Until then, expecting him to act  like an  experienced bloke is not justified.

The statement “You’ll regret it if you don’t put any effort in!” would hardly serve any good purpose because “regret” is such a strong and scary word for a young mind that it would unnecessarily make the child apprehend danger and uncertainty. If you really want to help and motivate your child, try saying positive things such as, “Honest, intelligent efforts are always rewarded.”

6. “It’s going to be all over soon.”

This seemingly harmless phrase is rather a bit tricky. Saying “it’s a short period, we’ve got a holiday coming up” to a child who is too anxious about the upcoming exam, is not a bad thing but it may backfire as some children might panic thinking they are short on time. Therefore, keeping the child’s nature and possible outcome in mind, you should or should not say this to him/her. A better way to calm your anxious child is rather to talk about pleasant future scenarios without hinting at time frames.

7. “Your cousin got these grades in his/her exams. Let’s see what you get!

This is something you should never say to your child—NEVER—because not only this comparison will put undue pressure on the child to surpass his cousin but may also spoil his equation with his cousin since the child would henceforth see his/her cousin as a rival. Wanting your child to perform to the best of his abilities is understandable but comparing him with other children will only make them feel unsupported and judged. Your child might already be aware of the grades of other children around him/her. You need not overstate it. There are better ways to motivate your child than this. Already there are so many children who fear that they’ll disappoint their parents.

Tips for Parenting an Introverted Child — Human Performance Psychology

Introverted children are often mistaken for shy children, but being introverted and being shy aren’t the same thing. Parents may see that their child doesn’t seem to socialize as many other children do. Their child may prefer to spend time alone reading or engaging in other individual activities rather than eagerly seeking out the companionship […]

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The Truth About Birth Trauma Every Mother Should Know — Parenting Today

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Most people take birth trauma for granted, thinking it means the unavoidably compressive, difficult journey through the birth canal that we all wish could be easier. What is not generally known is that the pressures of birth and the interactions required of mother and child for delivery are fundamental to health. The development of the…

via The Truth About Birth Trauma Every Mother Should Know — Parenting Today

a boy with pinocchio toy

Why Children Lie and What Parents Can Do to Prevent It

Although morally incorrect, but lying is pretty common among growing kids. In fact, children start lying as early as at the age of three and it is fairly normal. After all, lying is common among adults too. Lying could rather be a sign of healthy brain development, as lying involves cognitive ability to imagine a scenario and consequences. In the early years, child’s lies are easy to catch but as children grow, they become better at lying. However, as a parent it is your duty to develop moral values in your child. Honesty is one such value, but when your child starts lying, you become worried whether you have failed to inculcate positive values in him or her or if your child will grow up to become an expert liar. Don’t worry! The situation is not that grim, and you can easily help your child leave the habit of lying. But before that you need to understand why your child lies. Lying, just like any other behavior, is learned and goal-driven. If you can find the reason why your child lies, you can easily handle the situation. As mentioned above, lying is quite normal and common, but if you don’t address the issue on time, it will surely become a severe behavioral problem.

There could be many reasons why a child lies. Depending on the age of the child, some of the common reasons why a child might be lying are discussed below. Although the list of causes is not exhaustive, it certainly provides a broad background and may be used as a guide for dealing with a child’s habit of lying:

Very small children can lie as a consequence of their developing cognitive skills, and lying is a new skill that they try. Such lies can be translated as wishful thinking, making imaginary friend, or making up stories. These are fundamentally the result of child’s newly acquired mental skills and observation of others. When you read your child bedtime stories, you are helping your child expand his or her cognitive abilities like imagination, thinking, etc. So when your 3-4 year old child tells you about his or her imaginary friend, it is not actually lying. Rather, your child is applying his or her newly acquired mental abilities.

Children start lying as a result of observing their adults lying. Remember! A growing child is like a sponge, he/she absorbs what he/she gets to see. Just like other behaviors, lying is also learned by observing others. Therefore, the responsibility to provide them with a positive role model lies on you too.

As mentioned earlier, lying is also goal-driven. So, in order to find out the reason behind your child’s lying, you need to identify, what your child is trying to achieve from lying. In most cases, children often lie in an attempt to avoid aversive consequences.

Many parents complain that that they have used all sorts of measures to control lying and that they have never encouraged lying, but all in vain. However, what they fail to recognize is how they react or what sort of response they give out when their child tells them an unpleasant truth. Your reaction determines to a great extent your child’s behavior in terms of lying. That is why it is often told that parents should never overreact when their child shares something with them, no matter how outrageous or against the value system of their family that issue is.

Opposite of the above is when a child tells a lie to get something he/she desires. This happens, when parents adopt only a reward-based system for the child. So if you are also among those parents, it is important to acknowledge simultaneously the power of internal motivation as well.

In some instances, children, especially teenagers, lie in order to avoid attention. This is the reason why most teenagers with depression or anxiety go unidentified. In an attempt to avoid being overwhelmed by attention of their parents, they often hide their emotional turmoil by lying about it.

Many children lie in order to compensate for their shortcomings and sometimes. Often, the ones who lack self-confidence or want to impress others exaggerate stuff. This type of lying is manifested in bragging. They may tell their friends about how big their house is or how many cars they have in order to impress them.

Last but not the least, children may lie to avoid hurting others’ feelings or to make others happy. They fear that their truth will hurt the feelings of others and so they lie. This type of lying is fairly common among adults as well. We often refrain from giving honest feedback to our friends and loved ones because we fear that it will hurt their feelings and that is the reason we sometimes give fake positive feedback instead.

Now that we have covered the basic reasons behind lying, it’s time to focus on how to deal with your child’s lying. Here are a few techniques that can help you encourage honesty in your children and prevent them from lying:

1. Set an example: You are your child’s first role model, and children learn by observing. If they see you lying on occasions and to others, they will definitely catch the habit of lying. Moreover, if you also lie, you will not be able to object to your child’s lies. So make it a point to never lie in front of your child. And if a situation comes where you have to lie, don’t forget to explain the reason why you lied. Alternatively, you can even admit to committing the mistake and be sorry for it. By doing this you will make your child understand that mistakes happen, and that they do not stop us from improving ourselves. After all, we are all humans, and to err is human.

2. Consider the age: Take in to consideration the age of your child. Children below four often engage in making up stories, which cannot be considered as lies. They are part of growing up. In such instances, encourage your child’s imagination without encouraging the lying.

3. Start early: Lying or its opposite, i.e., telling the truth, are all part of a child’s growing up. Virtues like honesty should be inculcated in your child, as early as possible. Make some rules for your family, where lying is discouraged and honesty is encouraged. With small kids, this can be accomplished through story telling. And with middle-school kids, this can be encouraged by finding teachable situations where these values and their importance as a part of the value system are discussed. If you succeed in creating an atmosphere where honesty is valued, chances are that your teenage kids will automatically make honesty a part of their own value system.

4. Talk: When you catch your child lying, instead of losing your calm and overreacting, have a peaceful talk with your child. Tell him or her how lying affects relationships; how it makes others feel. Tell the child how lying can lead to loss of trust and how honesty on the other hand, helps build relationships that have trust and faith.

5. Never label: As a thumb rule, never label your child as a ‘liar.’ Labeling makes the person unwilling to change as it leaves no room for improvement. Always target the behavior and never the person. Once you label your child as a liar, your child will no longer be enthusiastic about changing his or her behavior.

6. Encourage honesty: Very often, in an attempt to change or modify a behavior, we forget to encourage the desired behavior. Try focusing on situations where your child is being honest or telling the truth. Praise the honesty effusively. This will automatically lead to repetition of the desired behavior, i.e., honesty.

7. Consequence: If you find that your child is lying, you need to decide the consequences of lying as house rules. Rather than using punishment like reprimand or physical punishment as a means of discouraging lying, take away the privileges (e.g., limit screen time, etc.). You can also use restitution where the child is given a second chance to mend his or her mistake. These rules and consequences should be made clear to the child and should be established early on. At the same time, you can use rewards like star or point system to encourage honesty. This is especially effective if the child is small; gradually shift on praise as reward.

8. Be a safe haven: You as a parent need to convey to your child that he or she can trust you; that the child is unconditionally loved, no matter what. Building a relationship of love and trust requires patience and being open to forgiveness. If your child comes to you and honestly shares something that is shocking to you and if you overreact by shouting or lecturing, then chances are that your child will start lying or will avoid being honest with you in future. Listen calmly and then find appropriate situation to share your opposing views. This will not only encourage better communication between you and your child but will also encourage honesty and acceptance. So make sure to never overreact when your child tells you the truth.

9. Find the cause: And lastly, whenever your child lies or you find out that your child has been lying with friends or teachers, try to look for the reason behind. Chances are that finding the cause will help your find the solution as well.

teenagers smoking

10 Techniques to Help Your Child Resist Peer Pressure

As our kids grow, they experience an urge to fit in with their friends or peer. This desire to gel with the kids of their own age group, called peers is quite common among growing children. As they grow, they become more concerned about what others think of them, especially kids of their own age group. And in an attempt to seek approval from others, they engage in life-threatening activities like overspeeding or rash-driving or fall victims to risky behaviors like smoking, drug abuse, cheating, theft, etc. This feeling that one must do the same things as other kids of one’s age do, in order to be liked or be a part of their group is called peer pressure.

However, peer pressure is not always negative, it can be positive as well. A positive peer pressure is when the child is influenced to perform better at studies, or take part in activities like sports, or join drama club at school because all his or her friends are  doing so. When peer pressure is positive parents don’t have to worry. However if you suspect that your child is falling prey to negative peer pressure, you must not take it lightly and rather address it properly. As a parent your job is to help your child learn techniques to deal with peer pressure. Here are some of the techniques that you can use to help your child resist peer pressure:

1. Make your child understand what negative peer pressure is: Often children are unaware of the concept of peer pressure and how detrimental it can be to their overall wellbeing. Knowing how peer pressure works can help your child identify and defy it. Sometimes your child’s friends might be using the method of emotional blackmail to make him or her conform. Knowledge about peer pressure will help your child identify such situations and act rightly. For instance, when your child’s friends force him or her to go to a night party if he/she wants to remain part of the group, he/she will be better equipped to make the decision.

2. Lead by example: Like kids, adults too sometimes fall prey to peer pressure. When adults feel obliged to go on a vacation or buy some fancy dress just to maintain their status, that’s peer pressure. Kids observe their parents and follow what they see them doing. You are your child’s first teacher, and also his or her role model. Your child learns a lot from watching how you act. If the child sees you dealing with the peer pressure in a healthy and rational way, he/she would learn doing so. Set a good example for your children and let them learn from you how to resist peer pressure.

3. Know your child’s friends: It is important to know about your child’s friends to find out whether they are a bad influence or a good influence. Invite them over, interact with them, and try to understand their value system. Help your child understand about the qualities of good friends. Help your child understand that a friend who puts conditions cannot be a good friend.

4. Spend quality time with your child: As children grow, especially during adolescence, they start spending more time with their friends and less with their family. We as a parent, also sometimes become so busy with our daily responsibilities that we don’t find time to interact with our children; also sometimes we think that they don’t need that much care and attention, which is a misconception. As children enter adolescence, life challenges become more serious and the children often feel confused about how to deal with such challenges. Most children start smoking or try drugs or alcohol during adolescence in an attempt to become popular or look cool in front of their peers. Therefore, it becomes even more critical that you, as a parent, are there for your child. Make a schedule to spend some time with your child on a daily basis—may be a dinner together or going for a walk with your child, etc.

5. Communication: Keep communication channels open with your child. Let them know that they can come to you whenever they feel like and talk about anything with you. Have regular conversations with your child as you both spend some quality time together. Find teachable moments in your day-to-day conversations. Be a good listener, and hold yourself from overreacting if they share something alarming. Your reaction will determine the probability of whether they will share their secrets or problems with you in future.

6. Teach decision-making skills: Decision making is a skill that can be easily learned. Help your child learn this skill by giving situations where he or she needs to choose one option out of two or more. Teach your child the concept of pros and cons and how to weigh each option on pros and cons. You can give imaginary situations which involve decision-making and encourage your child to think through each option with possible future consequences. You can even use role-play to help your child better understand the situation and decision making involved.

7. Prepare response: It is often better to prepare some responses for a possible situation where the child might face peer pressure in advance so that these responses come handy. This is important in cases where the child is young and has not yet mastered the skill of resisting peer pressure. Sentences like, “Maybe some other time,” “Sorry, I have some work at home,” “Sorry, but I am not feeling well today, next time” can help your child instantly resist peer pressure. Make your child practice these sentences in role-play, like when someone asks him to drive, go for a night out, or to try smoking. Also teach assertiveness techniques to your child and how to say NO in such situations. Assertiveness requires practice; therefore, create role-plays to help your child master assertiveness.

8. Boost your child’s self-esteem: Children who are confident and have high and positive self-esteem are less likely to succumb to peer pressure because they don’t rely on others for acceptance. Build your child’s self-esteem by pointing out their strengths and by praising your child’s positive behaviors. Give them opportunity to voice their opinions and also value their opinions even if they sound incorrect or unrealistic. By respecting their views and opinion you will help them become more confident.

9. Hobbies: Encourage your child to take part in hobbies or activities other than studies. This will not only help your child gain positive self-esteem, but will also bring your child in contact with like-minded friends or better role models among peers.

Set healthy rules: Rules are very important provided they are healthy and not unreasonable. Rules not only help your child feel safe, they also give you, as a parent, a ready model of resisting pressure. When your child sees you refusing to give in to his or her unreasonable demands they also learn how to assert oneself under peer pressure and say no. Rules also provide order to the situations that are challenging. Setting limits for screen time, staying out at night, or going out for a party with friends are good examples of healthy rules.