In today’s cut-throat competitive world, everything puts kids under pressure. The pressure to get good grades in college, academic stress even from the time kids are in school, etc. amidst all this competition and struggle to get ahead, we often forget what kind of anxieties a child goes through and the ill effects of parental pressure on a child to succeed.
We need to carefully evaluate how we react to their successes and failures and make a balance so that they don’t crumble under the pressure of performance or any other peer pressures that may get to them.
Research and statistics show that usually a child lands up thinking in a manner that is passed down from their parents. The kind of drive and ambition that parents have, usually gets induced in a child as well.
As parents, you always play an extremely significant role in shaping a child’s future as a person and as a professional.
What Happens When You Put Too Much Pressure on Kids to Get Good Grades?
When pressurized most people break under it, here we are talking about kids. So, when we want to push them to do better, we must be extremely careful so as not to break them. Let us see how a child is affected by unwarranted pressure.
A Child Might Feel Mentally Ill in the Chase to Get Good Grades
Kids who experience pressure situations which are higher than the normal, usually are more stressed out than their peers. Stress in the form of pressure from parents to do well in school, pressure for high grades, parental pressure on students for studies, etc.
This also borders on unnecessary authoritative parenting — the more significant amount of stress that a child experience makes them susceptible to depression and nervous breakdowns. They also can be exposed to other mental illnesses which should not be happening to them at a tender age.
Suicide Becomes an Added Risk to the Pressure
As we speak about studies and suicides, we find that there is an apparent connection between the two. As alarming as it may sound, students who are subjected to emotional and excessive parental pressure in terms of pushing your child to excel academically, are at an increased risk of suicide.
Authoritative parenting becomes one of the major causes for suicide since the child is unable to communicate with the parent since he/she is always talked down to and not really heard enough as they should.
Self-Esteem Problems with Their Own Personality
Every child is different. Children immediately associate their personal failure to have let down their parents. This makes them unsure and low on confidence.
Low self-esteem interferes with their ability to identify with themselves and really understand what they want to do in life. No child would want to be made to feel like what they are is not good enough for their parents.
Stress makes us do crazy things. Huge expectations are one of the causes of stress in students. Due to this, students tend to stay up late at night because they push themselves to try and catch up with their studies to do well. Nervous and not able to sleep properly due to tension makes you sleep unevenly and sometimes cause insomnia in students.
Pressuring Kids Makes Them Dishonest and They Give in to Cheating
Usually, when you have pressure pounding on your head, you are always lured to find the easy way out or resort to what we call as escapism.
It’s a classic trend seen with students who are not doing too well for many reasons that are not always addressed amidst the academic pressure from parents to succeed.
They give in to the pressure and submit themselves to any form of cheating to get through to shield themselves from the failure and subsequent grief parents will cause to them later.
Pressure Leads to Social Anxiety, Making the Kid an Introvert
Kids who aren’t sure of themselves or are made to believe they are not good enough because of parental pressures, have social anxiety of many kinds. It can be about stage fright, anxious in a crowd or public space, being body conscious, not able to express freely, etc. Children, as a result, become repressed and tend to shy away from speaking their mind.
Fear or being afraid of parents also becomes a hindrance for communication. Ensure you are always approachable to your kid. You should be the first one they come to if they are in trouble.
Don’t Treat Their Problem as an Excuse
Most parents tend to treat every problem their child comes up with as an excuse. A kid might be having genuine issues, but we brush them aside saying they are not trying hard enough or are making excuses for not studying hard enough.
Not true. It may seem like an excuse to you, but for your kid his problem is real, and he is struggling with it. The least you can do is pay enough attention so as to sort it out.
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What to Do as Parents, So That Your Child Feels Encouraged
While we have seen what happens when parents push and criticize to a point where their child cracks, let us also see how you can encourage your child while trying to push them to be the best.
Don’t Harass Your Child to Work Hard
Sometimes parents do not understand the difference between encouraging and unnecessarily pushing a child to accomplish good grades. Parents keep repeating and harassing their child that they have to work hard and talk down to them when they don’t do well. It doesn’t help.
Understand the problem, identify where your kid has issues, what it is that he is unable to understand, talk to him/her rather than adopting the practice of talking down to them.
If you support them in a healthy way, you will see better health for your child and better results in their grades and academic performance.
Don’t Expect Your Child to be Best at Everything
- Are you best at everything you do?
- Have you not failed?
- Are you not stronger in some areas than others?
- Can everyone become an engineer or an astronaut?
No. So why expect it from your kid. They have their own set of strengths and weaknesses. One kid might be excellent academically and poor in sports; another might ace his literature but be doomed in science; one might be inspiring in art or theater.
Try and observe what they like, not what you expect them to become. Hone their natural skill rather than make them become something they are not good at and they will not enjoy in life.
Shape Their Future Not Academically but Also by Values
When you have a kid, you always want the best for them. Is it only by grades? It shouldn’t be. You should enable your child to instil integrity. Allow them the bandwidth to fail. Teach them to get up in life when they have a failure. That way they will be prepared for whatever challenge comes their way, not just grades. Grades are not the only things that help you get through life.
Don’t be a Critique, Help Them to Work the Problem
Everyone fails. Important is they understand why they have failed. Otherwise, they will keep doing the same thing and fail again.
Imagine this; you keep yelling or criticizing a kid for poor grades without asking him what the issue is. He will keep doing what he is doing with the pressure on him and that sets him up for failure again.
Work the problem. Ask the kid where he thinks he went wrong. Self-Acceptance is sometimes all it takes to solve a problem.
Let Your Actions Match Your Words
When you encourage your child, mean it. Don’t say it for the heck of it and then still showcase disappointment and sorrow when things don’t go your way. Kids observe. They know when they have let you down, and it bogs them down further.
You need to mean what you say to them always. Let them fail, and don’t show anger or hurt, show consideration and help them understand where they went wrong. Identify with them the consequences with patience.
Wrapping it up
Kids get molded the way you mold them. Make sure you don’t overpower or overwhelm your kid for grades which breaks them or pushes them over the edge to do something rash and uncalled for.
A certain amount of anxiety is alright. It gives them perspective and drives to do better in life. It also gives them a responsibility that they have to shape their own future. It also enables them to learn what they really want to do in life.
No one is asking you to pamper them if they go wrong, but approaching the wrong in the right manner and structure is as important as being right.