Being Women

The Silent Struggle Of Balancing Exams And Mental Health: A Parent’s Plea for Empathy

A parent shares their experience with their child's exam anxiety and mental health struggles. The need of the hour is to prioritize well-being over grades and encourage open communication about mental health during exams.

The Importance of Mental Health

Mental health is crucial as it determines to a great extent how we think, feel, and behave in daily life. Yet I see that the will to understand the truth of its significance is almost missing. People are either in denial or completely ignorant that the overall well-being of a person is tied up with mental health.

Exam Anxiety and Student Stress

Exams are around the corner. Anxiety is rampant, all the more if you are an average student. Add to that peer pressure and their grades, and you are almost flying out of the ceiling. Yet we cannot forget that exams are an effective tool for assessment, feedback and improvement. Perhaps I wouldn’t have imagined writing about this. The close connection between exams, anxiety, and the need for understanding about mental health had I not found myself standing at the crossroads.

When Exams and Mental Health Collide

Guilt, frustration, and concern overtook me as the poor performance of my child persisted, and I was met with disappointment and dismay going through her grades. In the beginning, I too made the mistake of believing that if I don’t speak about it, it will slowly get dusted under the carpet. However, I was surprised to know that there is no magic potion for deteriorating mental health. It will take its own set time to return to normalcy. But what will help is if I become more accepting of it.

My acceptance taught me to open up about my daughter’s condition with her teachers. I was surprised when most of her teachers welcomed her situation with an open mind and were willing to do their best to support her in overcoming her greatest obstacle—exams. At the end of the day, we still cannot deny that there are some positive benefits to taking an exam.

The Disappointed Tutor

With my newfound confidence, I opened up to her tutor, who teaches her from India – a man of experience and knowledge. A person who is well respected and renowned in his field of work, but who surprised me with his apathy towards all that I had to tell him about – my child’s lack of concentration, pending work, restlessness, and so on.

Understanding and Empathy: A Call for Collaboration

I understand coaching businesses are run based on competitiveness, but please realise that we are dealing with human lives. We have to create a more stable and supportive environment as not everyone is the same. As he tried to put it across that in case my child doesn’t perform well, he will be hurt, I realised I was knocking on the wrong door.

Prioritizing Well-being and Open Communication

After so much has happened, I have only one request. Please try to understand when a parent speaks to you about a child’s struggle with mental health, kindly lend a patient ear. Grades are important, but so is empathy. Remember, together with the child, the parents too, are facing tough times. It hurts when exams are given priority over the child because the tutor has to protect his reputation. Nobody is being blamed.

The idea is not to decrease the value of exams in our lives. The only idea here is to create awareness about a situation that has arisen. It never hurts to ask how the child is feeling during the
conversation instead of just speaking about the syllabus, grades, and assignments. If you do so, it only helps to reflect the dormant, caring aspect of your personality.

Call To Action

In the end, this is not about the parents, the teacher, or the exam. It is about the child. So let’s remind ourselves to give him or her a chance to breathe. We all must act as collaborators, encouraging open communication about feelings and concerns.

Mental health problems are real! Please wake up and don’t ignore it any longer.


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