Psychiatrists across Mumbai are seeing a two-fold increase in calls with many parents and guardians of SSC students reaching out to them for help. The students are scheduled to take their board exam in the next few days.
Doctors say most students are finding it difficult to cope up with the exam-time anxiety, triggered by change in pattern and pressure of expectations from parents and peers.
Senior psychiatrist Dr Harish Shetty said, "It is a very crucial month for children appearing for board exams. There are prelims and tests that they have to prepare for both tuition classes and school."
According to doctors, the pressure to perform in multiple prelims becomes taxing for the children as they get confused on which exam to give priority to. "Children these days are bombarded with tests before the main exam. It is tough for them to cope up with this pressure," added Dr Shetty.
The phone has not stopped ringing for Dr Parul Tank, consulting psychiatrist with Fortis hospital and head of department, Rajawadi Hospital, Ghatkopar, for the past few days.
Dr Tank said, "It is a make or break moment for the children. In such circumstances, they either withdraw themselves or becomes rebellious and don't want to attend schools and exams. I am busy answering calls of worried parents and talking to students." The doctor also said the situation leads to symptoms like loss of appetite, severe anxiety and less sleep.
According to Dr Shetty, a child gets worried if he fails to perform well in prelims, which adds to the problem. He said, "This becomes an additional stress apart from the parental and peer pressure."
Psychiatrists say many parents are also turning up for stress and depression during the board exam season. Dr Vasant Mundra, consulting psychiatrist, PD Hinduja Hospital, said, "I am getting an increasing number of parents of board exam students complaining about stress and depression. If parents are stressed out, the child automatically suffers. We need to devalue the education system instead of trying to change the system."
Many parents literally relive their exam fever through their children's exams. Most psychologists say that parents need as much help as their hardworking children. "The entire attention is so focused on the child that parents give little care to their own needs," said Dr Mundra.
According to doctors, parents come to them for counselling throughout the year with some or the other academic worry of their kids. But the number takes a sudden jump during Jaunuary-March.
Tips for Parents
Do not to lecture children about their bleak future or nag them about past incidents.
Be affectionate but don't pay over-attention. A hug in private just works fine.
Spend some light moments with your child.
Don't discuss about an exam as soon as your child has taken it.
Do not set rules; let the child follow his or her routine. If your child says he wants to sit up late, ask him whether he would need anything. Do not stay up unless he wants you to.
Focus on the child's as well as own nutrition. Avoid foods like halwa, biryani, etc. as they will make the kid feel lethargic. Ensure that the child eats in moderation.
Do one thing that gives you joy every day. Encourage the same in your child.
Provide guidance when it comes to your child's social interactions. For example, if you feel he/she is wasting a lot of time talking to a particular friend, gently steer him/her towards pending lessons.
Maintain a congenial atmosphere at home.
Tips for children
Don't waste too much time on one subject or topic.
Be honest to your tutors.
Take small breaks in between your studies. But don't let your breaks become longer than your study time.
Don't bother about how much you'll get, just focus on present portion.
Meet relatives and friends who are positive, who talk about today, not yesterday and tomorrow.
How exams affect parents?
The emotional stress that the parents go through can lead to one or more of the following symptoms:
Cough and cold
Irritability towards each other
Aches and pains all over the body
Stressed parents affect children
If a parent is getting unduly emotionally stressed before exams, the child is likely to experience:
Lack of desire to study
Periods of memory lapses
Inability to concentrate for long periods
Ailments like headache, body ache, mild fever, cough or cold