6 ways parents can support their children's mental health during exam season - Hindustan Times

6 ways parents can support their children's mental health during exam season

By, New Delhi
Apr 25, 2024 10:18 AM IST

From emotional support to practical assistance, here are some key ways you can support your child's mental wellbeing as they navigate through exams.

The academic distress and the unsurmountable pressure that students face during competitive exam preparation have far-reaching effects on their overall mental well-being. Parental support and guidance play a crucial role in helping these young minds navigate the uncertain waters of life and the complexities of the challenges they face during their formative years. In many ways, parental support acts as a safety net for the students during these trying times. While parental involvement correlates with students' academic achievement, studies reveal significant disparities in engagement levels influenced by parents's socioeconomic status. Exploring the specific forms of involvement valued by students is crucial, as it can inform strategies to better support those from disadvantaged backgrounds. (Also read: 11 stress management tips for board exam students )

Exam season can be a challenging time for students, with stress levels running high and pressure mounting. (Freepik)
Exam season can be a challenging time for students, with stress levels running high and pressure mounting. (Freepik)

How Parents Can Foster Mental Strength During Exam Time

Neeraj Kumar, Founder and CEO, PeakMind shared with HT Lifestyle the multifarious dimensions of parental engagement and its profound impact on students’ mental health.

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1. Emotional Support

Parental involvement serves as a pillar of emotional support for students facing the stressors of exam preparation. The empathetic presence of parents provides a safe haven for adolescents to express their anxieties, fears, and uncertainties without the fear of being judged.

By fostering open communication channels, parents create a conducive environment where children feel valued, understood, and validated in their emotions. This emotional reservoir that parents provide plays a pivotal role in alleviating the psychological burden, offering students a sense of reassurance and building resilience to cope with the pressures that they are faced with.

2. Coping Mechanisms

Moreover, parental engagement facilitates the cultivation of effective coping mechanisms for stress management. Through constructive dialogue and active listening, parents can impart invaluable coping strategies to help their children navigate challenges effectively. Encouraging mindfulness practices, relaxation techniques, and time-management skills equips students with the tools to maintain a balanced approach toward exam preparation, thereby mitigating the detrimental effects of chronic stress on mental health.

3. Practical Assistance

Parental involvement extends beyond emotional support to encompass practical assistance in academic planning and revision strategies. Collaborative efforts between parents and students in devising study schedules, setting realistic goals, and identifying resources for academic support foster a sense of shared responsibility toward academic success. By actively engaging in the learning process, parents demonstrate their commitment to their child's educational journey, instilling a sense of accountability and motivation in students to strive for excellence.

4. Holistic Wellbeing

Additionally, parental involvement serves as a catalyst for promoting a healthy work-life balance during exam preparation. Encouraging students to prioritize self-care activities, leisure pursuits, and social interactions outside the realm of academics fosters holistic well-being and prevents burnout.

5. Teaching by Example

W.E.B. Dubois, American sociologist and historian rightly said that ‘Children learn more from what you are than what you teach’. By modelling a balanced lifestyle, parents impart valuable life lessons on the importance of self-care and stress management, laying the foundation for lifelong habits conducive to mental wellness. Children learn more by example than by instruction.

6. Destigmatizing Mental Health

Parents play a pivotal role in destigmatizing mental health discussions within the family. By fostering an open and non-judgmental environment to discuss mental health concerns, parents empower their children to seek help when needed and access appropriate support services. Normalizing conversations around mental well-being reduces the stigma associated with seeking help, thereby facilitating early intervention and preventive measures to safeguard student mental health during exam preparation.

"Parental involvement plays an indispensable role in nurturing children’s mental health, providing an essential foundation for their overall well-being and academic success. Parents act as primary caregivers and role models, exerting a profound influence on their children's emotional and psychological development. Engaging them in their child's educational journey creates a supportive network that extends beyond the classroom, reinforcing positive behaviours and coping mechanisms. However, collaborative efforts between parents, educators, and policymakers are essential in fostering a supportive educational environment that prioritizes children’s holistic development and well-being," says Neeraj Kumar.

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