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The Pressure on Kids to Be The Best
As a parent, nothing can bring you as much joy as your kids succeeding in their endeavours, giving you the opportunity to show off their victories! But while his great report card might bring you immense happiness, your child may not have been at peace in his pursuit of the top grades in his class. Owing to the growing level of competition in today’s world, kids are constantly under pressure to do well. While raising kids to be successful and encouraging them to meet their potential is the responsibility of the parents and is absolutely necessary, pushing them to achieve unrealistic heights is what makes them buckle under pressure.
Success Cannot Be Attributed to Intelligence Alone
Achieving success is often credited with possessing intelligence, which is a misunderstanding. A child’s IQ usually measures his ability to solve theoretical problems, which means that it does not measure the child’s emotional quotient, his imagination, or his creativity. It was seen through a study conducted over more than three decades and reported in the Scientific American, that children who believed that they were smart did not see room for improvement. This limited their learning and their possibility for development too; whereas those who understood that their intelligence had to be challenged constantly with new learnings had more of a ‘growth mentality’, which means they focused on self-improvement and adapting to the situation around them. Intelligence, therefore, is a bonus factor; possessing other qualities whether social or emotional over and above his intellectual abilities as measured in the form of IQ, is often what helps the child work in the direction of his goal and do well at it. Raising a successful kid, therefore entails more responsibilty than simply helping to enlarge their intellect.
Side-effects of the Pressure to Be an All-Rounder Kid
Today, children are not just expected to outshine their peers in their studies, but in every field, be it sports, or co- and extra-curricular activities. Putting undue pressure on a child to do well in everything he participates in, adds to the burden already weighing down on his little shoulders. What makes it worse is when parents focus only on the academic or achievement track record of their child, without checking whether if their kids are growing up to be good people; street-smart, practical, and with a willingness to help others. Excessive pressure from parents could also give rise to the following problems in the long run:
- If your child feels that he cannot afford to disappoint you, he may feel the need to resort to unethical methods to achieve his desired results, such as cheating on a paper to ensure a higher grade. This could, in turn, lead to serious problems as he advances in age, such as resorting to alcohol and substance and abuse if the stress is too high for him to deal with.
- He learns to comply, but not to take his own decisions. When a child is subjected to his parents’ demands of continuous studying and following the path they carve out for him in every matter, they learn to respond to commands, but not situations. Since the real world doesn’t come with ready-made instructions, it challenges these kids in the future when they have to make their own choices, and rely on themselves.
- When you get overly involved in every activity of your child, you limit his participation in that activity. This takes control of the situation away from the child and his learning is also inhibited. In the future, this can lead to poor judgment, or lashing out by not controlling his impulses.
- Another potential side-effect of parental pressure is when your child grows up with the mentality that failure is not an option. When growth is not the focus in the child’s mind, he refuses to accept defeat in what he does. This becomes more harmful further down the line, as even when he is on the brink of failure, he may feel trapped but would rather suffer, than to reach out and admit that he is in trouble.
- Constant pressure throughout childhood can also manifest in the child as a need for validation. His self-esteem is determined by someone else’s acknowledgement of their work, as opposed to the amount and quality of work he has put in. Any criticism passed on to such a person could be perceived as destructive, rather than a motivation to do better.
Watch: #ReleaseThePressure – Open Letter from Kids to Parents
Mirinda came up with the hashtag #ReleaseThePressure, in this video below, where they have dramatized content based on open letters by teenagers to their parents.
- A few teenagers write letters to their parents on how the pressure to succeed in their studies has left them feeling completely helpless.
- They mention that they feel less close to their parents, and are terrified of disappointing them too.
- Another important point brought up by one student was how comparing her to somebody else affects her too.
- The video is an eye-opener to the effects of pressuring kids to achieve academic success.
Do it Right – 15 Tips to Raise Well-Rounded, Smart, and Successful Kids
A well-rounded person is someone who is capable or knowledgeable about different things, and is a success in his personal life as well. Pressure and comparison, while providing negative motivation, will not help to bring out the best in your kids while they strive to achieve success; neither can it guarantee that they grow up to be well-rounded individuals. There are much healthier methods by which you can raise your kids to become smart and kind folks, who are assets to society.
1. Become Your Little One’s Strongest Support System
Build a conducive environment at home for your child to fearlessly explore his interests. Your child should feel confident about his abilities, his ambitions, and most of all, grow to understand the way to pick himself up even if he has failed. This helps him grow as an individual, discover various facets of his identity, understand that the cliched ‘failure is the stepping stone to success’ is true, and that he always has you to fall back on.
2. Let Your Kid Find His Own Identity
Start early – right from a young age, let him explore various choices and interests on his own, provided that they are age-appropriate and safe. Don’t restrict your child from treading into activities which are conventionally gender-specific. A boy can like plenty of worse things than the colour pink! Keep calm and stay patient as he experiments and understands what he enjoys and can identify with best. The media today provides an influx of information which kids see and incorporate in their life, which can distort the way they form their identity. Ensure that you are aware of the digital information your child is exposed to, to ensure that he establishes his identity in a healthy manner.
3. Applaud Efforts, Not Abilities
When you praise your child’s dedication and his efforts in accomplishing something, as opposed to his innate talent, it gives him the impression that as long as he works hard towards what he wants, he can achieve that goal. Whether or not he has a natural ability for it becomes immaterial to him, as he will put in additional hours and efforts if required. This makes him more well-rounded and more confident, as he becomes open to trying out several different activities.
4. Keep His Curiosity Alive
Kids are forever wondering about the how’s and what’s of the world around them. Never let this wonderful trait subside, as it encourages learning and makes for great teaching opportunities. Don’t dismiss his questions or shush him; instead, answer him respectfully, or ask his opinion on what he thinks – and slip in a lesson or two, if possible!
5. Get Started on Reading Habits – It’s Never Too Early
Reading opens up worlds of imagination like nothing else. Not only is it a necessary life-skill, but reading to your child daily creates a wonderful bond between you both, promotes the development of their language and literacy skills, and it becomes a session for both of you to look forward to! Introduce him to stories with morals and teach him why it’s necessary to do the right thing through story-telling. For the tech-savvy parents out there, there are kid-friendly YouTube videos and channels that you can watch with them as well; just ensure that it doesn’t become a substitute for reading books!
6. Understand Different Learning Styles
Not every child has a photographic memory; neither can they all take to fractions the very first time. Kids have different learning styles and while it’s difficult for teachers to focus on each child in school, you can revise your child’s lessons with him in a style that suits him. Whether visual, auditory, or tactile techniques, or a mix of the three, you’ll see that your child takes more interest in the learning process once he’s able to relate to it!
7. Encourage Communication
Keeping lines of communication open between you and your child is critical, because he should feel like he can approach you for any matter without fear or embarrassment. Communication is a two-way street; kids should be taught how to talk, as well as to listen to others. With pre-schoolers or slightly older children, you can ask them to repeat what you’ve said to ensure that they were listening. Even if they weren’t, let them tell you that they didn’t hear what you said. Growing up, listening becomes a valuable quality in any environment.
8. Ensure Healthy Bedtime Habits
Young ones need their rest in their developing years. Make sure that your child gets the necessary hours of sleep recommended for his age, as it plays a major role in developing his cognitive abilities. Identify if your child seems to be facing any sort of sleep-related difficulty, however minor it may be, as it can impact his cognitive abilities.
9. Make Them Participate in Team-Sports
Apart from the exercise that games provide to get your little one moving, they also teach him to abide by rules, play as part of a team and be responsible for his actions, and develop qualities of sportsmanship. It teaches him to lose gracefully, and instills the importance of practice to become good at what he does.
10. Teach Him The Value of Friendship
While competition should be encouraged among kids, ensure that it is kept healthy and does not teach your child to damage relationships with his peers. Teach him that friendship is valuable, and that ego or the need to do better should not come in between him and his friends.
11. Teach Them to Be Respectful of Others
This involves setting boundaries from a very young age regarding several matters, be it talking to someone; letting someone else talk and learning to listen; accepting feedback even though it may not always be praise; helping around the household; being polite to not just elders, but everyone around him; and so on. Children observe their parents very carefully and tend to mimic their actions; so ensure that you’re setting the right example for your child!
12. Introduce Him to the Field of Arts
Whether its music, dance, drawing, or any such art form, it provides for a creative outlet through which the child can express himself and also boosts his auditory and cognitive development. In fact, some studies show that babies who had listened to “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” while they were still in the womb responded to the original song once they were born, which showed that they recognized and remembered the tune. Growing up, he can pursue it further if he is interested or has a natural affinity for this. One thing to remember here is to never pressurise the child into enjoying something, as this can ruin his interest. It should be treated as a fun extra-curricular activity and as a break from the routine of school subjects.
13. Provide Exposure to Various Cultures and Environments
As much as possible, travel with your child. Teach him how there are different kinds of people living in different conditions, and how he can learn from them. Let him develop his knowledge of the world and learn not to become judgmental of something that he is not familiar with. As he grows up, these experiences prove to be a solid foundation for his interactions with the world around him.
14. Shower Him with Affection
Being a positive force in your child’s life and showing signs of your affection builds their confidence and optimism. It helps them know that they are safe in your hands and can come to you with any problems that they face. The positivity they receive from you becomes a character trait in them, that they can share with the world around them. Studies have shown that adults who had received warmth and affection from their parents in their childhood are now happier and less anxious than the adults who weren’t raised with affection.
15. Do Not Be An Overprotective Parent
While your natural instinct may be to ensure that your child is doing fine in everything he does, sometimes it’s best to watch from the sidelines, even if it means your child fails. By doing so, it helps him realise that challenges are part of life and that he has to learn to cope with them. Don’t lose to them on purpose at board games, or run to him as soon as he trips on the playground. You’ll be surprised to see how resilient kids truly are!
8 Things to Do During Pregnancy to Get a Brilliant Child
It’s common knowledge that your behaviour during your pregnancy can affect your child in numerous ways. This is applicable to everything you eat, drink, feel, and even think! You can start creating a bond with your baby while he is the womb and can do certain things that will contribute to his mental and physical development.
- Your baby can hear and respond to sound within the womb. Talking to him gently, rubbing your belly fondly, playing light music, smelling fruits, flowers and other pleasant aromas; all of these stimulate the baby’s different senses and helps in his brain’s development. This is also a way to bond with your little one from early on.
- Omega 3 fatty acids contribute to your baby’s brain development significantly. Make sure to include plenty of Omega 3 rich fish, eggs, walnuts, flax seeds, or even supplements. Iron, which helps the flow of oxygen to the baby’s brain, can be found in leafy vegetables.
- Keep a check on your weight, as overweight pregnant women can give birth prematurely. A foetus requires the 40-41 weeks in your womb for its whole and healthy development, for which care must be taken by the mother to have a healthy diet.
- Smoking and drinking are to be completely avoided while pregnant as it can considerably harm the baby’s brain cells.
- Consider basking in the sun in the early hours of the morning when its rays are not too harsh. Vitamin D is a great source for healthy bones, and a lack of it can be harmful to the mother and baby, both physically and mentally. Turn to the sun for your daily dose of this nutrient.
- Keep a check of your thyroid levels too, as too much or too little is a problem. A deficiency can lead to a lower IQ of the baby. Sodium rich foods, iodized salt, yogurt, and milk can contribute to healthy thyroid levels.
- Working out for a minimum of 30 minutes daily releases moderate amounts of the stress hormone called cortisol, which has been seen to boost the developments of the baby’s brain and several other organs.
- Don’t forget about the necessary supplements that can help your baby. Consult with your doctor to understand what your body requires, and incorporate them into your daily routine.
How Being a Well-Rounded Child will Help Your Kid in Future
As mentioned earlier, success is not linked only to intelligence or brain-power. When the child is able to dabble in different activities, works hard to achieve his goals, rises again after failure, and use his strengths to help the people around him as well, he can be called a well-rounded child. Such individuals ensure that they are not stunted by resources and make the best of opportunities that come their way, while also contributing to the community around them. They are able to identify what they are good at, and can bank on their support systems to keep them going too. When it is time to face the real world, such kids will be able to take on the challenges that come their way, and be positive about it as well!