WHEN children reach the age of 7-8 years, they are forced by their parents to learn the ways of being successful. Some would call them tricks, not ways, and not entirely without justification. The children are put in a world of competition; their parents treat them like machines that only understand the language of success. They are never taught about failure. In fact, the word failure does not even exist for most of the parents when it comes to dealing with the affairs related to their children.
The parents never fail to have unnecessarily high expectations of their children and want them to excel in their educational and professional lives. Sometimes, these unrealistic expectations create stress and anxiety among the children. Students’ emotional and mental wellbeing are compromised by this constant pressure to achieve what their parents desire.
It is awful that scoring maximum marks in exams is considered a sign of success. Many parents pay attention to the priorities and skills of their children. Unfortunately, in Pakistan, the parents mostly decide the future of their children. They force their children to opt for a selected number of fields. And when the children do not achieve the anticipated level of grades and positions, their parents feel unhappy and downhearted. The relationships between the parents and the children become miserable because of unrealistic and high expectations.
The parents need to change their definition of success. They should support their children even when they are unable to achieve the expected grades and ranks in a competition. There is life beyond what we generally refer to as ‘success’. The parents should not criticise the children in such situations; they should appreciate their hard work and motivate them to try harder.
Many students have secured low marks and failed in the recent medical and dental college admission test (MDCAT) held by the Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) despite their strenuous efforts. These students need motivation and support from their parents in such a situation.
The parents must realise that even if the children do not pass the said exam, they will get other opportunities in life to be successful. Options are always there.
Published in Dawn, October 23rd, 2021