“I Should Have Stopped Comparing My Child With His Tuition Friends” - A Mom Confesses.
Created by Soma Sarkar Updated on Aug 06, 2020
“A mother’s treasure is her child” – this quote is my motto in life. These 6 words perfectly resonate what I feel for my son. Now, as a mother, I always want the best for my child – be it studies, health, sports or overall well-being. I always encourage him to be the best. However, in my attempt to be encouraging, I started comparing him to his peers. I thought comparing will trigger the wish to be better than everyone. Unfortunately, I was wrong. In my quest to want the best for my only child, I somewhere lost the main purpose of being a mom who is ought to be supportive and motivating in all situations for her child – good, bad, ugly.
When it came to my son’s studies, I was very aggressive in terms of getting him the best school, best teachers, best facilities, best reference books, best school projects and the list goes on. I always emphasized him on being a topper in everything he does. Nonetheless, I didn't even realize that I had started imposing the concept of 'being the best' on him by constantly comparing him to his tuition friends and fellow classmates unless one day his tuition teacher called me...
It was few days before the board exams. My son and husband had left for school and work respectively. Sharma Sir called me and asked me to come and see him. I asked him, “Is everything alright Sir?” He responded, “Mrs. Sarkar, I would rather discuss over a cup of tea. Please come today. It is about your son and it is serious.”
Immediately after I hung up, I started hyperventilating. I called my husband and he asked me to meet Sharma Sir at once. And so, I went.
“Mrs. Sarkar board exams are just around the corner and your son is performing very poorly in all subjects. In fact, his concentration, writing speed, memorising capability and logical reasoning power is becoming less polished by every passing week. He used to be a bright boy. What happened to him? I tried speaking to him and I could understand, he is under tremendous pressure for being a topper. Apparently, you keep comparing his marks with his fellow tuition-mates’ marks. And, he says, he is afraid that if he doesn’t come first in his class, you might be disappointed in him. I think he is getting stressed because of your high expectations. Comparing only demeans and kills confidence,” explained Sharma Sir.
I heard him. I had nothing to say. I was in utter shock. I cannot imagine my son performing poorly in all subjects. He is my treasure and a bright one too! How did I not realize what I was doing? How did I let him fall into the pit of stress? I started thinking over and over again of what went wrong! My child’s education is the top priority for me. I still remember how I struggled to get him admission in the best school in town; oh! It was the most painstaking job I ever did.
I came back home and reflected on what I heard and what all I did so far. Right from standard 1, I was fierce when it came to making my boy score full marks in all subjects. To deal with my curious demons, I used to find out his classmates’ marks from fellow mommies and compare performances. I was an average student back in school. So, I didn’t want history to repeat itself because I wanted my son to grow up and get an abundance of great opportunities. But, for that to happen, I pinned down everything on marks. I started the rat race for my son and I made him compete along with me. Poor thing! I felt so bad that day. Whenever my son didn’t want to study or craved for an extra hour of playing or watching the TV, I ensured I made his study schedule stricter, put him on tuition classes and etcetera. That seemed to be the best and most promising solution to me. I was so wrong.
Children need to find their own calling. I want my child to figure out his own path now. I don’t want him to see exams and studies wearing my glasses. He is his own mind and I
decided to nurture that.
I was blinded by the concept of being the best. I made my son part of this vicious circle of scoring marks. I made him believe that success equals to good marks. Being a good boy equals to topping the class.
Later that day, when my son came back home. I sat him down and had a heart-to-heart conversation with him. I told him what Sharma Sir said. I told him how I was wrong to have made him believe that if he doesn’t score great marks, I will be disappointed in him. I told him, no matter how he scores, I’ll always be there to support him, give him strength and share his joys and sorrows. I promised him, I will be part of all is successes and failures; after all, he is my treasure. Remember?
My husband came home later that evening. I told him what all happened. He said I did the right thing. Oh, I was so relieved to hear that. We all had a lovely dinner, followed by two rounds of Ludo.
Ever since then, life has been kind. My son’s board exam went very well. These days, we are spending a lot more time playing badminton, reading storybooks together and sometimes binge-watching TV.
So, mommies, if your son or daughter is going to appear for board exams next year make sure you stay calm, focused, loving and supportive. Bring in a positive paradigm shift in your approach towards studies, marks and success. Grades are just numbers; success or individuality is much larger-than-life. Encourage your child to have a hobby; make sure he/she gets some kind of physical activity each day, even if it is during exam time. Do not compare, scold or judge for poor marks – it just breaks their hearts. And lastly, have some faith in your little one!
Was this blog helpful to you? In fact, I would insist you watch this video to understand what your child may feel due to exam pressure. Click here to realise it for yourself
Disclaimer:This is an initiative by Mirinda to help parents support their child to beat the exam stress. Opinions expressed above are independent opinions of the author.