January 2014 Aren’t you glad that we have never pressurised you to do anything?” asked Mrs. Gupta to her 15-year-old son, Vikhil, a tenth grader, for the nth time. She then shared how much her parents had pressurised her when at school to score high. The Board examinations were about to start in a month’s time. Vikhil’s big brother had topped the entire district three years back in class X, and had repeated the same feat in the class XII boards. Vikhil thought to himself that he was lucky that his parents were not pressurising him to do as well. He had shared this with his friends, and they too considered him really lucky. And yet he could not understand why he felt suffocated and entrapped. Everyone at home was going out of their way to make him feel relaxed. Yet he was getting more and more nervous as the countdown to the exams began. When he could not get to the root of his feelings, he consulted the school counselor. After hearing him out, it was clear to her what the problem was. She counselled him, and ensured that he was free of the troubling feelings before the Board exams commenced. Vikhil’s problem is very common to kids of this generation. We often come across children who feel pressured by their parents to score above 95 per cent to get into IITs, or medical colleges. Since it is out in the open, children at least know what the source of their pressure is. However, when parents who have themselves suffered from parental pressure decide not to repeat the same mistake with their own child, and yet he suffers, then we need to have a closer look at the issue. Children need not be reminded every now and then by their parents that they are under no pressure. This conveys to them that a privilege has been provided to them, and if they do not perform well, they have failed their parents, as well as the privilege. The numerous reminders, and the public boasting in front of others, is in no way different from being pushed into performing. The ‘no pressure’ tactic is more like a hidden influence to ensure the desired output. Parents, hands off! - Urja Kumar, Yamuna Nagar
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