All around us we see a competitive world and every day we observe just how competitive it could get. The educational sector is no exception to this, students are tested, and high flyers rewarded which breeds competition. Positive competition is good as it plays a role in setting a benchmark for success however unhealthy competition could mount pressure that could lead to stress and depression.
Research has shown that testing can produce anxiety in students and can lower students’ self-esteem and increases their fear of failure. The situation may be more difficult for students when their families pressurize them to attain higher grades in their examination.
Every student has majorly 3 agents of socialization that can influence them; parents, teachers and peers. All three could put pressure on a student’s education, most especially parents. Parental pressure causes a rather irreparable damage to the personalities of some students, leading to the rising number of youth suicides being reported from across the country.
A study by Irfan and Hussain (2014) on 200 students revealed that parental pressure increased anxiety, stress and depression in students. They also identified some of the reasons for parental pressure as; social respect, parent’s investments on children’s education, need for scholarship, expectations etc.
Another challenge relates to how parents fast track their children’s education. Intelligence doesn’t mean speed. Beyond excelling educationally, maturity plays a very important role in a child’s upbringing. Even though the educational curriculum has been designed to encourage all round growth, sometimes these children lack the emotional intelligence or maturity to handle critical life issues that they would encounter. Often, these fast-tracked educational systems have its roots in parental pressure. “Why can’t my child take the common entrance from primary four after all other children are?” A child could be in the university at a very young age yet lacking a certain understanding about life and its principles. Peer pressure and other youthful vices would therefore become the order of the day in the child’s life.
Regardless of the system adopted in educating students, as parents, teachers and guardians, it is important to remember that each child is unique and avoid comparing or using other students as a benchmark for yours. Pay critical attention to your child and ensure they have everything to make them a total child.
Another way to encourage students without pressuring them is to find out what their interests are and work at relating it to their academics. This will get them to love learning and excel at it. It would help sharpen these interests to be translated to meaningful life purpose. Parents should work hand in hand with teachers and the schools in knowing the learning pattern of the student and working together to ensure each student gets the needed attention and guidance to help them succeed.