Stay positive and move ahead

Dr Manu Tiwari

Class 12 results will be out any moment. All those children who have done well, heart-felt congratulations. Those whose result is not up to their expectations, don’t lose heart. Renowned psychiatrist Dr Manu Tiwari talks about how to deal with not-so-good or bad result. Read on….

“Failure is just one more step towards your goal. Even if you don’t farewell today, you will still learn, and that’s very important” told Akanksha’s father to her, before she went to check her  Class 12 Board exam results. Those were the words and a sense of relief prevailed over panic, which had occupied Akanksha’s since last few days, as the result date was nearing.

It is an amazing feeling to share and boast about our children’s accomplishments. We consider it as not only their achievements, rather as events of personal success. In the process, however, we sometimes do not realize the impact of our expectations on children. To add to the children’s woes, often our immediate response is to blame and get overwrought about the future of the kid.

With 12th standard exams being the major stepping stone, children start to dream about their future as a grown up; studying in top colleges and taking up the best career choices. Often with an unexpected bad result the image of that perfect future gets disrupted. For a young budding mind, this instance of failure could leave a scarring impact. This disruption of future image leads the child into a state of hopelessness where for them the possibility of anything good happening seems bleak. Coupled with the culpable feeling deposited on them from parents, could push them in depression or seek refuge in extreme measures.

Some of the common symptoms of a depressive thoughts or depression among adolescents are

Sadness or hopelessness.
Irritability, anger, or hostility.
Tearfulness or frequent crying.
Withdrawal from friends and family.
Loss of interest in activities.
Poor school performance.
Changes in eating and sleeping habits
Gastrointestinal disorders
Suicidal thoughts or wishes for death

What to do when your child is exhibiting these symptoms

Things to do
Be realistic
Comfort the child
Help your child identify and talk about their fears
Help them cope with the peers
Help them identify possible alternate opportunities
Discuss failure objectively
Be present around the child
Remind him of his strengths
Express your love and concern to them verbally

Things not to do
Blame the child
“I told you so”
Comparison with others
Give them labels like, ‘ failure’, ‘disappointment of the family’, ‘disappointment’
Create a hue and cry about the result
Discuss it with multiple people
Leave them sulk in loneliness
Repeatedly bring the subject back in discussion
Telling them that now they will have to compromise

An unsatisfactory exam result can affect your child’s confidence and make him feel dejected and depressed. Hence it is very important that we give the child time to relax and make sure to not let them be too harsh on themselves. It’s our responsibility to remind them that the period of anxiety and pressure will soon pass. Understand that everyone needs time to handle disappointments.

We can help them overcome the gloomy state mind by helping them look beyond the current situation.In the world of innumerable opportunities and ever evolving horizon of new industries and sectors, the restrictive focus of putting too much importance on a 2 digit exam marks, is not the approach to be pursued.Everyone has their own set of skills and uniqueness, we need to explore what we are good at and give it a try. Be open to change, to relocate and life will only have good in store for you.

It is a matter of utmost importance that the child talks about the emotions and fears they are experiencing. Blocking themselves from world would be the natural tendency of a depressed mind. We need make sure that the child is talking to us, a sibling, friends or if need be a professional psychologists. If the child is very apprehensive of opening up to someone, suggest a helpline number.
If you feel the symptoms of homelessness and sadness persist as parents your first step should be to seek professional help.

Dr Manu Tiwari is Senior Consultant Psychiatrist, Fortis Hospital.

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