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Essential Rules of Parenting: Dealing with Your Child's School

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Slide 5

Let Up the Pressure


Your child is going to want to get certain grades at school. Whether it's exams or continuous assessment, whether it's just for the sake of doing well or whether they actually need the grades in order to pass the subject or get on to the course they want -- they will have to pass and maybe pass particularly well.

They know this. The teachers keep telling them. Their friends keep telling them. They keep telling themselves. They don't need you to tell them as well. Too much pressure can be counter-productive, and it can cause genuine and sometimes serious psychological problems for children.

You need to think about how stressed your children are about the whole exam thing. It's quite probable that already they're feeling the pressure a bit too much, even without your contribution. So rather than adding to the pressure, you need to add a bit of perspective instead. Look, it's hard to see past the end of school when you're a kid, and your job is to reassure your child that there are more important things in life than academic achievement, and that people who fail exams are just as likely to go on to become happy, fulfilled grown-ups. Yes if they do well in their exams, that will be wonderful, but if they don't, the world won't fall apart. If the poor child is already under too much strain, then you need to say something to take the pressure off, and actually give him a better chance of succeeding, rather than having a breakdown. And if that means reassuring him that it'll be okay whatever happens, then that's what you do.

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From The Rules of Parenting Copyright © 2008, FT Press. Used by permission of FT Press, and Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

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