Parents – Confront the reality! Snap out of the ‘Top Marks Syndrome’


Problems and challenges come unannounced and throw us off balance. And facing the challenge with equanimity and poise itself is a huge challenge for most of us.

Perhaps as parents we knew our child was not taking his academics seriously. We anticipated such a scenario at a sub conscious level. Perhaps as overprotective overzealous parents we pushed our child to do his best and prove his worth by performing well. Nothing wrong with the intention. We know the reality – the competition is indeed tough and the admission rigmarole can sap the energy out of the best of us.

Weep a pail full. Weep several pails full if it helps you come to terms with the situation. Weep for several days and a couple of weeks if you wish. Then get it out of your system. It’s time to draw a line to the past and look ahead! Confront your fears, hold the hands of your youngster firmly in your hands and move on.

A little deviation may help you through this process. Yes – I am addressing you – the parent this time. Just think back. How much did you score in the third unit test in Geography in the second semester ninth grade exams? What was your score in the first semester exam of ninth grade in Math? Well I don’t remember too! All I know is that I too was an average student who scored well below average scores in my 12th grade. For a very long while I – as a student grappled with a big sense of low self-esteem.  I did my graduation in Physics and got admission only because a lot of topper students got into engineering and there were quite a few vacant seats. I ended up teaching English for almost two and a half decades and now thrive on writing articles. I am very happy with my career.

Visit your past dear parents. Yes, times have changed. We only feel that we are facing bigger challenges. Our parents went through equally tough times and they faced as many challenges as we are facing today. Only thing is that they have forgotten about it because it all happened a long while ago.

I had to take 3 months off from my full time teaching position because I could sense that my son was not imbibing the concepts properly in his school. Instead of blaming others we decided that I would teach him at home till he appeared for his board exams. We did our best – both my son and I. But as mentioned earlier – it is next to impossible to cram a year’s worth of academics of around 8 – 10 subjects within 3 months. He ended up with slightly above average marks in grade 12.

It was then that I realized that children have their own capacity to imbibe knowledge. Yes – that is a very difficult concept for us to digest. We refuse to acknowledge the reality and that is our biggest problem.  How can all the students out there be toppers? We know the answer to that question but conveniently believe that it does not apply to our child!

Our high expectations from them is not going to boost their IQ in anyway. We have to snap out of our top marks syndrome and view the situation objectively here. We have to learn the art of NOT:

  • Pressurizing them from the minute they enter the institution called school.
  • Depriving them of all the joys of a normal childhood!

Those naïve youngsters don’t know what they are doing wrong and where they going wrong. All they know is that their parents are never happy with the results that they are getting. They crumble and crack under this intense pressure. They understand that their education is costing their parents big bucks. They most sincerely do their utmost to study well. But the grades are always around the same range. We will end with only one question. Who is wrong? The parent or the child? And we leave the answer to you.

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