Clearing my head

Clearing my head

…. that’s exactly what I’m trying to do through this post today. A few weeks back I shared my anxieties regrading the twin’s academics  – how they seemed completely unconcerned while I was losing sleep (and hair in equal measure). 

A mum blogger, Suchitra raised a point in the comments.
She said, “I wonder sometimes if it’s just us trying to impose our insecurities on our kids because what they do and how they do it reflects on us and how we raise them.”
It made me think. Am I pushing the kids solely for their sake or also because their performance proves my credentials as a good parent – to myself and maybe to others too?
Will it matter to them whether they scored a 100 or a 40 in their exam? The truth is I will be more affected than them maybe because the importance of academics hasn’t quite sunk in for them.
Good grades are important in that they are an indicator of a good education. And they make me come through as a good parent. And both those make me happy. The two motivations are so closely entwined it is tough to separate one from the other. They are almost the same thing. Almost.
It really is a thin line, because when the children do well it automatically makes me look like a good parent. The important bit is to make sure the focus remains on them and not on me – on their progress and happiness rather than on how I am contributing to it.
It is easy to confuse the two and to begin to do things for them, to choose paths for them that make me happy or make me feel like a good parent, in the belief that it makes them happy too. The grades are just one instance.
However, as they grow up, I need to remind myself, that they are not solely a product of my parenting – not their grades, nor their talents, definitely not their likes and dislikes or their personalities or even how they turn out, finally. It is important to recognise them as separate people guided by myriad influences.
In other words to not be an obsessive mom!
I am not as evolved as all of that. But recognising that it needs to happen will put me on the path to making it happen soon enough. Hopefully.

Picture credit: PIXABAY

And also with Mel at  Microblog Mondays.

43 Replies to “Clearing my head”

  1. This is such an insightful piece, and holds so much truth. Funnily enough my 6 year old was being cheeky before in front of a guest and although I know he is still learning how to behave in many ways I felt like it reflected badly on me. Silly isn't it. Wonderfully written post, thanks for sharing it on #mg

    1. That's the point I was making. It's not just the grades – it's everything – the way they behave and conduct themselves – we feel all of it reflects on us. Some of it does of course but definitely not all of it. And that's what we have to remember.

  2. It is not always right to judge parental performance
    Encouraging child to get good grades is fine, as long as we dont go overboard making the child feel stressed. At the same time, I wouldnt want to judge it as a parents performance. Parenting is a tough job indeed.

    But for me a good parent is someone who encourages ….

  3. its basically abt giving your best and staying focused. Grades really don't matter to me but effort certainly does. I feel putting your best effort does form a very basic foundation for life.

  4. In my opinion , its not poor grades but the cause of poor grades , which should matter. If the poor grades are only because of lack of focus and discipline, that's unacceptable to me. I agree that great grades don't guarantee the best of knowledge of that subject but they do signify the effort, hard work and sincerity put in by the student. I personally feel that trying to do good in academics forms a foundation for some basic traits which help the child become a more successful adult in all fields of life.

    1. You said it Jyoti. That's my concern too – I push the kids not just for the grades but the fact that they need to learn to work hard to achieve a goal. That is a lesson they need to learn.

  5. I am not a parent yet but I already imagine that my kids will win olympic gold medal ���� I can see how difficult it must be for you to disconnect from the expectations of the world and solely look at the happiness and development of your kids, specially when society marks the good parenting based on how much the kids score. Take it easy i would say, but easier said than done.

    1. Exactly Raj. This whole idea of a 'good upbringing' gets to me. Judging a parent by the child's performance is just so natural that its scary.

  6. Grades and being good in academics are important but the question, as you have rightly raised, is – Is it worth losing our sleep over it being parents? The important thing to always remember is if we are getting stressed and start pushing our children, there will more repulsion from their side and in that case not only the studies but also the relationship gets affected. I am coming from the same space when D was not able to write in LKG and thus did not want to write and his notebooks came filled with remarks 'make him practice at home and give him more practice.' Such remarks came across as dents on my heart. I burnt myself with agony until one day I said to myself he has his whole life to write so it doesn't matter if his cursive letters look like overflowing rivers and rockets zooming out of the 4 lines. I know this was a small thing and there will be bigger challenges when he gets to the age of 10-11. And then I will have to remember he is a separate person guided by myriad influences.

    1. Oh yes. I know of a friend whose some repeated jr kg because he simply refused to write. There really is no point in losing sleep over things like this.

  7. Tulika this is such an important reminder for all of us….to recognise when we are about to cross that thin line and shifting focus from their good to showing off our good parenting skills…that is and will always be the challenge… But having this thought at the back of our mind is the first step to ensuring we stay on course…thank you for writing about this…it's very helpful

    1. Exactly. I am hoping I never lose sight of the fact that it is their happiness that is paramount rather than how their performance affects me.

  8. It's an interesting question, and I think our own insecurities come into play, BUT I also think a lot of it is about wanting our kids to have a limitless future. And we know that grades can either open doors or close them.

  9. Are good grades really indicators of a good education? I beg to differ, Tulika. I've seen school dropouts and others who are much better informed and aware than many people with great grades!

    1. Maybe that's true Corinne. I assumed they do for the purpose of this post. That is a whole different post in itself – this obsession with grades.

  10. This is a great post. As parents we all put pressure on our children based on our own emotional needs. Acknowledging that and attempting to reduce it is all to the good. When I was training in psychotherapy the tutor said that the best way to parent was to not be attached to our child's outcome. It is great advice but one that is hard to achieve. I am sure many of us as parents feel this pressure as we all went through an education system that places grades above learning and conformity above individuality. I do think there is a balance to be had though.

    1. Oh yes it is very very hard to not be attached to the outcome, specially when you also have the job of pushing the child to achieve something. Also, his happiness matters so much to you that you do not want to take a risk or even let him take a risk. It's fear that causes all that stress.

  11. The problem is our system that judges based on grades and marks, and then there are teachers constantly nagging, thereby transferring the pressure on parents too. Today, parents stress over their kindergartener's exams and it is so sad.

    You, Tulika, are a wise mama!

    1. Vidya it's just that I KNOW things, following them is a whole different thing. I do get caught up in the stress and I do push the kids. The good thing is I realise it often enough and back off.

  12. I know it's hard being a Mum. There must be so much pressure but letting the children figure out things on their own is the best thing over. I am so glad you are that Mum.

  13. Very well said, Tulika! This is so thoughtful. As a parent, we need to be strict at times, but too much pressure affects children's mental growth.

    Some schools overdo, and we feel forced to keep the pace. A 4y old takes exams every other day (She is always preparing for some test). They are so much concerned about syllabus and all that (for a 4y old). It surprises me!

  14. I guess it only makes sense to motivate kids to do well in academics, when they really can't understand a concept. Learning concepts is way more important than mugging things up and getting good marks. And also, understanding how to apply concepts is even more important.
    From the point of view of a student, I feel that marks are only important to prove to others about your knowledge bank. And of course, getting admission for different courses.

    1. Unfortunately our education system often confuses grades with learning and that makes things difficult for children as well as parents.

  15. It is so difficult to totally disconnect yourself as a parent. I won't lie as a parent hope they turn out is a reflection on me. My middle class roots make me treasure academics and my many tales with the kids have emphasised the importance of this. That said, like l mentioned to you, l am not taking stress just now. The younger son is in 4th and is perhaps not as organized and sterling in his studies as l was or his brother is. But who cares? There will be a time in his life when he will come into his own. I am confident of that. And if he does not, we will cross that bridge when the time comes. Till then l don't want to be this controlling, hyper mum. If he gets lower grades so be it. I am only guiding him gently these days. I will tell you to try the same. You will see how studies will become a source of less stress for both the parties then. Take care.

    1. Knowing the right thing to do and actually doing are two such different things, aren't they? Many many times I know I should stay away, wait for the children to figure things out for themselves and yet I lose patience and give in.

  16. I may be wrong, but I think it's every parents story. A story that needs to be changed so that their little ones are able to bloom into individuals having their own identities and experiences that help them pave their way ahead.

  17. I totally agree with you. It takes a lot of conscious thought to see why we are pushing our kids to outdo their performances both academically and in every other area of their lives. It is just too easy to miss the mark and go overboard.
    I am with you in keeping a close check on our moves and allow the kids enough room to perform well on their own, inspiring them, without being pushy.

  18. You are absolutely right and well done for being honest and recognising it. Life isn't all about grades anyway, but it is easy to get sucked in to other parents' anxieties as well and before you know it you are obsessing about things that actually will sort themselves out. Sometimes, taking a step back and listening to peoples' perspectives who are at a different stage can help. Good luck. Alison x #mg

  19. Thats why here we have Grades and not marks .. which i like because in india and i heard in Australia too ,, too much emphasis is given on MARKS.. and i cant understand HOW can a person get 98+ in English language , THe only subject one can get that much is MAths..

    So that is what is mindboggling how is it possible.. We do tend to put too much pressure on kids , my sister has put my niece for tuition and I dont agree with ti , she stays at school till 4pm then comes home for tuition .. WHY.. when is the little girl going to live her childhood …

    Kids will be kids I think they will learn more if they themselves want to learn we cant force it into them .. 🙂


  20. Hugs, Tulika. You only want the best for them as any other parent and it is so good that you realize all this. Not many do and end up being truly obsessive in ways that harm children. I hope to not be obsessive too. We need to do it for them and for our well being too. <3

  21. Love this post because it's exactly how I feel this year. Have let go and allowed Gy to study. It's not a reflection on my parenting. Ever. I'm so glad you think the same now. Big hugs 🙂

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