A couple of weeks ago, Vandana Katoch’s post on social media went viral. This mother-of-two from Delhi was celebrating her son’s score of 60 percent in board exams. It made news because her son’s score “wasn’t a 90%”. While we applauded and celebrated her sentiment, the question is how easy it is to be supportive of your child who has a normal score.
I can tell you from personal experience that it is difficult to practise what you preach. My niece cleared her PUC exams this year as one of the top-scoring students from Mangaluru. But another niece has struggled with academics, and it has been challenging for us all to accept this.
What does it take to accept and applaud your child who is not an overachiever making the news? The majority of our children fall in this category. Many of us are constantly torn between the reality of our child’s academic capability and what the system expects of them.
Our guests this week is a family from Bengaluru – Mamatha, Gunasheela and their son Chirag Shetty who recently cleared his tenth standard board exams. Chirag scored a modest 59 percent, to which Mamatha and Gunasheela had diametrically opposite reactions. While Mamatha locked herself up in a room and cried, Gunasheela celebrated his son’s score with a public post on social media (albeit one which did not go viral).
“I quit my job six months ago to stay home with Chirag for his exams. I was upset about his score, not because it reflected on my son’s capability, but because of what it would mean for his future. College admissions were weighing on my mind, and I’d be lying if I said scores didn’t matter,” says Mamatha.
And she was right. “We have been going to colleges to get applications. The security guard at the gates ask us what our son’s score is, and then tells us he won’t be getting a seat. There is something seriously wrong with that scene,” says the mother.
Gunasheela, however, could not be more happy. “He’ll succeed in life. I have no doubts about that, because my son is capable. If this score is a hurdle, then I am glad he hit it early in life. He’ll do better next time.”
But both the parents have one piece of advice for all other parents, “The pressure of being a parent isn’t something your child needs to feel. Let them be.”