Are you too focused on academic performance? What can you do to ensure school success without putting too much pressure on your child? 

Recently, I was with a group of parents who were dissecting the annual results of their kids. Some were swollen with pride since their kids achieved Super-High marks and got awards while some were very upset because their kids couldn’t become the topper due to TWO FULL marks. Tch, tch.

Later, the discussion headed towards the strategies to apply next school year since it will be a crucial milestone for the kids. Which extra classes to go, which group tuition will give them an extra edge and don’t forget the other extra-curricular activities – dancing, swimming, arts and so on. After all, the kid has to become the all-rounder champion and has to be the best among all.

Surprisingly, while the parents were engaged in the hot conversation, kids were playing happily nearby. Carefree and in their own sweet world, oblivious to all the talks of their parents.

Are we as parents emphasizing way too much on academic performance? This point surely needs some pondering. Every parent wants that their offspring should do great in the school and shine among peers. Nothing incorrect in this thought. When parents toil whole day, go through stress of work and life, do their best for the family, it is but natural to expect that kids reward them with the achievements.

The trouble starts when we go overboard with our expectations about our own kids. We expect that the kid should get the highest most grades in all subjects, should know all types of arts and sports and should become what we as a child couldn’t become! Bad, too bad. In this process, we start to put more stress on the kid by comparing them with other kids, by iterating and reiterating what we want them to do. We overload their timetable with infinite classes, activities and so on!

Result: Bored and stressed kid who looks lost, not interested in anything, making frequent mistakes, demotivated and displaying lack of self-esteem who ultimately does not do well – academically or otherwise. Then disappointed parents start more nagging, more classes, and more methods to get success by any means. Really, is it that necessary to do? What would you prefer – a kid who acts like a robot; too perfect to be true OR a kid who is happy, makes mistakes and learns from them and keeps moving forward by small steps?

Ultimately, all parents want their kids to be happy. It is just that we need to realize that academic performance alone does not guarantee happiness and success in the future.

What can we do then?

1. Understand what truly your kid wants – we cannot insist that they should become a lawyer when we clearly see that they have a potential to be a great painter.

2. Make sure not to compare them with other kids and indulge in unhealthy competition. It is good to learn from others and encourage the kid to do that.

3. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy! Remember that and incorporate playing, enjoying, sheer relaxing in their daily schedule.

4. Get regular updates from their teachers – school and tuition. Check for any bottlenecks that might be causing issues and work with your kids to eliminate the weaknesses.

5. Merely sending them to tuition won’t work. As a parent, you have to work with the kids. Do the study together, help them, even learn from them.

6. Listen to them! Hear out patiently their little complaints, displeasure and clap for their achievements however small they might be.

7. Chill and indulge in some together-stuff with your little ones. Enjoy and don’t get obsessed with kids studies, don’t lose your own sleep over it.



Happy New Academic year to all of us!

PS: I wrote this article first for theAsianparent – leading parenting magazine in Singapore. Here is a link to the original article -