Reducing Pressure on Children

April 30, 2015 Published by

Children Under Pressure

When you see young children playing happily together it’s hard to imagine that almost a third will consider or attempt suicide before they turn sixteen and that many will take drugs to increase their academic performance. Sadly this is a reality that parents need to know about and be aware it is never too early to take preventative action. The pressure on children from schools, family and their friends is starting earlier and only grows as the years go by.

In this article, we will be identifying child pressure and exploring the different ways and roles that families can play in order to help children cope and relieve themselves of such pressure. 

Too Much Pressure on children

At five years old your child’s reading progress will most likely be displayed on their classroom wall, highlighting to the class where each ranks. However innocent, practices like this start the pressure on children to perform well. They are not only encouraged to do their best but to compete with their friends and as the years go by this only increases leading to:

Smart drugs may sound like they belong in fiction such as the film ‘Limitless’ but they are fast becoming a reality. In universities across the country students admit to needing to pop a pill to keep up with the pressures of coursework, exam success and the busy social scene they are expected to be involved in. Soon this will filter down to colleges and high schools so the time is now to take action.

How do we Measure Success?How-can-we-reduce-exam-pressure-on-children?

As parents we must look at how we define success and where our influences are directing our children. What do we want for their future? 

Academic Success – are we pushing them towards good grades, university degrees and beyond?

Emotional Success – do we want them to be content, fulfilled, in a happy relationship, provide us with grandchildren?

Material Success – are we teaching them that money is so important that their goal in life is to own a nice house, car, holiday homes abroad?

By knowing what you are encouraging your child to achieve you can then formulate a plan to correct any underlying pressures.

Tips to Reduce the Pressure

 Young children learn best through play so focus on this over any formal learning. Throwing a ‘red ball’ will teach them the colour red in a much more natural way than sitting down with a book of colours and reciting them. Strive to develop their emotional and social skills and encourage them to play with siblings and friends to cement their communication skills, empathy and to let them follow their curiosity together. 

  • Teach them to have ambitions and the skills they need to aim for their goals.
  • Allow them to experience both success and failure, celebrate their achievements and let them learn that failing at something is never the end of the world.
  • Let them choose their own path, develop their own interests and have some control over their lives giving them confidence to make their own choices.
  • Increase their self-esteem by aiming for happiness and satisfaction as a family, they are not alone.

When age appropriate discuss the problems some children face as they grow and leave the door wide open for them to talk to you about any worries they have. Let them discuss with you that drugs are never the answer and show them that a quick fix to achieve success in an exam would soon become dependency as they start their careers. 

Nurturing confident young people with high self-esteem, who trust their parents to listen to them is the best way you can guard against your child succumbing to the pressures of growing up in an achievement focussed world. 


Photo Credit: USAG – Humphreys

How can you help your children cope with exam pressure?

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This post was written by Oomar Mauthoor

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