At a career counselling session held recently by the Railway Protection Force, a group of middle-aged men and women gave vent to angst against their children. Many did not bring their wards along but sought a solution to their dilemma.

One parent was distraught at his son’s lack of interest in studies. After performing well in class X, his boy expressed an interest in pursuing engineering but by the time he entered class XII, not only did his scores plummet, he also seemed to veer away from engineering as a career option, the father said. He also complained that the boy remained listless, always wanting to sleep longer, when he should be studying more.

The counselling session, held by the State Government, addressed the problem and helped to alleviate the fears of several such parents. In the five days after the announcement of state board class XII results, SNEHA, a suicide prevention helpline, received 44 exam stress-related calls. Of these, eight were from parents who sought help to get rid of disappointment over their children’s poor performance.

The counselling session also saw students discussing their worries and failures. Two girls who cleared the exams with more than 90 per cent, and planned to pursue the commerce stream, were upset that they did not do better. They felt they had let down their teachers. Another girl who topped her class was inconsolable because she had higher expectations.

According to Lakshmi Vijayakumar, founder of SNEHA, parental support is important to help children tide over the difficult phase. She suggests that parents pay close attention to their children for at least five days after the results are announced.

“Failure is not the problem but how we face it is the issue. Parents should act as a buffer and not allow the child to remain dejected. Parents could share their personal failures and encourage the child to have faith in himself,” she says.

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