Who exactly is sitting the examinations?

What you need to know:

Make decisions that empower your children to make smooth transitions

It is that time of the year again when national examinations create a buzz around the country. For most parents, candidates and teachers, everything ceases to be at ease. Nowadays, it is no longer just the child who is sitting exams but the parents as well. I remember during our time, most parents made it clear that there was specialisation; they hustled to pay school fees and our role was to study and sit exams. The only time they ever got involved in our studies was when there were disciplinary issues and they were called to intervene. Nowadays however, parents are so involved in their children’s education that lines are blurred about who exactly is sitting exams.

On most WhatsApp groups, parents have formed prayer groups where ‘prayer warriors’ are making a killing by interceding for the candidates funded by their parents. In health clubs, I have heard of exercises made especially for candidates. Some parents have employed chefs to create special diets to boost their children’s brain power. These parents are not leaving anything to chance when it comes to enhancing their progeny’s chances of passing exams. However, some parents go too far in their zeal and end up in trouble.

As we speak, one such mother is serving time after she was convicted for exam malpractice. Apparently, the mother was so desperate for her daughter to pass exams that she hired someone else to do it for her. Unfortunately for her, she got a boy to sit in for a girl so it was not difficult for the invigilators to make the discovery. Apart from the changing parenting dynamics, familial are some of the most complex relationships. While a parent will go out on a limb for their child; they can kill, steal and in the same breath they will maim or desert them. It is as if common sense takes leave and parents are left at the mercy of emotions when dealing with children.

It does not help that society puts such high standards when it comes to parenting expectations. For instance, former US First Lady and presidential candidate Hilary Clinton often shares a conversation she had with another former US First Lady, Jackie Kennedy. Clinton had gone to seek advice on how to handle the office without sacrificing her role as a mother and wife. Among the many things Kennedy told Clinton was that it does not matter how successful one is, as long as their children do not turn out right. It is that sentiment that haunts most parents and leads them astray.

First of all, to raise responsible children, parents should exhibit this sense of responsibility themselves. They should be a mirror for their children. That is what made our parents tick. By letting us take charge of our studies, they showed us that they had faith in our abilities to manage our own affairs. Without them having to say much, they communicated that just as we did not need to help them fund our education we should not expect them to help us pass. That is why they did not find it such a big deal that their child had passed highly. By funding your education, it was intimated that you were expected to pass highly.

That is why the older generation of parents find us ridiculous when we throw parties and go to the media to celebrate our children’s success. Why were you paying school fees then if you did not expect the child to pass? Do you have so much money that you can afford to continue investing in something you know will not ultimately pay off? If you suspect that your child is not cut out for the academic world, why don’t you save yourself the heartache and find out what they are good at?

The world we live in gives so many opportunities for success. There are plenty of careers that were not viable two decades ago. Other than continuing to force your child to pursue mainstream education, which will force you to resort to drastic measures to help them pass; explore the other things they could excel at. Remember that you helping your child cut corners does not help but rather affects them in the long run because they will still be subject to the laws of life.

I have met many people who hate their jobs because they were procured for them by their parents. Not only are they disillusioned with life but they curse their parents deep down. You do not want to be the parent that smothers their child because of your selfish expectations. Rather, make clear-headed decisions that empower your children to be able to make smooth transitions when they find themselves at crossroads.