Muslim children studying in classroom

Gul Rukh

PESHAWAR: When I look back at my school days, I remember that my parents would always ask me to get better grades and put my studies ahead of anything. And being naturally gifted with a good IQ level, all of my siblings were academically smart. Speaking of which, none of my siblings had ever had to take any after-school tuitions. If anything, we would only have a problem or two in mathematics and our father would solve it within minutes.

Time went by and we grew up and had to choose between science subjects and arts in our 8th grade. Choosing arts wasn’t even a choice for us. We had to go for the science subjects, no matter what, and we didn’t mind that either. My elder sister, unfortunately, was made to select science subjects later when she applied to college as my father wanted her to be a doctor. My parents placed higher expectations on her and went out of the way to make their dreams come true. They got her admitted to an academy to make it easy for her to prepare for the entry test. I saw my sister study day and night, forget about everything else that was happening around her and dedicate all her time and efforts to make my parents’ dream come true.

Unfortunately, despite her tireless efforts, she couldn’t make it. She was heartbroken and devastated. However, I must mention that my parents were really supportive and helped her emerge out of her regrets and sadness. Because not all Pakistani parents can accept the fact that their children were unable to fulfill their dreams.

Around 60 percent of Pakistani parents try to instill in their children the belief that they should become doctors or engineers if they want to be successful. They lay a greater emphasis on hard work than on talent. When it comes to determining what field their children should pursue, most Pakistani parents try to ignore their children’s preferences and suggest that they pursue the field that their parents admire.

I was lucky enough that when it came to choosing subjects in my college, my parents asked me to go for whatever I was inclined to. On the flip side, I’ve noticed that most Pakistani parents try their luck with their other children. They put their hopes for the second kid if the first didn’t make it.

Though I am not opposed to this idea, I believe that because our parents have invested so much in us since our birth, it is justifiable for them to want something in return. However, I believe that this strategy should only be used if the child wishes to pursue the career path that their parents have chosen for them. Otherwise, in the vast majority of situations, this entire scenario ends in disappointment, leaving both the children and their parents unhappy and disheartened.

Furthermore, the practice of pressuring children to achieve good marks is a tragedy as well. Why? Because not all children have the same abilities. While one child excels in academics, the other excels in extracurricular activities. This is where the comparison begins, causing mental distress in one of the children.

This happens when parents don’t try to discover what’s wrong with their child beforehand. He could have a learning disability, which is fairly prevalent and common but, sadly, not properly addressed in our society. To cope with this situation, career counselors should be assigned to all schools and colleges. In this manner, parents will have a better sense of their children’s interests, and children will be able to discover what they are good at.

As a result, studying would become a joyful activity rather than a boring chore that the children would enjoy. Besides, parents will also avoid stress by understanding their children’s preferences and allowing them to be themselves.

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