UAE counsellors encourage parents and students to embrace self-worth beyond grades

Students and their parents must remember that results are just an assessment of academics and not the final conclusion

by

Nandini Sircar

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PTI file
PTI file

Published: Sat 20 May 2023, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Sat 20 May 2023, 2:26 PM

As the job market evolves, employers are placing increasing importance on skills gained outside of traditional academic settings.

Consequently, students must prioritise acquiring a diverse range of proficiencies that extend beyond conventional academic accomplishments, said counsellors in the UAE.

This guidance is particularly relevant in light of the recent announcement of CBSE, ISC, and ICSE results over the past weekend. While some students may have surpassed their expectations, many others might be experiencing feelings of disappointment.

Meanwhile, as several students across the country begin their GCSE, A levels and AS levels, experts underline that students and their parents must remember that results are just an assessment of academics and not the final conclusion.

Dr Nada Elbashir, consultant psychiatrist, Burjeel Hospital, Abu Dhabi, said: “Students must understand that academic performance is not the only indicator of success or intellect, especially if they didn't score as well on the test as they had planned. Concentrate on personal development rather than grades. Explore your interests, explore hobbies and learn critical skills. Keep in mind that education is about more than just academic accomplishment. Set attainable goals that are connected with your strengths and interests. To make gradual progress, divide major goals into smaller, doable activities. Celebrate every achievement, no matter how minor it may appear.”

Parents are advised to create a supportive environment at home so that their child may talk about their struggles and goals without worrying about being judged. Children should be encouraged to have an open dialogue and offered comfort during both accomplishments and failures.

Girish Hemnani, life coach and energy healer based in Dubai, said: “These results are just an assessment of academics and not the final conclusion. It's important to remember that academic grades are not the sole indicator of a person's intelligence or worth. Different individuals have different strengths and areas of interest that may not always align with the traditional grading system. One of the most common pitfalls that can lead to frustration is comparison.”

Comparisons fuel inadequacy

Experts underline that academic performance is not the only indicator of success or intellect.

“Comparing ourselves to others is one of the main reasons for feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem. When we compare ourselves to others, we lose sight of our own unique value and contribution. Hence, it's vital to create an encouraging environment and reinforce the focus on our own needs, values, and long-term goals," he added.

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Psychologists highlight that difficult moments are an opportunity for parents to foster a deeper connection with their child. The use of judgemental words, criticism, and comparison defeats the purpose of making the child empathetic, resilient, independent, and capable.

Divya Salian Amin, clinical psychologist, Modern Family Clinic, said: “Parents should be spoken to (expectations from children) even before the exams. A lot of times high scoring students may not be able to perform to their optimum because of the pressure. This could be due to anxiety attacks, or because of a lot of sleepless nights. This leads to information processing problem like what they study and how it gets retained in the brain and how they can retrieve it. So, there are a lot of blockages sometimes. It’s always best to talk to parents before the exams and it’s less impactful talking to them later (after the results are out). But to manage the internalising behaviour, parents need to be given some support to let go of things and to think that the academic part is not the only thing that would determine the child’s future (or the child would be good at). So, parents and children need to understand that there are a lot of people who without having stellar grades in academics have also excelled in life. That would make them hopeful about their child’s future.

“When children are going through such pressures, parents need to be understanding and be mindful of their child’s position. That’s because children ultimately go back home, and therapies don’t work much if things are not good on the home front. Therefore, it must start with family intervention. Everyone needs to be accepting however it is (results), be hopeful and know that academic grades are not the ultimate thing in life,” she added.

Counsellors point out that understanding the purpose of life goes far beyond the grades.

“Give yourself time to gracefully heal and be ready for the new challenge with enthusiasm and positive spirit. Life has given you the perfect chance to explore previously untested grounds. Look at unconventional and promising career aspects which are away from traditional and orthodox ways of looking at careers. Look at your core competencies and think of what the disruptive path could be,” averred Dr Ameya Ghanekar, Gallup Strengths Coach in Dubai.


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