Grade 12 students doing last minute revision before their CBSE Accountancy exam at Indian High School in Dubai. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: Second-hand stress can be just as bad as first-hand worrying. In the case of parents dealing with exam-taking kids, both emotions compete for attention. Often, it’s the tension that wins.

Firstly, there’s the referral pain. When under pressure, children suffer mood swings and appetite-busting thoughts, fatigue and panic attacks. For caretakers who often find themselves living vicariously through their offspring’s trials and tribulations, the irritability can take on a dual-edged jab. Fear creeps up mostly because there’s a personal stake in it. “Yes, as a parent I feel nervous, although she [daughter] is doing well in all her subjects,” says Geeta Jaggi whose daughter will be taking the CBSE 10th grade board exams come Thursday.

If you are a parent feeling taxed, there are things you can do to ease your worries: take some Me time, say experts, and keep perspective. “The worst thing a parent can do is to subtly impose unrealistic expectations about the performance through the utterances of support (“Oh, I’m sure you will excel”) or even threats about consequences if certain criteria are not met,” says Dr Iva Vukusic, clinical psychologist at LifeWorks Holistic Counselling.

1. Keep an eye on the exam timetable and be ready to pitch in — if asked.

2. Stay calm or exercise away the stress — remember this is not about you.

3. Be vigilant, if your teen isn’t coping well, get help from a seasoned professional.

4. Oh, and keep those meals coming — studying is hard, hunger-inducing work.