Helping our Children Handle Stress from Exams and Results
It is very common for children to become stressed about exams and results, especially when they see this reaction in their friends and peers. We can support them in trying to calm them down and show them why they do not need to become overwhelmed, as when they are less anxious, it is better for them.
We can explain to them that exam results are not the most important thing in life. Of course we want our children to focus, work hard and concentrate, but when we can see that they are becoming stressed and it is having a negative impact on their mind and health, we should try reassure them. We could comfort them by letting them know that they just need to try their best, which is not the same in every child, and then pray to Allah to give them what is good for them. In doing so, they will not find waiting to sit the exams or anticipating the results as stressful. It is natural to feel somewhat stressed in situations like these, but of course we do not want that stress to take over their lives.
We could also remind them that as Muslims we are supposed to strive towards excellence in everything we do, whether that be in our education, development of our manners, or our responsibilities to our families. When our children are revising or preparing for their exams, we should remind them that our religion teaches us to aim to fulfil our potential.
It is also important to remind them that Islam teaches us that our health has a right over us, which means that we cannot pressure ourselves to the point that it is harmful to us. Therefore, encouraging our children to abide by a sensible routine which involves enough sleep and not being neglectful of healthy eating are crucial factors. We read in a hadith:
Abdullah ibn Amr reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said to him, “I am told you fast and never break your fast and you never stop praying at night? Fast and break your fast, pray at night and sleep. Verily, your eyes have a right over you, your own self has a right over you, and your family has a right over you.” (Sahih Bukhari)
Healthy competition amongst children in education is positive. However, we should help our children to remember, especially when they begin to become overwhelmed, that in our religion the most important thing to us is our Deen. Therefore, we strive to compete with each other in developing our knowledge and understanding of the Deen, increasing our level of Imaan, and strengthening our connection to our Lord. We read in the Holy Qur’an:
“And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.” (Qur’an 51:56)
Furthermore, our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said in a hadith:
“The life of this world compared to the hereafter is as if one of you were to put his finger in the ocean and take it out again then compare the water that remains on his finger to the water that remains in the ocean.” (Sahih Muslim)
Seeking knowledge is an important part of Islam. Anas ibn Malik reported:
“The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, ‘Seeking knowledge is an obligation upon every Muslim.’” (Sunan Ibn Majah)
It is also vital to bear in mind that when our children see other people who have achieved higher results than them, we should help them to remember that nobody’s life is perfect. Everyone has been given a struggle, whether we are aware of it or not.