Today, both my P5 and P3 daughters told me that some of their classmates were in tears after their Math SA1 exams.
When children cry during or after an exam, it is not simply because the paper is too difficult. Personally I have encountered many difficult test and exam papers in my life, but I have not cried even once because of them. Nope, I don’t think it was because I was a boy; I can’t even imagine my daughters crying because of exams. If they do, then I know I’ve failed as a parent as far as their psychological development is concerned.
Yes, it’s about expectations, or setting them too high, and warning about consequences should the targets not be achieved. Looking back, my parents hardly ever asked me about my school work, and when I told them I would do badly in a paper, they would just comfort me and at worst joined me in my sadness! No scoldings, no cancellation of rewards, not a single kind of punishment or threat.
Yes, I do expect my daughters to do well in their studies, but I do not tie the outcome to rewards or punishment. I give them rewards because I love them, not necessarily because they deserve those rewards. I punish them for wrongdoings, not for performances in tests or exams.
Maybe those children cried because they have too high an expectation of themselves. Then it is their parents’ duty to help them manage their expectations (if the parents can manage their own expectations of course). Or maybe some children just cry easily at the slightest encounter with a difficulty or setback? Whatever the case, children are children and I wouldn’t hold THEM responsible for anything.