When you’ve lived through the stress of helping your teenager prepare for exams, not to mention the investment of time and money you’ve made in their entire educational journey, it’s natural for parents to feel tense about exam results.
But stop. Seriously!
Your teenager has their own stress and worry about the results they’ve received in their exams and by showcasing your own fears and concerns, or displaying a high level of anticipation and excitement about receiving the results, you will only be adding to the stress in your child.
To help you get through the waiting period, try these practical tips to help yourself deal with exam results:
1. Avoid discussing the results
Endless discussion about the marks you expect your child to achieve can increase your worries, stress and anxiety levels – and theirs too. It can also give your child the impression that your love for them is measured by their ability to meet your lofty expectations.
2. Don’t be over-excited
Did you know that some of the world’s sharpest minds failed at school exams? Really! Albert Einstein, Tumblr founder (and billionaire) David Karp, Richard Branson and British businesswoman Deborah Meaden all bombed out at school exams but went on to be hugely influential.
A great academic record is just one part of life – and it’s not the most important thing. Your child can still have a fantastic career waiting for them, even if they do not get the highest score.
No matter what your teen’s academic history is, at exam time, you should be prepared for anything.Not every child can achieve top marks so don’t get over-excited and talk about your belief that they might have topped the class.
By showing extreme excitement about the prospect of their amazing exam results, you are setting them up to feel anxious and stressed. Once exams are over with, celebrate your child’s study efforts with a fun reward, then get on with life. The results will come when they are scheduled to and anything you can do to minimise the worry while you’re all waiting is a positive thing.
3. Stop worrying what your friends/family will think
Worrying about the opinion of your mother-in-law or work colleague is not worth it. Who cares if that other child they know did get the best score in their school? It doesn’t matter.
Getting caught up with worries about what other people will think if your teenager doesn’t achieve what they believe they should have will only make you feel bad – and that will make your teenager feel bad about their own achievements.
4. Avoid comparison
No matter what your child’s score is, make sure you avoid the temptation to compare. Asking your child about the results their friends and peers received has no value and reminds them that you are measuring them and their worth.
Avoid talk about other people’s children and their scores from years past. Your child is unique and once the exams are done, no amount of conversation can change the result. Anything you say could highlight feelings of failure.
5. Recognise signs of stress
Waiting for exam results can be an incredibly stressful time. Some common signs of stress include:
- stomach ache
- mood swings
- loss of appetite
- feelings of hopelessness
If your child displays any of these signs, it’s important to try to help them by soothing their concerns and reassuring them of their positive attributes. Remind them that you love them and will support them, no matter what the results are. If you are concerned that the worry is leading to depression, always be sure to seek medical advice.
6. Don’t panic
Getting a low score in exams is not the end of the world. But for your child to believe that, it’s imperative that you do too. If your child’s exam results are not what they’d hoped for, remind them that there are still a lot of doors open to them and that there are steps they can take to get back on track.
Yes, the reality might be that they may not get into the course they had their sights on starting but time will pass and the option will be open to them again in the future.
Talking to a counselor at school can be a positive step to help them understand their alternative study options and what other courses and part-time work they can engage in to help guide them back to their first study choice in the very near future.