The majority of us get anxious over exams and receiving exam results can be just as nerve wracking. Here are three things you can do when your child doesn’t get the grades they wanted.
- Actively Listen
Active listening is a skill using both verbal and non-verbal signs of listening. Such as positive reinforcement, summarising and clarification, maintaining eye contact, mirroring of facial expressions and undivided attention. Active listening will help them feel valued, can provide them with perspective and comfort them whilst they deal with negative feelings, such as anxiety or low self-worth. Remember it is important that you are clear with your child that anxiety over unwanted results is normal and natural. Allow them to talk through their concerns. Talking about our problems and expressing our emotions can help us achieve a feeling of relief, known as catharsis.
- Problem Solve
Supporting your child and looking forward is crucial. Criticising their performance will not help in the here and now. You have listened to their concerns, and hopefully have a clearer picture for the next step. If receptive to the activity, support your child whilst they create a list of possible options to take. For example, if they were planning to attend a certain university, but didn’t get the grades for an offer, they could consider resitting their exams and reapply for said university in a years’ time. Or, they may want to join the working world, researching apprenticeships or work experience opportunities is a good first move. Alternatively, your child may want to take a gap year to think more about their options. Once your child has some ideas you can support them whittle down the most viable options using a pros and cons list for each decision. Practical steps can help your child take control and feel more confident about their future, which in turn can reduce feelings of anxiety.
- Avoid Catastrophising
Some real life examples can help here. Did you manage to get the grades you needed? Do you even remember your GCSE/A Level/Degree results!? Put things into perspective. Many people have failed exams and still go on to be successful. Dealing with setbacks, such as imperfect exam results, are part of life and a huge part of growing up. It can be an advantage and make your child better equipped to deal with life’s many trials and tribulations to learn how to cope with these negative outcomes. Your reaction plays a big part in this, so above all it is crucial your child knows they can come to you to for emotional and practical support.
If you are concerned, and your child’s behaviour or anxiety is hindering them in their everyday life, you can speak to your GP or call us on 0800 002 9068 if you have questions about how we can help.