August. Every Teenager in the U.K. has a love/hate relationship with the month of August don’t they? This is because, teenagers aged 16 will be awaiting their GCSE (high school) results whilst older teenagers will be awaiting their A Level results. After such a long summer either partying at a festival, holidaying with friends or working during their summer, teenagers have to collect their results which will affect their new steps. So, as parents, how can we help them?
My son collects his GCSE results on 23rd August this year. My daughter collects her A Level results this week. The summer seems to have flown by yet they seem to have been on holiday for ages! With these dates firmly fixed in our minds for quite a while, I’m not sure who is more nervous, them or me! Whether your child is awaiting results or has this all to come, here are some tips I have gathered to make this time a little easier for everyone. I hope you find the tips useful!
1. Try not to compare
This is a tough one. We all compare ourselves to others don’t we? That goes for our teenagers too. They know that some of their friends will do better than they will but it is easy to feel jealous of this. Try not to compare your teenage to a sibling or a cousin at this time, it won’t help anyone! Your teenager will have done as well as they could or as expected so they can’t change that. Comparing your teenager to another will only make them more anxious. My advice? If your child is worried, perhaps they can collect their results online or take their results to a quiet place to digest their results alone.
2. Be guided by your child’s character
My daughter is as cool as cool. She is a very chilled character. I know that she will be anxious about her results but she will still sleep the night before. Some children are much more anxious and so need you, their parent, to be the calm and cool one in this situation. Don’t start fretting and allowing them to see that you are nervous! They don’t need to worry about your feelings as well as their own. If your child is very anxious, try to plan some days out in the days beforehand to keep their mind off it.
3. Tell them you are proud
You know deep down (and so do they) if they have worked hard and tried their best. If they have worked as hard as they could, tell them you are proud of them. Tell them this before they get their results! Teenagers are still children and need to know that they could never disappoint us as parents. These results are their results and no matter what you do as parents will change that, so tell them they make you proud.
4. Be realistic
It doesn’t help anyone if you are expecting your child to get all A grades when their teachers (or your child) tell you otherwise. Please be realistic and help your teenager to be realistic too. Before their results are due, ask your child what they think they may get. In a relaxed setting, talk about this so that your teenager can reflect on all their work and think about what they may get. You may need to gently remind them of their predicted grades so that they know roughly what they may get. Of course, they may surprise themselves and you!
5. Let them decide
This is obvious to me but I’m always surprised by how often I hear parents tell their teenager what subjects to choose! Once your child has their GCSE results, let them make the final decision about they should do next. It’s their life, not yours! Just because you missed out in studying A Level Maths, does not mean they should! Support your teenager make the decision to accept their university place or whether they need to look again. Life is not a race so if your child doesn’t know if university is for them, that’s ok! At the end of the day, exam results don’t define them. They are still your child so hopefully, they will make sensible, and the best decisions, for them.
Good luck to every teenager and their parents who are about to collect results this August. For further information on what to do on GCSE results day, I found this useful.