So that time of year comes around again. It may be the first time for you or the 10th! On a scale of 1-10 how would you rate the stress levels in your house?!…….and I’m not of course talking about those taking the exams!!
You will either have teenagers that are conscientious or CBA (can’t be arsed!), they are either stressed with that look of a rabbit caught in the headlights or utterly horizontal in their state of being laidback. There is no middle ground!
As the parent, how are you holding up?
Let’s be honest here and for those of you who know me well will know that I’m going to come out with truth from where I’m standing………..there’s not a lot you can do about it is there?! Teenagers will do just what they want – and the more you point your finger the more stubborn they will become….. It amazes me that most teenagers seem to become Taureans for a while (I’m one – I’m stubborn as hell!)
Some tough questions for you as parent –
Is your current method of motivating your exam destined teen working?
Is your teen motivated by a carrot or a stick? – Do you know?
Are you allowing your teen to take FULL responsibility for their exams? – put bluntly – these are their exams and not yours – you had your chance 20+ years ago!
Are you really there to support them or just to prove that you and your way are right?
These exams are theirs – tough I know especially when you see the possibility of them throwing everything away (that’s your belief right?)
From many years of experience as a parent with three very different children, I’ve found that using the same style of parenting for each one is asking for trouble.
Children want to be loved and that in my book means unconditionally – whether they are revising or not, whether they are fulfilling your dreams for them, whether they are saying they are revising and you’ve caught them on Facebook. They want your love and trust – even when they give you nothing in return.
What’s worked for me whilst I’ve supported through GCSEs, AS levels A levels and Degree exams.
- Be there unconditionally
- If you can work from home at least for some of the exams do so – to offer to make lunch before they head off might be what calms them
- text before the exam starts wishing luck or love or whatever feels comfortable – I heard a brilliant one from my nephew’s Geology teacher who says to the kids RTFQ (Read The F***ing Question) – I’m going to use that one from now on – if it’s appropriate of course!
- Text when the exam finishes so that when they pick up their phone there will be a message from you – even a few xxx will suffice
- keep their favourite food in the house – bake or buy cakes and treats
- send a good luck card
- be available for them to talk or not – allow them to choose what they want. Do not, I repeat do not cross examine them!
- supply Rescue Remedy, lavender essential oil or whatever might act as a natural nerve calmer for them
- if they are stressed – agree with them ‘yes you are stressed’ – saying ‘oh you’ll be fine, there’s nothing to worry about’ only undermines how they are feeling
- never say the words ‘if you’d only listened to me’ NEVER EVER – I’ve heard it too many times in my life!!!
- back off if necessary
So if you really are worried that they are doing nothing it could be for so many reasons usually because they are scared and by this stage are feeling ‘what’s the point’ .
Here’s a little visualisation that has helped give last minute focus. Ask them to imagine results day. In this first scenario they have not done the work they should have done for the exams. They head off to school – how are they feeling? They collect the brown envelope with their results inside – how are they feeling? They open the envelope to find pretty bad results, results that mean they won’t be able to do the A levels they want or attend the University they chose – now what are they feeling? Really do try to get them to be there in their mind, what’s going on around them, how are others behaving especially those that got the grades. The more they are able to experience the feelings the easier it will be to inspire them to keep going.
Now get them to experience going to school to collect results having put the work in and opening an envelope with results they are happy with – go through all the feelings and experience again. Get them to feel the delight and excitement and celebrate with them! It’s really important that you do it this way round! You want them to carry around this buzz with them!
If you’re really stuck do email me, I have coached both parents and teenagers through exams!