Stressed about your kids matric exams? Here’s how to make it about them, not you | Rare Techy
Remind your children that matric exams are just one part of one’s life – and that they will pass soon – and that there are always options available, even if those options follow a different path than initially envisioned.
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This is difficult for students.
But it’s tougher for parents. You want your kids to do their best, but you don’t want them burning the candle at both ends to make sure they’re ready for matric exams.
While matric exam results are undoubtedly very important, it is important to keep a perspective.
At times, this is difficult to do for distressed teens and parents who may begin to feel catastrophic about outcomes and the future.
If you’re a parent who internalizes their children’s anxiety, Peter Creel, general manager of the Independent Institute of Education, offers some helpful ways to help them without telling you about it.
Many parents often do not know how to support their children during this time. But there are things they can do to make things easier — and things they shouldn’t, he says.
Peter’s tips for matric parents are:
Keep an eye out
One of the most important ways a parent can support a child is to monitor the student closely.
Leave them to continue their studies, but watch for behaviors that may cause anxiety.
For example, if you gain insight into their study schedule, procrastination is getting out of hand and the student can’t match what the parent knows is planned for revision, gently suggest they look at the schedule again to see how. The student can get back on track before falling too far behind.
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It’s important to stay ahead of the game, as it’s almost always possible to get back on track if things aren’t too late.
Remind your kids to get some sleep if they’ve been hitting the books for too long, too late at night.
Make sure they eat as healthy as possible, drink plenty of water, and exercise regularly so that fatigue doesn’t affect their learning ability.
Spot the red flags early
Unfortunately, some matrices – even top performers – may need additional or professional support during this time.
If you suspect that your child is struggling emotionally in dealing with increased stress and pressure, seek guidance from a mental health professional or a counselor at school.
Keep calm and keep perspective
It is important for students to do their best while maintaining a sense of perspective, and parents can do their part by staying calm.
“Be a pillar of support when needed, but don’t transfer your own anxiety to your child.”
Fears about the future and worries about how well the child is ready are all factors that affect the emotional state of parents, so they should take good care of themselves during this time so that they can control their own emotions and not contribute. Tension and anxiety increased at home.
Have a plan (a plan B) for next year
Once exams are over, allow students to take some time to enjoy themselves and blow off steam. However, don’t wait for matric results before deciding on further studies – by then it will be too late to gain admission to one’s institution and qualification.
Sit down and brainstorm with students reflecting on their expectations for how they performed on their final exams.
If they are likely to perform better than first thought and may qualify for further study or a more specialized degree, start exploring options as soon as possible.
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Similarly, if a student has not performed well enough to gain admission to the institution or elective qualification, student advisors can provide information about alternative routes to success.
Having a Plan A and a Plan B in place before results day means that whatever happens, students and parents have a clear path forward – regardless of their performance or better than expected – and they’re not suddenly faced with a wasted year.
This is great, but not the ultimate indicator of future success
Anxiety about final exams arises as a result of the belief that it is the last watershed assessment opportunity for young people.
This misconception comes from many parents not having enough information about the options available to students if things are not going as well as expected.
Talking to educational professionals at the school or a good higher education institution about the myriad of options out there can give a sense of perspective in terms of outcomes and allow parents to calibrate their own feelings.