We are in the midst of GCSE exam season – which means that stressful arguments and quite often sleepless nights are all too common in many UK homes – with teenagers, parents and teachers all sharing the pain!
Here at Lifetime we have a number of people whose children are in the last year of their Secondary School education – and have started taking their GCSE’s this week.
Lifetimers Bill, Andrew, Karen, Tracey, Kevin and Simon S all have sons and daughters in ‘exam mode’.
It’s a tough time, no question!
Mumsnet founder Justine Roberts says: “Revision time can wreak havoc in a family house – stress levels are high, coffee mugs accumulate, and anxious parents grow ever watchful.
“It’s difficult to get the right balance, but on the whole we advise parents to exercise patience – take the pressure off, stock the snack-cupboards and offer much-welcomed tea breaks.”
Consultant educational psychologist Vivian Hill says “young people have a variety of ways of revising, and stress in the home is often increased when parents fail to understand that.
“Each child will have a different style or approach to learning, some will have revision notes highlighted with coloured pens, others might use audio tape and some learn better interactively, working with a friend.
“It’s important to find out what works for them. This can lead to conflict. For example, some people find it easier to revise with music or the TV on in the background and some parents think it should be turned off. Some want to study all night long and parents might want lights out at 10:00. Some people are very fortunate in that they are doing what looks like half-hearted preparation but it is very effective.”
As parents. there is a risk that if you interfere too much, you might increase the stress on the young people even more. We must remember that most of the groundwork and preparation for exams is done in schools.
This is possibly one of the most difficult teenage times and parents need to be patient, bite their tongues and expect their children to be more difficult than normal because they are stressed. Try not to increase the pressure by saying things like, ‘It’s your one-and-only-chance,’ it’s far better to say ‘Don’t worry, just try to do your best.’”
From everyone at Lifetime we wish all the young people taking exams the very best of luck. Do your best and no-one can wish for more.