Don’t fall prey to the pressure of being a parent in exam season

parentsandteenager1If it takes a village to raise a child, how many villages does it take to support a child through the exam period? You couldn’t put a number on it, could you?

There is no shortage of advice for anxious parents. Teachers, schools, tutors, advisers, countless media sources, friends, families, that nice woman up the road whose kids went to the same school as yours are all ready with suggestions about the best way to deal with exam stress and pressure.

You can find out what to do and what not to do, what to say and what not to say, how to help your young person to revise, the best foodstuffs to encourage concentration.

All this advice is helpful but sometimes you can feel as if you are the one taking exams, not just the academic tests which are looming, but also the far more difficult examination of how well you fulfil your role as a supportive parent.

You are not on trial.

Exams belong to your YP, not to you. This period is part of their evolving narrative. Yours is at a different stage.

What works for one family won’t work for another. Don’t compare what goes on in your house with what other people say about their own set-up. No one tells the entire truth anyway.

No rules on role

There is no rule that says you must play an active role in the revision process. Your YP might like you to test them on their knowledge or help them to make spider diagrams, or they might not. Make suggestions, but back off if they aren’t welcome.

Remember that you are a parent, an educator in the broadest sense. You are not supposed to be a professional teacher or education expert. (If you happen to be one, you will probably have negotiated how this fits in with your home life some time ago.)

If you don’t know your Tudorbethans from your Rastafarians or think that the theory of relativity is about dealing with your difficult family, it doesn’t matter.

The big picture

Your child will be yours forever, long after this period has passed. Keep your eye on the big picture.

There are experts out there who offer valuable help. Many of them are called teachers. They have a wealth of experience and expertise, and they want your YPs to do well as much as you do. Make the most of this valuable resource.

Look after your own stress levels. All that stuff you know is good for your YP – healthy diet, lots of snacks, plenty of sleep, a balance of study and relaxation – works for you as well.

This is a good time for you to watch that box set you’ve been saving for the right moment. And, being grown-up, you are allowed a nice G and T as well. Of course you are.