10 ways parents can manage exam stress

Here are the top 10 responses that students gave when asked to tell their parents what to do and what not to do through the revision period.


1: Do provide constant supplies of food, and access to baths and long showers
2: Do help me if I ask for it
3: Do let me do it my way
4: Let me have a social life
5: Don’t try to learn with me
6: Don’t keep asking if I need help
7: Don’t moan or nag
8: Don’t compare me to others
9: Don’t keep making sure I’m revising, or spy on me
10: Don’t tell me not to worry

Here are the top ten responses parents gave when asked to tell their young persons what to do and what not to do through the revision period.

1: Don’t worry

2: Do talk to me; don’t keep your problems and worries to yourself

3: Don’t accuse me of nagging when I’m trying to help

4: Don’t think your social life is more important than your studies

5: Don’t overdo things and make yourself ill

6: Don’t leave everything to the last minute

7: Do believe in yourself and have reasonable expectations

8: Do tell me how I can help

9: Don’t take it out on your family

10: Do manage your time and work to a structure

There we have it, the mix of good intentions, anxieties, misunderstandings and contradictions that are part of all relationships, and which can make the exam period particularly stressful. It may seem as if there is no way of accommodating the often conflicting requirements of parents and of students.

In fact, there is lots of common ground. You both want a successful outcome achieved without mental or physical damage (to either party), don’t you?

But you are the adult, and these are not your exams. They belong to your YP. These two facts mean that it’s probably your responsibility to negotiate the process and leave your YP to get on with the business of studying and revising. It’s not fair, but life isn’t. Communciation and understanding are the keys words. The good news is that you can develop ways of communicating effectively and you can build on your understanding of how your YP thinks and learns. You can not only survive, but can become a positive influence. I was going to say and earn undying gratitude, but let’s not be silly.