3rd May 2022
Exams – either their presence or their absence, have been a source of stress for young people for many years. In recent years, their absence gave additional pressure to many because it left an empty void, but with their reappearance this year many have been left feeling under prepared and ill equipped to face what lies ahead.
With exams for various year groups just around the corner, it can be a challenging time for teachers and parents alike in managing the emotions of children and young people as they navigate their way through. Often it can be hard to know what we can do or say to support them, to soothe them or to reassure them. Whilst as adults we can see a life beyond exam results, for many at their age they can very much seem to be the ‘be all and end all’ and so the trauma they feel around them can seem very intense and all pervasive.
Ways in we can help and support them:
Keep those channels of communication open.
Let them know you are there to listen. If they have worries, fears or concerns make sure they know they can come to you with them and that it’s natural to feel all those emotions. Be honest in answering them. Yes, exams are important and yes, results do matter, but other things matter too. And other skills and abilities that are not measured by exam success are equally important for success and happiness in the future. Reminding them of that at this time can make a big difference.
Discuss the future with them.
Talk about life after the exams. Give them something to look forward to. Sometimes the understanding that life continues just the same afterwards can make things feel less intense for them.
Provide practical support where possible.
From snacks to quiet space to study. From a lift to the exam to helping them with mock exams. It all matters. And it all helps to make the experience just that little bit easier for them and gives them one less thing to worry about.
BulliesOut also offer free and confidential e – mentoring and counselling support for those who have previously experienced, or currently are struggling with, bullying. If this is a service that could help and support you through, please get in touch.
Boost their Self-Esteem/Confidence.
Paying them a compliment or telling them you are proud of them can make such a difference to how they are feeling. If they are struggling with confidence encourage them to practice positive affirmations. You can either write your own personalised ones for them or alternatively try ours.
Talk openly about past failures.
Hearing that you too may have failed in the past can really help them to put failure into perspective. Understanding that people fail and still go on to succeed can help alleviate the pressure from their shoulders. Helping them to reframe failure into a stepping stone on the way to success will help them not just in the exam itself but in their future when any stressful situation appears.
Ultimately, in helping them to create coping strategies for how to manage exam pressure and build their resilience around stressful situations you are helping them to become resilient resourceful human beings. Whilst there may be a tricky few weeks ahead, we are here to help and support you through.
Get in touch if we can help or support you further.
Written by Lucy Howard, Head of Content and Media, BulliesOut
Thanks to @helloimnik for making this photo available freely on Unsplash
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