Supporting your child through exam results day

The big day is almost here – exam results.

Tomorrow (8 August) will be defining the fate of young Scots across the country, as an early morning text messages decides what the next step is for them on their journey to adulthood.

Whether you’re child’s waiting on their grades for National 5s, Higher or Advance Highers, it’s going to be a nervous night in households across the country. Here’s what you can do as a parent to make the process a little less stressful.

1. Follow their lead

There’s no point talking it to death – it’s only going to make them more nervous. But you’re still going to have to acknowledge that it’s happening, and let them know you’re there if they need you. Maybe ask how they’re feeling, but don’t go down the road of analysing every last detail unless they really want to.

2. Listen

If your teen does want to talk about the fear, the nerves and anticipation, listen to them. Don’t brush it under the carpet and tell them ‘what’s done is done’ – simply listen. Make them a cup of tea, dig out the good biscuits and let them vent.

3. But try not to offer opinions

“You could’ve studied more,” or, “Try not to get your hopes up,” aren’t the words a twitchy teenager wants to hear. Keep it neutral. They did their best – and no matter what their results are, there are options.

4. Do something nice for them

A special dinner, their favourite takeaway, ice cream from that lovely place down the road, a massive bag of their  favourite sweets and that film they loved on DVD – give them an extra treat tonight to try calm their nerves.

5. Put it into perspective

If you’ve got a borderline-hysterical Higher candidate in your midst, sit them down, and try put it into perspective. Even if things don’t go according to plan, there is always next year, or college, or an apprenticeship. There are options, there are ways to get to their goal. And anyway – Richard Branson left school with no qualifications and he’s now a squillionaire.

No matter what way your child’s results go tomorrow, let them know you’re proud of them. And if they don’t know what to do next? Point them towards Skills Development Scotland‘s exam results helpline on 0808 100 8000 – if you can’t help, one of their trained advisers can.

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