How to Support Your Teenager on GCSE Results Day
Results day is a stressful time for teenagers and for adults. For most young people, their GCSEs are the first time they have had a formal academic assessment, and the results of that assessment often dictate what path they can take next; it can be an overwhelming amount of pressure for young people. In fact, recent figures have shown that calls to Childline increased by 15% last year during exam results season, with 74% of those calls coming from girls. Receiving exam results is difficult for any child, and it can be just as difficult for their parent or carer. It can be hard to know how to support your child, whether they get the results they want or not.
Advice for Young People
- “It is important to remember that things are out of your hands now," Childline service manager Wendy Robinson says, and that no matter what happens "there are a number of practical steps you can take to help you focus on what to do next".
- Try to remember that it is normal to feel nervous or worried about your results, you are not alone with that.
- If you don’t get the results that you wanted, don’t worry. There are lots of other options for you, including re-taking exams or choosing a different course at college.
- If you are feeling really stressed out about getting your results, or are disappointed with the results you got, speak to someone that you trust about it.
- Remind yourself that everybody is different; it isn’t helpful to compare yourself to your friends or other people at your school.
Advice for Parents and Carers
- If you have noticed that your teenager has been more snappy, irritable, or moody in the run up to getting their results, try to respond to them calmly: this is a reaction to stress.
- “It's not uncommon for young people to be anxious during the wait for exam results”, Jo Hardy, head of parent services at Young Minds says, “the best thing you can do is acknowledge that your child is feeling worried and reassure them that you will be proud of them, and be there for them, no matter what their results are”.
- If you aren’t concerned about your child’s results and know that they will do well, try not to dismiss their feelings. Their feelings are very real. Instead, talk to your child about how they are feeling and try to reassure them.
- Remind your child of their own individuality, and of all the little things that make them a great person to encourage them to not compare themselves to their peers.
- Life is about more than exam results, so if your child doesn’t do as well as they hoped or expected then remind them of this, and remind them of all of their unique talents and skills.
- Plan something nice. Even if your child doesn’t get the results they wanted, you need to praise them and reward them for all of the hard work that they put in. Celebrate their achievements, no matter the results.
- Don’t be upset if your child doesn’t want to talk to you about their results. Give them time, and encourage them to open up either to you, or to a professional.
- If your child didn’t do as well as they’d hoped, encourage and support them to speak to a careers advisor - but don’t pressure them to do this. Give them some time to absorb the news.