Exam Results Day: How Can I Support My Child?

As A Level, BTEC and I/GCSE results day approaches, how can you best support your child during this potentially stressful time, help them navigate the outcome of their results, and take the next steps towards university or their first job?
Exam Results Day: How Can I Support My Child?
By Carli Allan
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Exam Results Day can be a stressful and overwhelming time for both students and parents. With many students feeling the pressure to achieve high grades and reach their goals, it's important to provide your child with emotional support and guidance, regardless of the outcome.

For advice on how you can help your child stay positive, explore different options, and move forward with confidence, WhichSchoolAdvisor.com speaks to Miranda de Freston, Director of Happy Confident Kids.

'Grades Don't Define Us'

"Thinking about what we would tell our younger self is a wonderful way to quantify what exam results mean; they don’t define us," says Miranda.

"Whatever the result if we can empower young people to take charge of their lives, set the destination of where they want to go, watch for bumps in the road, re-route where needed they will find a way.

"Confidence and resilience are two key life skills that can set us up for success, whatever challenges we face in life."

Dear Younger Self 

I am sitting here thinking about our life and how we got where we are now, all the twists, turns and bumps in the road to get to this happy place. I am a parent of two children, in a long-term relationship doing a job I love; running a business helping to build children's confidence and resilience coupled with getting children more access to nature learning well-being techniques; I feel all aspects of my life have led me to this point.

I wanted to check in and just tell you that it will all be ok, that no matter what you are feeling now or the challenges you face it will be ok and you have the resilience and tenacity to take on anything. There are points in your life where you might feel like you have failed, or you are not good enough. Those moments will not define you; they will give you the means to move forward, stronger and more resilient. They will teach you skills you won’t expect and lead you to become someone who is a leader, fights for others, is patient and has great empathy. 

If right now you are staring down at your exam results, with the poor results, which you knew were coming, know this one thing - this day will not define who you are, better things will come; brighter days, happier days, days where you will feel truly valued, clever, and fulfilled. 

You did not have the support you needed for success at this time, on top of being in a system that did not work for you and studying topics you did not enjoy – it was a recipe for disaster. You will take charge of what happens next, you will grow and learn from the setbacks you face. You will be a great daughter, sister, friend and colleague and you will go on to build an amazing life with your partner and through adversity create two incredible humans. 

We are still a work in progress, we are still driving down the path managing the twists, turns and bumps in the road with our head held high. 

I love you. Miranda x 

Before Results Day

  • Before the exam results take time out together as a family to celebrate getting to this point and whatever comes next. 
  • Stay calm and confident – your young person will feed off your emotions. 
  • Create a stable support system – move away from the drama that can be around at this time. 
  • Comparison to others or even you can be unhelpful. 
  • The words we use matter; instead of saying “Don’t worry” try “You’ve got this”, using the word worry tells our brain to worry. 
  • Help you child prepare for success and if you or they have not then be prepared for results you and your young person might not like, be realistic. 
  • Empathise with your child; talk about when you have had challenges where things weren't as you thought but you found a way. 
  • Talk to your child about expectations this can help set the scene for everyone; understand what they consider good to look like e.g you might be expecting a B when they know it's likely to be a C which they are happy with. 

On Results Day

  • Give your young person space and time to process the outcome – they might not want to talk about it or analyse it. 
  • When your young person is ready be there to listen and support where needed, be open to the path they want to take. 
  • Have fun, blow out the cobwebs, connect in nature, hug, bake cakes and just be. 

Next Steps

The results that your young person gets in their exams are pre-determined, once they sit them, at this point they can’t change them, they are a stepping stone, and the steps they make now define what happens next. 

If the results mean your child can’t get into the college or university, or on the career path they (or you) initial wanted, then support them to find alternative paths. If they want/need to resit exams help them to find the confidence for this and build inner trust that they can do it and they will find a way through. 

Happy Confident Kids specialises in teaching children how to manage their emotions, resolve anxiety, and build their confidence – and works with children and teens throughout the UK and online around the world.

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