Be a helpful parent on results day

To say it’s the middle of the school holidays, we’re about to have two of the most stressful periods of the whole educational calendar.

Teenagers up and down the land will be finding out their much-anticipated A-Level results this Thursday, with GCSEs the following Thursday.

It’s a time when students can start firming up their choices for what they go on to do next. Hopefully, it’s a time of excitement, satisfaction and celebration. But obviously not everything goes to plan for everyone.

2022’s results days will have particular focus as this year’s students are the first since the pandemic who’ve sat their full exams, rather than having their grades determined by teacher assessment.

They’ve endured tough, and in many ways, unique years of education. They’re the first – and hopefully last – to study through lockdowns and extended periods of remote learning and have already been tested in ways that previous years haven’t.

But in any year, there’s a lot riding on the results. And for parents it’s often a case of trying to work out how best to offer support.

It’s worth bearing in mind that more than 30 per cent of students said their parents made them feel worse about results day, according to research carried out by the University of Bradford and The Student Room.

Exam results day advice

There’s book loads of good advice online on how you can avoid being ‘that parent’. We’ve picked out a few highlights for anyone looking for a quick refresher!

  1. Prepare yourself. It might sound a bit self-centred, but how you react to bad news if everything hasn’t gone quite as hoped will be remembered for a long time. Your child will have to deal with their own disappointment, heaping yours on top will not be helpful. Plan ahead to what you’d want to say – emotional support, practical advice.
  2. And under the heading of practical advice. Have you got those contact numbers and emails for school, university, UCAS, training providers etc etc. Don’t be scrabbling round on the day, do a little homework so you can suggest who to call, just in case brains aren’t fully functioning.
  3. What’s Plan B? Plan As are notorious under-achievers, they just don’t always come through for us. But that’s not the end of the world – it’s time to move on to Plan B and what next. It may be that a little time and consideration is needed to get to this point, that’s fine, but don’t let ‘thinking time’ slip into inaction.
  4. Don’t compare grades to siblings, cousins, friends, the local brainbox down the road. There’s good advice in this Telegraph. Although it could be put more succinctly as ‘engage brain before speaking’. A comparisons conversation is not going to end well if someone is already feeling down.
  5. There can be pressure on young people to see this day in terms of black and white – success or failure. But as the BBC’s Bitesize website says ‘remind them they have their whole adult life ahead of them, and this is one step in a longer journey’.

Best of luck…

Useful websites: