GCSE’s are probably one of the most stressful times a parent can face. There are so many conflicting messages, you aren’t sure what your child is supposed to be learning – how they should be revising and in between all the worry you are constantly trying to get them to put their phone down to do some work! So many of my clients ask me 'How can I help them with all of the stuff they have to learn?'
But there is hope.
It is relatively easy to find out what your teen needs to know to succeed. Your first point of call is the school that he or she attends. Hopefully they have sent you a list of your teens’ exams complete with their exam board (for example AQA, Edexcel, OCR). This is the first step. You can visit all their websites and then look at the different areas they are supposed to be learning about.
Next, sit down with your teen (if you can pin them down!) and get them to look at their predicted grades, their current grades and what they want to achieve. Ultimately, you may have certain ideas about what they should be achieving but they may have very different ideas. The exams are hard, there is a lot of pressure and you just have to make sure that you know what they want to achieve. Once this has been established, talk to them about how they are going to get there. Are you going to look for a tutor? Where can they set aside time to revise in their week? How will they revise and work in your home? Will you need to set up a nice quiet corner somewhere?
These conversations will help your teen to feel supported and help you to understand how they are going to be working in the next few months.
These ideas can be extended to younger and older teens. It is always important to work with them and not against them. They are looking up to you for guidance and advice (even if it doesn’t feel like that most of the time!)
AND if you notice your teen getting stressed, retreating into their shells then talk to them, take them out shopping or milkshakes and ask them what is going on. You aren’t their friend, but their parent and you need to help them through this as it will act as the foundation to how they deal with larger issues and stresses later in life!
Finally, remember that these exams are not the end of the world. You teen can do nothing apart from do their best and follow their own path.