Supporting your child at exam results time

Before your child receives their exam results, it might be a good time to have a conversation with them to find out what their expectations are and tell them that whatever their results, you will support them.

Waiting for exam results

Exam results time can be a stressful time for your child and also you as you will want to support your son or daughter as they work their way through those crucial weeks. You will have many concerns including:

  • will my child get a place in the university or college of their choice?
  • what will my financial commitments be for the next few years?
  • will my son or daughter be moving away from home?
  • if so, how do we choose the right accommodation?
  • if there’s disappointment and a sense of failure, what is the best way to support them through it?

This is one of the major life changes for any family, so a little preparation can help things move along more smoothly.

When your child's exam results aren’t what they expected

If your child does not get the results they hoped for, reassure them that they still have many options open to them though it might just mean that they take a different route to get the career they want. The most important thing is not to panic.

Encourage them not to rush into any decisions as they need to take time to think about what they want to do next.

If they have done A Levels and have applied for university, find out how to use the clearing system for UCAS in case they do not get the results required for their original university choices. If your child is hoping to go to a further education college, make sure you know who to call for advice in case the grades are not what were expected.

It is still worth contacting the university or college as it may still be possible to get a place with a lower grade.  

You may need to guide them firmly into going back to education and trying again.

However, you have to be careful because young people sometimes might have a better idea than their parents as to what is good for them. Don't push them unless it is clear it is towards something they want to do.

Supporting your child

Listed below is some advice on supporting your child whatever exam results they achieve or educational and work path they choose:

  • you and your child need to communicate- this means both talking and listening to each other and it might help to get someone else such as a teacher, relative or family friend to help
  • put things into perspective - failing an exam isn’t the end of the world and everyone loses out at some time or other
  • your child can re-sit their exams using what they have learned this time round to do better or decide to go a different route next time - what is important is for you to look for positive ways forward and to consider all the options available and 100 per-cent supportive of them
  • whatever front they put on, your child probably cares deeply about their results and about your attitude towards them - encourage them to talk and reassure them that you are behind them and will support them whatever the results
  • separate what you might have wished for yourself at their age from what they wish for themselves now - support them in their dreams rather than pressurising them to do it for you

What next

Whatever the outcome, help and support is at hand. There is a lot to think about so it’s a good idea to take some time to explore the different options to make sure your child makes the best decision. Follow the link below for further information.

You may also want to talk to a professionally qualified careers adviser who will give your child and you impartial information, advice and guidance on what choices are available.

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