May 7

Exams are stressful for parents too: how to cope with the stress of your daughter's exams

Year 11 start their GCSEs now and are on Study Leave during the remainder of the GCSE period and Year 13 are not far behind with the A Levels fast approaching.

The rest of the Senior School follow with their exams after the May Half Term. Many parents find their daughters’ exams surprisingly stressful – I certainly found my own daughter’s GCSEs and A Levels stressful and had not expected that to be the case. You may feel that you are walking on eggshells at home in dealing with a stressed and moody teenager coping with revision (if your daughter is neither particularly stressed nor moody then I envy your good fortune).

There is, however, plenty of advice out there and I particularly enjoyed Anna Williamson’s book, How Not To Lose It: Mental Health Sorted. In it she suggests that you don’t compare siblings – one will undoubtedly have a well organised ‘system’ with a colour coded revision timetable, whilst the other seems to revise on the back of an envelope. If that is their method it is probably wise to accept it. She also advises that you shouldn’t keep telling them how you revised and what exams were like back in the day – actually, Williams argues, it is about them now. Don’t question their preparation (I found this one really difficult when my daughter took her exams); they know how much or little they have done and don’t need reminding that they are already behind if that is the case. When it comes to exams they are on their own; no one can do it for them in the exam hall and they need to do the revision themselves and in their own way.

What you can do is ask if they need anything (lots of healthy snacks help) and plan an end of exams celebration for the family because it will be over before you know it.

Very best of luck to all parents with children going through exams!


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