So, a new term starting amid what seems to be interminable uncertainty for parents and young people. Who really understands the education system now!? What are free schools? And academies – and how come they seem to be able to opt out of things like feeding children according to nutritional standards? How will your child get on if you didn’t get your first choice of school? Are they going to change the A level system again? Were GCSE results a disappointment?
What about the Young People?
It can be difficult for parents to understand and cope with changes and new Government initiatives – but what about the young people? I was one of a ‘guinea pig’ generation – the first year group to take SATS at every age group, the first to take AS levels etc., and particularly as I got older, I found the uncertainty of having new qualifications tried out on me quite stressful.
Young people pick up very quickly on Mum’s, Dad’s and their teachers’ anxiety. If they didn’t get the results they wanted or expected they will be naturally disappointed. They may also feel they have let parents/themselves down and be worried about what happens next. These sorts of concerns can damage fragile adolescent confidence and may lead to low self esteem. If feelings of failure and disappointment aren’t dealt with well, they can carry on into adult life and sometimes impact on future achievements.
So What Now?
Whenever I talk to concerned parents, I focus on communication, or more importantly listening. When adolescence sets in, the onset of grunting, swearing and moping from young people can often lead to a complete lack of communication, and a lack of desire to communicate on the part of the parents.
However, communication is what will enable anything your young people are struggling with to be aired and if necessary, dealt with. Sometimes just sharing concerns and realising that you understand is enough.
Here are my top tips for communicating with your young people:
"If feelings of failure and disappointment aren’t dealt with well, they can carry on into adult life..."
What if that’s not enough?
If you think that there’s something your child’s not coping well with, and you’re concerned, confidential, impartial coaching may help.