What can parents and children do to help cope with GCSE results stress?

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The run-up to exam results day can be a time of great stress for anxious teenagers waiting to see if their hard work has paid off and they have gained the grades they need to set them on to the next phase of their life – whatever that may be.

The NSPCC’s latest figures show that in 2017/18 Childline held 1,298 counselling sessions with children and teenagers worried about their exam results and what to do next – a 15% rise compared to the previous year.

Just under a quarter of counselling sessions were delivered last August – the month when exam results are published.

GCSE results day
Everyone will be apprehensive ahead of their results (Fiona Hanson/PA)

Young people:

– It is normal to feel apprehensive ahead of getting exam results, and you are not alone if you feel concerned.

– Although different scenarios for results day may be going through your head, try to not let any worries overwhelm you.

– In the meantime, she suggests young people try to enjoy their summer break by focusing on the things they enjoy.

– If you are feeling particularly worried or stressed, speak to someone you trust who is a good listener – don’t keep feelings to yourself.

– On results day, it can feel as if your whole future is determined by your results – try to remind yourself this is not the case.

– If your results are not what you hoped for, there will still be lots of opportunities to succeed in life.

– Options include speaking to a careers adviser about next steps, exploring possibilities such as re-sitting exams, going to another college, or changing courses.

School exam stock

– It’s not uncommon for young people to be anxious during the wait for exam results, Jo Hardy, head of parent services at Young Minds says, so if you notice your child is feeling more stressed or snappy, it is important to stay calm.

– “The best thing you can do is acknowledge that your child is feeling worried and reassure them that you will be proud of them, and be there for them, no matter what their results are,” she says.

– Young Minds suggests that planning fun things to do with your child in the run-up to the day can be a good way of spending time together thinking about things other than exams.

– The charity also says that even if parents do not think their child has anything to worry about, they should try not to dismiss their worries or add any extra pressure.

– The NSPCC suggests mums and dads should encourage their child not to compare themselves to their friends or peers, and that it is important they remember they are their own person with their own unique skills and qualities.

Childline can be contacted at 0800 1111.

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