In this video and vlog, we are going to explore how you can empower your teen to move forward with their exam results by looking at:

1. What is so;

2. How to take responsibility;

3. How other successful people, who didn’t achieve their expected grades, moved onwards;

4. What opportunities are open to them.

1. What is so.

 Many teens may feel relieved that their teachers’ grades will be used for their final results. Yet, there are others who may still feel disappointed,dismayed and disheartened. Whatever your child is feeling is perfectly acceptable. Allow your child to go through their emotions. But, do not feed into it. What I mean by this, is do not use language that feeds into story and that is full of judgement. Instead, objectively break-down what has happened (almost like a surgeon dissecting). You can do this by doing the following:

  • Saying/writing down the course they were on.
  • Saying/writing down what grade they wanted.
  • Saying/writing down what grade they needed to go on to do what they wanted.
  • Saying/writing down that their is a global pandemic.
  • Saying/writing down that they did not sit the exam.
  • Saying/writing down the grades they have achieved.

Breaking it down helps you and your teen to see that everything else is what we put on it. We add meaning to the things above. We can do this by saying, ‘You did well’. Or, ‘You did badly’. Neither one of those statements is what is so.

After going through the break-down, ask your teen what they would have done had they sat the exam and not met their own expectations. Would they have re-sat their exams? Would they have gone on to another training program? Would they have gone to employment? Doing this helps your teen to see what is important to them. After-all, no one likes ‘losing’. By ‘losing’, I mean not doing as well as they hoped.

2. How to take responsibility.

Your child may feel like a victim. Who can blame them? The decision not to take the exams was not theirs. They were on a two year course, culminating to a final exam to determine their entire grade, and they were unable to sit their exams through no fault of their own. It is easy to see why many teens may feel powerless and that they have been treated unfairly. However, this is not empowering and it does not move your child on.

To encourage your child to move from victim to victor, ask them to take responsibility. Responsibility has become a loaded term in society. It is often misconstrued as taking blame, but that is not the case. Being responsible means being accountable for one’s actions, which means taking ownership of one’s actions, and choosing how to respond rather than simply reacting.

3. Other successful people, who didn’t achieve their expected grades.

 Your child may feel like things are happening to them. They may feel that no one understands them and that their world is crashing down. Remind your child that they are not alone and that there are many people who have gone through similar experiences. Here are three examples:

Clare Balding (English journalist, broadcaster and author) failed her Latin and History A-level. She also messed up her Cambridge University interview. She decided to take a two year gap to study and to indulge in her passion of race-horsing. Nervous in interviews, she took up coaching in interview technique. After two extra years, she re-sat her exams and went for another interview at Cambridge University. She was accepted.

Tinie Tempah (rapper) wanted to be an accountant. He achieved 2 Bs and a D grade. Not having the grades to follow his dreams, he chose to go into employment. He sold double-glazing, which helped to fund his passion in music. Had he not had that initial set-back with his grades, he may not had success in music.

Dr Mark Lythgoe (PhD neurophysiologist) achieved 3 Fs and an E. His parents cried at the news. However, Dr Lythgoe didn’t doubt his abilities; he has said that “failure was [his] closest friend’, but he kept on going. At 37, he received his PhD and is now one of the most renowned doctors in his field.

Looking at all these anecdotes, it should not only inspire you and your teen, it should clearly show that an exam grade does not determine one’s future. The only person who can decide that is your teen.

Equally, it is important to note that there are many examples of people achieving exam success (by that I mean obtaining grades they desired and required) and not fulfilling their dreams. This is worth noting, as it highlights that the exam results do not mean success or failure, it is how the individual responds with what they have.

4. What other routes are open to them.

There are many options available to teenagers after their GCSEs and A-levels.

Here are four great links to help you and your teen sit down and look at what they want to do now to have a happy, fulfilling life:

After A-levels

https://www.prospects.ac.uk/applying-for-university/alternatives-to-university

https://www.youthemployment.org.uk/yp-article/what-to-do-after-a-levels-apprenticeships-degree-job/

[Accessed 18/08/2020]

After GCSEs

https://www.ucas.com/further-education/ucas-progress/getting-started/what-are-my-options-after-gcses-or-national-5s

https://www.youthemployment.org.uk/gcse-results-day-comes-next-gcses/

[Accessed 18/08/2020]

Overall

Overall then, it is understandable that teens may feel disappointed, dismayed and disheartened. But, that is not an excuse to sensationalise their pain. Instead, break down what has happened. Look at what is so, so you and your teen can move from victim to victor. Remind them: they are not alone. You and your teen can take heed in how different communities in society banded together for exam results. It serves to highlight how people want what’s best for young people and for society.

Then, look at examples of people who have been where your teen is at. What did they do to empower themselves to move forward. 

Finally, look at what your teen can do now!