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They didn’t get the results they wanted…What do I do?

They didn’t get the results they wanted…What do I do?

They’ve had a fun and exciting summer before the beginning of their new journey after GCSEs, but unfortunately, they’ve been greeted with results they didn’t quite hope for. It can be stressful as their parents and/or loved ones to know what is best to do or say to them so here are some do’s and don’ts when it comes to consoling them over their results.

1. Your best show of support is just to listen.

Try not to over-stimulate them when their brains are probably going a million miles per hour still. They probably feel a lot of guilt and embarrassment from this negative experience, especially after working very hard to get the grades they were aiming for I’m sure. Be their safe space to express their emotions and allow them to share some of the pain with you as they talk it out. This way, they will have respect for your opinion much more and in turn, listen when it’s your turn to speak.

2. Reassure them of your feelings.

One thing that will be upsetting them most is how they think you’re feeling. I’m sure they wanted nothing more than to do you proud (as well as themselves) and the feeling of letting people down is a horrible one. Tell them how proud you are of them and how grades do not define this.

3. Try to keep them on a clear path.

They will be very overwhelmed by ‘what’s next’ and ‘what’s the right thing’ to do vs what they’d actually like to do. They may be wanting to quit, drop out, blame teachers, or bury their heads in the sand. Be their voice of reason and calm by helping them rationalise and think through their options in a clear and concise way. These grades are not the end of the road for them (and if retaking is an option, not even their final score is completely final!)

4. Let them feel.

Even though it can be really painful to witness them crying or upset, don’t discourage them from doing so. Please remember that it’s normal for them to feel this way and important for them to let it out. As much as you prefer to see them happy and positive, try not to rush the process by telling them how to feel.

5. Keep your support uplifting and realistic.

When you feel like you’ve failed and feel hopeless, the last thing you want to hear from people is that ‘everything will be ok’, especially when that’s the exact opposite of how you are feeling. Encourage them to look at the things they have done well and praise them for this. It can also be a great idea to get them to channel the strategies that led to that success and remind them that they can achieve. If possible, it always helps young people if they feel like they can relate to another person experiencing similar troubles. If you yourself or another student/someone they admire had to retake tests or succeeded without the results they wanted, this can be a great way to provide them with evidence that it will all work out for them no matter what.

6. Give them some downtime.

During this intense period of studying, taking the exams, and waiting for results, they’ve probably had very little time to completely switch off. Take them away from this mindset for a short amount of time to recharge and allow themselves the chance to revisit everything with a reenergised mindset.

Failure is just a part of everyday life but it is important to remind them that this does not make them a failure. You can never feel and/or achieve success without failing sometimes

and you should encourage them to see it as a chance to learn and grow. The only time we ever fail in life, is when we completely give up.