Do you have a teenager who has just finished a tough period of exams? Or do you have a child that’s had to deal with a tough situation? All children will experience degrees of stress at some time in their lives (peer pressure, bullying, school pressure, arguments with friends or family etc) and our influence, as parents, is crucial.
If your child is in the school system they will, at some stage, experience exam pressure. And it’s not just about writing the exams, the stress of waiting for results is often worse – especially for an anxious child.
Here are some tips to help reduce stress and anxiety in your children and help them maintain a sense of balance during difficult times.
- This too will pass. Children and adults cope much better if they know there is an endpoint. Overpowering feelings can be controlled by knowing that they are not permanent – and they will pass.
- Challenge them on unreasonable thoughts (extremism) and remind them of previous instances of success or coping.
- If necessary help them draw up plans for potential outcomes. If they need certain results to continue with their studies – draw up a series of outcomes and paths they can take.
- Make sure they know you will love and support them unconditionally.
- Build their confidence and talk about how they are feeling.
- Use self-disclosure. Tell them about situations you’ve been in and how you coped.
- Plan something fun for after results day or the end of term together. An outing or a holiday is something positive to look forward to.
The coping skills they learn in childhood are essential to help them cope in adulthood – so use the time to guide and help them develop confidence and strategies to get through these stressful and difficult times.
If your child continues to battle or you need more help – don’t be afraid to ask. Start with your school or GP or if you are really worried, get in touch with CAMHS.