Mummy says… I could be considered a bit of an expert on GCSE Exams – not because of my own, but because I have just got through the fourth result day in my family in the last six years! I want to share with you some of the stress of GCSE Exams.
My teen son has just picked up his first set of GCSE results – he is going into Year 11 next month, and over the last few years the school have split the exams over Years 10 and 11. This may seem like a good thing and in some ways it is, but it also means that the stress of GCSE Exams is now spread over two school years.
My son struggled at the end of Year 10. He reached a point where he felt so overwhelmed, so panicked, in such a low mood that I was really worried about him. I haven’t shared any of this on the blog before, but feel now that it is the right time.
As his mum, I had moments where I feared for him due to how he was feeling. I was worried sick, and realised that the only thing that mattered was having him here. Keeping him here. Nothing else mattered.
I was quite scared, and unsure what to do, but here is what I did, I want to share incase you find yourself in a similar situation.
- I kept the communication channels open with my son. I gently reminded him that I was always there for him, if he wanted to talk.
- If he did start talking to me, I removed all distractions and focused on him.
- I listened. I stopped my thoughts and trying to speak and I listened to him.
- I encouraged him to write down, in complete privacy his thoughts – he found writing in a rap style helped him.
- I gave him space with his older sister, who he did confide in.
- I never asked his sister to break his confidence – I just checked with her that he was ok, and that there was nothing ‘going on’ that I needed to know, for example being bullied.
- I set up a meeting with his Head of Year and the School Nurse. They reassured me how common this was, and we worked out ways of supporting my son together. This removed a lot of anxiety and worry from both myself and my son.
- I talked to my son about focusing on, and thinking about the here and now, and not trying to predict what he thought might happen over the next few years, which is very scary to a (just) 15 year old.
- I took my son to the GP to talk to her. She was wonderful and we have now some additional support in place.
My son, despite his recent difficulties picked up an armful of B’s and C’s in his exams today. To say I am proud is an understatement. He is a very, very clever boy, proven by his achievements today with virtually no effort because he couldn’t, due to the mental place he was in.
All hopes of exam celebration were cancelled a couple of months ago because I didn’t care about exam results, I just wanted my son be here. To want to stay here. I wasn’t worried about school or exams, because as long as he was here, we would figure everything out.
But tonight we have celebrated. A surprise, unexpected celebration which has been wonderful.
I want to say Congratulations to my son, whatever Year 11 brings is ok, because we will face it together. It has been a tough few months, but we have each other and that is all that truly matters.
Have you been affected by the stress of GCSE Exams?