Emotional First Aid when A-Level Results Go Wrong
Posted on 12th August 2020 at 10:55
Tomorrow morning will bring a very unusual results day for A-Level students across the country, results for examinations they haven’t had to sit.
This group of students have already experienced different losses this year around the loss of normal, routine, school or sixth form, proms, and more.
We wish you all the best of luck and hope that you get the results you were hoping for.
Providing emotional support
As a parent or carer, you will most likely want to be supportive, but may be encountering many conflicting feelings yourself.
If your son or daughter is disappointed about not receiving the results they were expecting, we would like to provide you with some emotional support and tips for you both (downloadable version below).
1. Avoid the temptation to tell them not to feel bad or sad, or not to cry
They are disappointed and this emotion does not need to be fixed. Their sadness may be amplified if friends have been accepted to their first-choice universities or if they feel their teachers and advisors may be disappointed in them.
2. Remember they have experienced a loss
Remember they have experienced a loss – of the hopes, dreams, and expectations they had for their university or career – and that loss needs to be acknowledged. You can let them know that conflicting feelings are the normal and natural response to this loss. If they do not feel like talking or sharing, that’s okay.
3. Listen without offering solutions or advice
When things don’t go as well as expected, we tend to tell students to “look on the bright side”, or “you can always do re-sits”. While this may be true, students may need to grieve first. If they open up to you, try to listen without offering solutions or advice.
They will be far more open to advice and to determining their own plan of action if they feel that they have been heard and understood. Statements such as “You revised so much for that exam. I can imagine how disappointing that must be,” are far more comforting and effective.
4. Be emotionally honest with ourselves
It’s important to remember that YOU may be feeling disappointment and fear as well. At times like these we do not need to buy into the myth that we need to be strong for our children. Instead, we can be emotionally honest with ourselves and take note of the hopes, dreams, and expectations you may have lost, too.
Depending on your relationship, you may even share these feelings with your child or with a friend or partner.
5. Be patient and understanding
Even when we know in our hearts that our children can be successful and happy no matter happens, this can be a very trying time in their lives. It’s also a difficult time to be a parent. When we consider the immense changes in routine and the transitions through which we are going, it’s no wonder that we experience grief.
Supporting ourselves and our children through this time with patience and understanding is the most important thing we can do.
Resources to support families with loss
We have created several resources for schools and for parents, including the handouts below - click on the image of the handout to open the PDF in your browser.
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