Are you a parent who is worried and struggling with your teenager’s exam stress?
Perhaps you have just argued again with your teenager. You feel awful. And that drama is on top of the difficulties you have encountered at work today. You don’t need it! You have got too many other things to think about!
You feel frustrated with your teenager for not putting enough effort into studying. They are untidy and lazy and don’t seem to understand the importance of revising for their exams.
But you do feel worried about them. They were always a relatively easy child to deal with. You thought you had a good relationship. But now the pendulum has swung the opposite way, and you feel like your relationship is a rock bottom.
Yes, you had arguments before. Often they were about silly things, but the issue was over quickly. Yes, they have been like most kids; cheeky at times, but this feels different.
They seem fussier with their food. They won’t turn the light out till late and pull against the usual boundaries. You wonder if you heard them get up in the night.
The teachers can see the potential as they say their work is fine, although they always say that making more effort would help.
This all seems to have started this last year as exams are looming.
So what’s changed?
It’s exam time. But are the exams really having this impact on their behaviour?
How can you get on better and avoid these arguments? You want to communicate and find out what is wrong, but your teen doesn’t even look at you when speaking these days.
Why is he or she procrastinating all the time? Starting homework is always in a minute. When you ask why they are not revising, that causes them to go off in a huff.
Communication feels difficult or impossible much more now.
You feel exhausted.
The atmosphere has become toxic.
But most of all, your teenager isn’t doing any revision for the exams, and time is whizzing past.
You debate with yourself about punishment. Should you ban television? Or maybe you could remove their mobile phone. You could stop them from seeing their friends, but you have noticed that they aren’t going out much now anyway.
You want them to do well. You care about them. You love them and want them to pass their exams and progress into a good job so they can become independent.
Has exam stress really made them change that much?
What needs to change?
You know that things can’t go on the way they are. Something needs to change, but you feel you have tried everything.
Your inner critic keeps asking questions. Are they suffering from exam stress, or is it something else?
And now, you question whether you should change or if the problem is the family, the environment or the school.
What can you do?
Some things can help.
The first step is to identify that you have a problem that isn’t improving.
If you think the problem is health-related, contact your doctor.
You could try communicating with your teenager again.
Ask them if you can help with the revision. The BBC helps children with homework and revision.
The next step is to learn more about exam stress and get help and support if it all feels too overwhelming. The National Health Service website can signpost you to organisations that help families.
But if you want to find a self-help book that directs you to answers, watch out for a new book designed for parents like you. This book is called Teenager Exam Stress: A Parents Survival Guide by Linda Witchell. It will be available on Amazon in March 2023.
This book will answer questions such as:
Is this normal?
Do exams cause stress?
Why do we get stressed before an exam?
What are exam stress symptoms?
Is my teenager struggling with exam stress?
What helps to relieve stress before an exam?
Being a parent is not easy, but there is help if things are becoming difficult.
Hi, I’m Linda. I’m a counsellor, hypnotherapist and coach who has helped many parents to deal with the stress of being a parent. Learn more about me and how I help people with stress and anxiety issues. Contact me for a free initial consultation.