The wait for the 2016 matric results is over. The December holidays would have been a little more stressful in households where there was concern over a pupil’s performance.
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It is very important that parents and caregivers prepare themselves so that, on results day, they are equipped to assist and support disappointed pupils in the best way possible.
The way adults respond when results are revealed can significantly impact on the resilience of matriculants following a disappointment. If the holidays had been used as a period to pave the way for a future response and to determine the nature of conversations that could be held to plan the next step, disappointments might be significantly eased.
It is particularly important to remember that although the adults may also feel deeply disappointed, they should manage their own emotions. The first thing to do for the adults is to take stock and consider their unified position, so that their energy can be focused on the pupil and not on resolving parental or family disputes.
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Responsible adults are encouraged to ask direct questions, such as when and where and how the young person would access their results. Build your plans around those of the young person. Share your own feelings of anxiety and normalise them, for instance by saying: “I am feeling stressed about your results, too, but remember we can figure this out together and take it from there.”
Reaffirm your unconditional acceptance of the young person. Importantly, parents and caregivers should begin to talk about other options in such a manner that the student understands that “bad” results are not the end of the world.
Payne is the head of faculty: information and communication technology at the Independent Institute of Education (IIE).