I see an increasing number of youngsters in my therapy business. Often one of the reasons for this is due to the feeling of pressure to achieve certain grades at school. I appreciate that the pressure comes from a number of sources such as teachers, peers, themselves and, in some cases, parents. They may also feel pressure to do as well as their siblings have done already.
Many of the children I see would be studying for a lot of exams, sometimes the number of exams is in double-figures. This means lots of homework and revision. All of this comes at the expense of a balanced life and is underpinned by the belief of “I must do well”. I recognise that some of you may say “it’s only for a short time” but a short time in a youngsters life is long enough to develop many different problems from fatigue, stress related viruses, IBS, anxiety, self-harm, depression, eating disorders and OCD. Of course we all want to do well in exams but the pressure that some youngsters are feeling far outweighs what I consider to be good for their mental and physical health.
As with everything else, it is important to keep communication very open with your child during the revision and exam period and in the year leading up to exams as workload increases. Notice any signs of stress or any change in behaviour. Of course this can be challenging because teenagers are going through a number of physical and emotional changes in any event, due to those pesky hormones.
Because youngsters can be more comfortable with typing out a text or email than verbal communication, using their preferred method may be a good way to keep those communication lines open.
Be prepared to make adjustments if the pressure is getting too much. Those that plan to do ‘A’ levels will know which are their most important subjects for GCSE, therefore help them set a priority list for study and revision. An idea is to mark the subjects follows:
A = Priority
B = Next Level of Importance
C = Nice to have (but non-essential to overall goal)
Encourage them to keep up with other activities they may enjoy such as sport or music. It may be necessary to limit some activities during the revision period but keeping some normality is good and it is unproductive to spend all of their free time revising. There is only so much the brain will absorb. I’ll also add an important fact here. Movement benefits learning and therefore should be encouraged.
There can be a tendency for nutrition to go to pot during the revision and exam period but do your best to encourage them to eat healthily. Poor diet can cause us to feel sluggish, in body and mind. Having simple snacks available, such as tupperware boxes filled with assortment of fruit or salad bites and a healthy sandwich or snack pasta dish for when they get home all ready to go can help. Hydration is also important for learning but ideally steer them away from too many sugary fizzy drinks.
Youngsters also should be aware that there are usually many ways to achieve success and that GCSE and A levels, and in some cases University, are not the only routes to success. Nowadays there are so many courses that can be accessed both on-line and in different colleges and schools. I am a great believer that if someone wants to have a particular career they will find a way to achieve that and it might not necessarily be the ‘normal’ expected route. So keep options open.
Most importantly those exam results do not define the person they are. Results are feedback. Adjustments to plans can be made. Help them to follow their passions and they will do great.
If you would like to know how I can help you or your child please get in touch with me.
ANN BOWDITCH is a member and trainer registered on the General Hypnotherapy Register and General Hypnotherapy Standards Council and has run her own private practice in Guernsey for over 8 years.
Author of The Energy of Anxiety, a self-help book offering new perspectives and modern techniques.
Ann is also a practitioner of a number of therapies including EFT, Energy in Motion, META Health, NES Health, Matrix Reimprinting, Colour Mirrors. She is also a RMTi Consultant – the only one in the Channel Islands. Ann uses her skills to help people overcome many issues including depression, health, stress, weight loss, performance, cravings, addictions, anxiety, insomnia, bullying and confidence issues. She works in a unique way often by combining therapies tailoring sessions specifically for the individual.
“The Energy of Anxiety”
If you wish to find out how Ann can help you please contact her here.
Ann Bowditch GQHP, GHR Reg., META-P
Dip (Hyp) Hypnotherapy
EFT (AAMET Certified) & Matrix Reimprinting Practitioner
Meta-Health & Colour Mirrors Practitioner
RMTi Consultant, NES Health Practitioner
Mindfulness Based Inner Repatterning Practitioner
PSTEC Level 1-A (Advanced PSTEC)
Tel: 07781 111186
Ann Bowditch is a Member & Trainer registered on the General Hypnotherapy Register