It's a stressful time in the Wednesday household.
Yes, the air fairly hums with tension and sparks fly at the least ill-chosen word. There are emotional storms, tears and slammed doors.
The reason? The dreaded GCSEs.
Talking to the parents of other children facing the same exams, I find not all families go through this. Some children exude Zen. They are the ones comforting their parents. "Don't worry," they say, "What will be, will be."
Not my daughter.
We could blame the school, I suppose, for setting her predicted grades so high. But not all academic children go through this. We could blame ourselves for inflicting our expectations on her, but realistically, we have always supported her regardless of her academic performance.
No – in the end, the person who is putting the pressure on my daughter is my daughter herself.
I know how she feels. I can remember revising for my exams, nearly forty years ago. I was convinced I would fail, convinced that I had no future without those exams. Looking back, it was one of the worst times in my life.
So, how do I guide my daughter through this nightmare?
At least she has a mother who understands, and to whom, thank goodness, she can talk. And we do talk.
My husband and I support her through revision, attempting to convince her she does not need to know every text by heart, or to know enough to write each text book herself.
We can persuade her to take time out, to go sailing and to enjoy her scouting activities. I can cook her nourishing meals and provide her with healthy snacks. I can encourage her to do some guided meditation and to practice mindfulness.
But after that, there's nothing we can do. The exam system is what it is. She has done the work and she's got a good brain. We must leave it in the lap of the gods.
And that's the toughest part. It's hard to accept that you have done everything and that you can do nothing more. As parents we cannot do more, and as the one facing the challenge, she can do nothing more – even though she always thinks she could do more revision and yet more!
And – in two years' time she will be going through it all again with A levels, and then in university and then in life.
There are always challenges for us for us to go through. Some people meet them with a happy-go-lucky relaxed air. But - if you are reading this, the chances are you're not one of those people.
So – do you have a methodology for coping? Do you set yourself reasonable goals? Do you take time to do the things you enjoy without guilt? Do you nourish your body with healthy food and take exercise? Do you practise meditation and mindfulness?
You can see it makes sense for my daughter. I think it makes sense for us all.
(Oh, and for any of you chasing an earworm on this title – here you go. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIk9rPHj9FA )
A Moodscope member.
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