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High-achieving children who are perfectionists can be most in danger.” Fortunately, schools recognise that exam stress exists, and that they have a role to play in reducing it.
“Fathers in particular tend to want to 'fix things’ but this can lead to teenagers perceiving they can’t be trusted, or can’t manage their own learning, which leads to feelings of powerlessness.
"Young people tend to know what works best for them, so help them with their revision plans but don’t lead them; let them see you can trust them and tell them they will manage.” However tempting it may be to poke your head around their bedroom door when they are supposed to be revising – don’t. Laurie Harvey suggests: “Ignore untidy bedrooms and cut them some slack.
I have never seen it work.” It’s all about balance though: treats and socialising are encouraged but avoid junk food and especially sugar.
Vessey advises parents: “The key is maintaining the right attitude in terms of embracing the challenges of exams, but also using the outcomes – whatever they may be – in a constructive way.
“Teenagers react differently: some will eagerly accept offers of help while others prefer a parent-free zone.
"Giving advice may be perceived as criticism and we should respect their autonomy.
There is even some evidence that untidy rooms are a sign of creativity.” Be aware, also, that tidying can be employed by the child as an excuse for not working.
Dr Coombes explains, “Some teenagers develop distraction activities which may include enthusiastic cleaning of bedrooms and tackling chores which would otherwise be avoided – they’ll do anything rather than sit down to revise.
’” Dr Coombes understands that parents may have the best intentions in their efforts to help out, but that they may still do more harm than good.
"A well-meaning parent may try to take control by planning their teenager’s revision timetable,” Dr Coombes says.