As parents, we need to some of our own study and groundwork first. Make sure you understand the NCEA system – this will help you to gauge the impact of your child’s results better. The NZQA website may help.
Check your own expectations and motivations – you might be concerned for your teen’s future, and fair enough. But don’t make your anxiety their anxiety, and don’t let your own disappointment or frustration at their results get the better of you when you talk to them.
They may not say much, but their behaviour tells you that they are worried or disappointed.
Be curious about how your teen might be dealing with the anticipation of getting their results, and then how they cope with the news when it’s in front of them. They may not say much, but their behaviour tells you that they are worried or disappointed. Either way, create opportunities for them to talk about it and when they do:
Avoid empty platitudes. We want to encourage our kids and let them know we believe in them, but lines like “You’ll be alright” or “Don’t worry there’s always next year” rarely make our kids feel like we understand them.
Avoid “I told you so”. Depending on how difficult it was to get them to study in the first place, we may be tempted to say “I knew this was going to happen” or “If you worked harder before the exam you wouldn’t have needed to be so worried!” While there may be elements of truth to these statements, saying them out loud is absolutely unhelpful.