Exam Revision: How Can Parents Best Support Young People?
With the blossoms coming and going, I thought I would write about the blossoming tree, currently in full bloom in gardens. Perhaps this year, they will produce something more than blossom. It's that time of the year where our young people are (hopefully) revising for their formal GCSE and A level exams.
The pressure is on, for parents and young people. Are our young people being industrious? Or perhaps they're watching daytime TV, gaming, sleeping, whilst we parents/carers are literally not only working but also pulling our hair out, worrying on their behalf of the unseen hours. Perhaps the expectations from older generations, passed down to us are pressurising because we feel the same. Expectations rule this time of the year, both in the garden and for our young people. What can we do to enable and nurture?
I gently suggest that harnessing this precious holiday time and future weekends and time together doesn't have to be a four hour opera; 20 minutes here and there is good enough. Young people are pressured enough and experience anxiety, depression, a sense of failure, invisibility, identity and these conditions compound their existential way of being. Time away from academia, internships, part-time work offer relief and a sense of industriousness without becoming bogged down.
What does precious time mean? Young people have a lifetime ahead of them, or maybe little time. Like blossoms on the trees, they can and will grow albeit crookedly, despite possible failures, diseases, success and happiness. Perhaps they are being victims, adaptive or rescuers? It's a perfect storm where the drama triangle plays out. Now is the time to harness empathy, congruency and unconditional positive regard and pass it on to young people, if you haven't already. Or perhaps feeling safe and connected enough to “go for it” and harness their dreams of their future
Precious time to me means:
Play: Lego building, cooking, planting, cycling, swimming – the list is endless.
Hanging out: doing the washing up, folding the washing, watching a film and sharing a favoured exercise.
Connection: being party to their internal world through social media, taking a stroll together, putting on an act for the whole family and simply sitting side by side reading their favourite fairy tale.
Listening: to your adolescent and yourself
Be curious about them and notice the changes. Noticing means that you understand, can empathise, encourage, yet also be your own self.