Approaching exams can build up a lot of pressure for your teen. They imagine they’ll let you down, their teachers down, themselves down and it can create fear and anxiety.
While you don’t want the total opposite (too relaxed and they might not revise!) how can you tell if they’re not coping?
These are our top six signs that your child might be suffering from anxiety, and a couple of tips for how to help as a parent.
Issues with control
If your child feels worried about their future and how well they’ll do in exams, being over-controlling with family members, events or their eating can be a way they reclaim a sense of control. This can also manifest in rebellious or defiant behaviour, if they’re acting out or being more argumentative than usual.
We all know the feeling where thoughts race around in your head as you lie awake, tossing and turning into the night. For teens, the combination of hormones and a fear of failure about the future can cause them to have trouble getting to sleep, often for the first time in their life.
Quick to anger
If your child is worried about school or upset about something else in their life, they can have less patience and be more likely to lash out.
Avoiding activities or events (including school)
If anxiety is getting them down, your child might feel more socially anxious. This can make them stop wanting to go to school or other social events, which are otherwise helpful and relaxing.
This one is doubly unfair. If your teen’s really anxious about revision, they can become too panicked to even concentrate on their studies, which can then make them even more anxious.
Crying and difficulty managing emotions
It’s at least perhaps more familiar to you as a parent, but if your child feels weighed down by exam pressure and they can’t work out what to do, then a natural response can be to cry. It wasn’t long ago that they were small children after all, and even us adults can cry when we get overwhelmed.
If you spot one or more of these signs and feel that they’re unhealthy coping strategies for your child, have a talk about exam anxiety. It’s also worth chatting with one of your child’s teachers or the school’s pastoral representative too – there may be more support or concessions available in school that can help ease the nerves.
It might be that a bit of structured one-to-one support is all your teen needs to boost their confidence.
Our online tutors are all at top UK unis, so they understand exactly what your child is going through, and they can pass along all their top study tips in a relatable way. With their friendly expert helper, they can go through any topics that your child has found tricky in class, and help them work out their revision plan week-to-week. This personalised academic support can help them tackle their anxiety practically and effectively. With their studies sorted, you can get on with the nice bits of parenting – love, assurance and hugs.