Over 140,000 Scottish teenagers have received — or are still anxiously waiting for — exam results today. In less than two weeks, their peers south of the border will be in the same boat. It's a hugely stressful time, even if you're fairly confident you've done well. But do parents make it worse?
It’s a relatively new problem. Proud — even boastful — parents are nothing new, of course, but only since the explosion of social media have they been able to share their kids’ achievements with the world. Last year, parents were even warned against publishing "boast posts" on Facebook about their children’s exam results in case it upset other teens who didn’t perform so well.
It's no secret that publicly, Brits don’t approve of boasting. But the traditional emotional reticence of our nation may be a thing of the past. Although... is sharing your kids’ happy news really boasting? Let’s face it, we publicly congratulate our kids for everything these days. Arriving in the world. First tooth. First steps. Becoming a year older every 12 months. Sporting achievements. Why should academic qualifications be any different?
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with showing how proud you are of your kids when they do well. Celebrating those achievements — whatever they are — can help to boost children’s self-confidence and encourage them to continue to work hard to achieve future goals. It’s simply unfair to expect parents not to express that pride on their social media pages.
That doesn’t mean they can’t be mindful of the fact that not every child will have good news on results day. But surely the responsibility for making those kids feel better lies with their own parents.
If kids don’t get the results they expect or need, what other students have is really the least of their worries. Their parents need to be prepared to deal with all outcomes, and if it’s less than positive, help their child stay calm and think about the next step with a clear head.
A little reassurance that everything will be OK, regardless of what is written on the exam certificate, goes a long way. And maybe a day away from social media wouldn’t go amiss either.
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