Parents and the HSC

Year 12 is an incredibly stressful time for students, but a lot of people forget about the stress that parents go through during the same time. Parents are usually worriers. They don’t usually believe in their students to their fullest extent, and in most cases place extravagant expectations upon their child.

Unfortunately, stressed parents and stressed students are not a good combination and so something has to change in this situation. Ideally both parents and students change, but the biggest change comes with more parental understanding and acceptance of certain things.

Follow the tips below in order to support your child as best as you can.

Actually Care about your Child’s Progress

Often parents are too eager to place their views and their expectations on their child without actually listening to what the child has to say. By suppressing the child’s dreams and misguiding them without regard for their skills and their ability is only recipe for disaster. Instead of doing this, you should ensure that you actually listen to their side of the experience and assist them in achieving THEIR goals, and not yours. Make the time to listen and validate their thoughts, feelings and generally how they’re coping with the HSC. If these don’t necessarily align to your way of thinking, don’t dismiss them straight away. Rather discuss why they may be heading the wrong direction, and make sure you highlight your own aims and expectations of them. Make sure these are reasonable and not unachievable an example of this would be a routine D level student being asked to achieve A level marks for maths. Such an improvement is fine to aim for over a period of time, but is way too hard to achieve in 1 assessment task.

In addition to this, make the time for you to familiarise yourself with what your child is learning. Far too often parents and children find themselves on opposing platforms purely because the parent doesn’t actually know what the child is studying at school. Sure you know your son is studying chemistry, biology or whatever, but do you know the exact topics?

By knowing the exact topics, you can better relate to the difficulties and stresses your child faces in the HSC. Moreover, you’ll be able to help them out more specifically rather than giving them general advice like “Go to your room and study!!”. Instead, by taking an active interest into what they’re learning may even motivate them to engage more with the content being taught as they are comforted in the knowledge that you are supporting them as much as you can.

Keep the HSC in Perspective

Living in Australia gives us so many benefits in terms of career pathways and post high school study options. Parents need to realise that the HSC isn’t the end all and be all. Rather it is the first pathway students encounter in their post high school journey. Succeed here and you’ll be given options to choose from. But if you don’t make it here, then there are so many more pathways that open up and allow you to get to the same end result as someone who got a 99+ ATAR in the HSC.

Moreover, don’t make the HSC seem like the only thing in their lives during year 12. Rather than cutting them off from all their extracurricular activities, open up the opportunities to go and play a sport or go and join a certain group. Encourage them to do something fun. High school only happens once so make sure they make use of the opportunities that happen by being a high school student.

In addition, don’t nag your child to study 24/7. This creates a disproportionate expectation of the real world. Your boss doesn’t nag you at work to get things done, so you should create the expectation that the world revolves on other people chasing people up to get work done. Rather, let your child manage their time properly. If you notice that they can’t control themselves, step in and help them create a timetable or method of getting things done without procrastination. This way you are taking an active interest in their learning, and chances are they’ve been dying for someone to help them out.

Preach Optimism

Negativity and self-doubt are often the most detrimental things to a HSC students’ performance. Simply the fact that they can’t do something or they fail an assessment has an incredibly detrimental impact on their mindset towards the HSC and essentially crushes their dreams.

Once they adopt this mindset, chances are they lose the motivation ot study and will end up procrastinating for the rest of the year. One thing you could do as a parent is to preach optimism. Rather than putting them down for their result in the exam, tell them they should use it as a lesson for the future. Make them realise that after their performance, they have a unique chance to bounce back and take everyone by surprise. Optimism is incredibly underrated in today’s society and is a great tool in changing someone’s perception of a situation.

Following this, make sure they stick to their future plans by checking in with them every day and asking them how they’re going with that particular subject.

Essentially, the morale of this article is to take an active interest in your child’s learning. Be supportive rather than condescending, and finally think back to when you did you your year 12 exams. I guarantee you that you’ve faced the same pressures and struggles then and so try to relate to them using your past experiences.

If you need further assistance on how you can best support your child, feel free to contact us over here.


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