21/08/2014 08:26 BST | Updated 20/05/2015 10:12 BST

Exam Results Day: Advice For Parents

Secondary pupils getting their GCSE results at school UK. (Photo by Photofusion/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

GCSE exam results day is August 21 this year.

As exams results day looms teenagers will be filled with a mounting sense of dread and nervousness, replaying exam paper questions and their own answers over in their heads and trying to predict their results. It's a stressful time for parents too.

Some advice for parents for GCSE exams results day

1. Talk to your child in the run-up to the exam results day about how they think they did. Reassure them that whatever the results, you are proud of them and will always love them. These results matter to them (sometimes contrary to their studiously relaxed pose!) and it matters enormously that they know you are there for them unconditionally.

2. Even more importantly, listen to your child's expectations and worries. Remember this time is about your child, and not about the opportunity to show off on Facebook about your child's stunning results.

You may be able to help by talking about your own nerves, successes and failures. But your own experiences should not cloud theirs. This is not a competition. Separate what you wanted at their age from what they are hoping for and planning for themselves.

3. Keep calm. You're the adult and you have more life experience than your teenager. Your role is to be supportive, sensible, reassuring - their rock, come tears or triumph or an emotional mix. (But recognise that this is an emotional time for you as the parent as your child completes another life stage on their path to adulthood - and away from you.)

4. Make sure your child understands this is not about success and failure but about what they do next. Lots of successful, talented, happy people did badly in exams (Albert Einstein, Sir Issac Newton, Winston Churchill for starters) and lots of people who did brilliantly at exams have led disappointing adult lives. It's not the be all and end all of their lives. They may have been drilled about the importance of exams, grades and results by their schools but the reality is these results are just one stage in their long lives.

5. Make practical preparations. Do you know what time your child has to pick up exam results from school? Do they want you to accompany them or are they happy to go with friends? Are you able to be nearby to give them a hug - congratulatory or consoling, rather than take a stressed phone call from work?

If your child is planning to go to college or sixth form, make sure you know who to call and have numbers to hand in case the grades are not quite what was expected or if your child wants to change previously chosen subjects at A-level.

Children taking their GCSEs this year must stay in some form of education or training until their 18th, whether that's full time education, an apprenticeship or traineeship or a part-time course or traineeship alongside work or volunteering.

6. Accept that your child may not want to celebrate with you. Chances are they will be want to be partying with their friends and you shouldn't be too prescriptive. But do plan to mark the event and celebrate their efforts, perhaps just on a day that fits in with their social calendar.

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