DAD.info
Free online course for separated parents
Forum - Ask questions. Get answers.
Free online course for separated parents
DAD.info | Family | Education | Exams and Homework | Teenagers and exams

Teenagers and exams

At the outset, let me say that, if I’m honest, I consider myself a pretty regular, laid-back, rounded sort of guy. I even like to think I’ve got things pretty sorted, however…

My last few years of being a dad have given me total humility regarding my parenting skills. With the experiences I’ve had I would never dare to tell other dads what to do. However, I hope some of this may help you…

This summer, my sons have done ‘A’ levels and GCSEs. At stake were a place at a prestigious university, and a sports scholarship to attend sixth form at a mega-expensive school, rather than the local comp. My oldest son is very conscientious, sensitive and organised and often we needed to tell him to stop work to go to bed, while no. 2 was cool-dude, sports-mad, party-king who had to be nagged, cajoled, bullied and encouraged to begin work and stop going out! We shed tears of anguish as no.1 was rejected from his dream choice of uni, and tears of frustration and stress from all the teenage issues we dealt with with no. 2. There was an occasion when I raced after him in my car, screeched to a halt, horn blaring, shouting loudly out of the window at him… and… not enough room here. This was not an isolated incident.

He and I are both easy-going, but tended to race to 100MPH when hitting certain issues, with plenty of shouting ensuing… too similar in character I think. Going from being his hero and friend to being seen as a dictator figure was tough sometimes. It can also be hard when friends have become more important to them than you.

A big clash came over his choice of girlfriend. We wanted to give him freedom and allow him to make his own choices as much as possible, but I tell you it’s hard, when you firmly believe that your son is making a bad choice. When do you say something? When do you suffer in silence?

Often it was easy to get cross without any major incidents having occurred. Just think of the mess, noise, sister-baiting, grunts, sloppiness, clothes, loud music, lack of energy and general selfishness of teenagers, and battles were never far away…(as I write this, my son goes out grunting and burping, but smiling!)

My wife and I were often exhausted through the emotional turmoil, and wondered if we were doing the right thing. Physical tiredness came from staying awake at night worrying about where they were and if they were ok. How do single parents survive…?

I also faced huge emotional turmoil at the thought of my oldest leaving home. After some years of working hard to find common interests, he has become a very close friend, and I have a pang of anguish every time I think of him not being around. It’s not just missing him, it’s also the guilt and remorse of things I’d done badly as a dad and, in terms of my life, wondering where the last 18 years have gone; have I made the most of them….?

It isn’t all hard! Being a dad has given me the greatest joy in life. We’ve had loads of laughs together too. When you love people so much, you naturally want to help them as best you can, to see them be successful and making the most of their opportunities. How do you do this? It’s hard, but here are a few thoughts:

  • Try to understand what it is like being a teenager, with all the accompanying pressures (Rob Parsons‘ book, Teenagers, and also Boundaries for Kids are both excellent.)
  • Encourage them to do subjects they enjoy!
  • Ensure they know exactly what they need to revise, and the best way to revise. Sounds obvious, but is crucial.
  • Choose your battles. I really did not like my son having an earring. (A friend said he would never allow his son to have one!) But, is a bit of metal in his ear really more important than issues with school work, drink, drugs, smoking, girlfriends, friends, etc. etc…..? (Do you want a good relationship with them, or do you want them to behave exactly as you would want…)
  • Keep the communication going. Try really hard not to look or sound disapproving even if you are screaming inside at what they do, or tell you….
  • Try not to be too hard on yourself when things go wrong.
  • Just do your best. You’ll never know if your decisions are right or not. Make those decisions in love, with their best interests in mind.
  • Find something that you can do together, whatever it is! I found great joy in avidly watching ‘Lost’ (and endlessly discussing it) with my oldest.
  • Go away together. It need not be expensive – camping is great. My oldest son and I had two memorable week-ends away surfing.
  • Get yourself some wise friends who you can unload with, or get advice from.
  • Give them a sense of perspective – make sure they have balance in their lives.
  • Encourage their dreams

 

Related entries

Coping With Exam Results

Coping With Exam Results

Thousands of children will be awaiting their GCSE and A-level results over the next week with both excitement and trepidation. Results day is a big moment in their lives and will impact your teenager's immediate prospects. However, with the right support underpinning...

GCSE results … 9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1?

GCSE results … 9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1?

Results Day GCSE exam results day is this Thursday (August 12th) and by mid-morning our teens will know their results and whether they have made those all-important grades. Reformed GCSEs This is only the fifth year of reformed GCSEs in England so if you are still a...

How to prepare for your kids’ GCSE results

How to prepare for your kids’ GCSE results

So when the schools closure was announced I felt a mixture of emotions, writes Ian Soars.   For my daughters it was unalloyed joy of course. That is until the eldest realised that the braces she was due to have removed in March would be staying! (poor love only...

Latest entries

8+ habits that will improve your mental health

8+ habits that will improve your mental health

It's Mental Health Awareness Week 2024, but we believe you should focus on your mental health every day. Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50, and even if you don't feel low now, there are ways you can optimise your every day mental health to help prevent...

She’s pregnant and seems to hate me!

She’s pregnant and seems to hate me!

So your wife is pregnant, and divorce is on the cards already? Do you feel you can't do anything right, she hates you and you think this is the end of the relationship? Rest assured, this is surprisingly common. Just google the words "my wife is pregnant and she hates...

Sex while pregnant- is it a good idea?

Sex while pregnant- is it a good idea?

Can you have sex while pregnant or does it mean nine months of chastity? Well yes, possibly, but things may continue as normal.  Many women feel protective during pregnancy and their top priority is to make sure the baby is kept safe and well. But, that doesn‘t...

Pin It on Pinterest