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I was sat in school canteen at my child’s prospective school, with most parents either on iPhones or laptops, making idle chit chat or privately thinking … “my child should do better than yours… “. Oh yes it is 11+ exam time.

On arrival early on a Saturday morning, we are separated from our children as soon as we step into the premises.The headmaster informs us that it is to stop parental anxiety!  The children are excited but not too nervous; the parents on the other hand look petrified!

 There are often times when we, as parents get nervous for our children and exams are one of them. Not every exam of course,  just the ones we feel are life changing… 11+,  driving test, entrance exam for university,  degrees. Is it because we want them to succeed or is it how it will make us feel if they don’t do well?

Do we see some exams as a ratification of our skills as a parent? Is it something we use to enhance our social standing?

How well a child performs in a test or exam is something we cannot control – though some parents believe, that if they get their children to cram or get personal tutors they CAN  control the outcome. In fact, all they can do is provide their child with the best opportunities to learn.

How we react to success and failure and how we approach exams is important.

Should we focus on the result, ..Hope you pass, was it easy? As opposed to working on the process, did you try your best, how did you think it was?

I look around and I know this is the school I want my child to come to .. As my ex-partner doesn’t and has an offer to her preferred school already on the table, I try to remember this exam is about my child’s performance on one day. If he passes, great but if he doesn’t and he has tried his best, what more can I ask for. It is one of those days when I will congratulate his effort and not the outcome. If he is offered a place, I know there will be issues which of the options will be the best school for him to attend, but that doesn’t change how proud I am of the effort he has made – regardless of the results he achieves.

Of the parents sat in the school canteen,  I wonder how many will be more worried about the results letter in 12 days than the children sitting the exam and how many children will be worried because if they are do not pass they will feel as if they have upset and let down their parents?

Providing my children always try their best in everything they undertake, they will never have to worry about my reaction.

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