Uganda: Parents Should Support a Child Who Fails an Exam

10 December 2018

The holiday season has finally kicked in. It might seem like a long holiday, but it is only a few weeks before the unease of the release of the exam results for candidates that recently sat their final exams will set in. Then there are those that already got their promotional results at the end of last term.

While most students may have prepared for their exams in an attempt to move on to the next class, some unfortunately failed. And to the latter this period can be very difficult for both the student and parent. As a parent, how do you support, and help them get back on their feet?

Be approachable

This is not about you but about your child. Instead foster a positive environment which encourages them to approach you when they are having difficulty and seek help. No child will ask for help from a tough, irrational parent that expects more than they are capable of. The sense of guilt from failure could push your child into depression, therefore, parents must be careful not to over react.

Offer your support

This is one of the most important ways to help out a child that has failed. Children often look up to their parents and most especially in a crisis. Parents should not tell their child to forget their failure, cheer up and carry on, but assure them that you are there for them and will help in any way possible so that they avoid failing their exam again.

Have an open conversation

Parents need to take the initiative to talk to their child as the child will often feel ashamed and unsure of themselves. Do not blame or shame the child. Most adults will agree that failure teaches one to grow a tough skin and once one learns to bounce back, they can be able to cope with different challenges that come their way. Ask your child what you can do to motivate them and turn the failure into a learning experience.

Reasonable expectations

Parents need to be reasonable about their children's expectations. Not all children will be engineers, doctors, pilots or even have 100 per cent in everything. Do not even compare your children to others. We are all individuals, with likes and dislikes, gifted in some things and not in others. Parents should endeavour to know the difference between their child failing because they are not trying and their child failing because of different areas of strength. Sit with your child and redraw the goals and motivate them to work towards new objectives.

Help them learn their strengths and weaknesses

Sit down with your child and determine the areas in which they excel and those where they have difficulty. Adjust their study time to focus more on the areas of difficulty. Teach your children to do their homework as well as be organised, responsible, and foresighted and dedicated as these skills affect learning and have effects on overall achievement.

Parents need to remember that it is up to them to prepare their child to face the challenges of life. Learning to deal with setbacks helps a child develop key characteristics they will need to succeed, such as coping skills, emotional resilience, creative thinking, and the ability to collaborate.

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