Advice for coping with A-Level disappointment from qualified psychotherapist, CBT specialist and published author, Kamalyn Kaur of Glasgow-based Key Therapies,
A-Level disappointment coping strategies
“It is normal and natural to feel disappointed if you don’t get the results you are looking for. Give yourself time to process and deal with what you are feeling. Talk to a loved one you trust about how you are feeling. It will help you get some perspective on the situation. When things are in our mind and our mind only, they can feel a lot worse than they are. Once you feel ready, consider your future options. It will help you feel a bit more in control of the situation rather than helpless, powerless and out of control. Also, stay mindful and focus on the things you can control. This will avoid any catastrophising and any downward spirals of negative thoughts. Importantly, don’t compare yourself to others, as this will only lead to despair and further disappointment. Focus on your efforts, hard work and remind yourself that you did the best you could. Finally, remember that in this day and age there are so many opportunities available to learn, work and get jobs. You are not limited to just one option, so remind yourself of this to avoid losing hope and motivation.”
Signs for Parents that their child isn’t taking the results well
“Disappointment can sometimes show up as anger, anxiety, irritation or frustration, so watch out for these emotions. Also watch for a change in your child’s behaviour. For example, are they withdrawn, disengaged or detached, or they are not actively listening when you are having a conversation with them? It is also not uncommon for children to start displaying rebellious behaviours that are out of character for them. Also, new physical symptoms can appear as a result of stress or anxiety from exam results such as headaches, back or shoulder pain, tummy pains, general aches and pains, changes in appetite and feeling sick or nauseous.”
A-Level disappointment is real, tangible and you can help,
Should parents pre-warn about expected tough results or wait until results get in?
“Parents shouldn’t pre-warn their children at all about grades potentially being tougher to achieve this year because that in itself might create unnecessary stress or anxiety. However, what parents should do is reassure their child that, regardless of the results, they love them; that they are proud of their child for being able to study and sit exams despite all the chaos and disruption of the past couple of years due to pandemic. Parents should also remind and reassure their child that they will be there to support and help them no matter what the results are.”
Advice for coping with A-Level disappointment means letting them know in advance that it s okay and you are there.
Advice for parents and pupils when dealing with (exam-related) stress and more advice for coping with A-Level disappointment
- Stop, breathe, and focus on relaxing your body. When your body is relaxed, this helps the mind to slow down instead of overthinking, overanalysing or feeling overwhelmed.
- Exercise. This will help to get rid of stress hormones and adrenaline from the body, allowing you to feeling calmer and at ease.
- When stressed, the mind focuses on all the things you can’t control. This further increases stress and anxiety. Instead, make a list of all the things you can control in that moment. This will instantly help you to put things into perspective.
- Talk to a loved one about how you are feeling. Saying things out loud will help you to release negative feelings instead of keeping them bottled up inside you.
A-Level disappointment is inevitable for some students but is surmountable and the future can still be bright.
You might also like my post on how to support a child through exams