The HSC is upon us. Year 12 is a challenging time for kids as it comes at a fairly stressful time for students as they consider what they will be doing when they finish, university, travel, careers, moving into the adult world. For many families, especially parents of boarders, it can be hard to know how to support your kids from afar while they are studying or in exam time. It’s a fine line between support/help and interference. But never fear. There is help for parents out there.
We asked Sally, a mother of four girls from Warren, NSW for some practical tips for parents of boarders on how they can support and help their child from afar. Sally’s three girls are all at university and the youngest one is sitting the HSC at the moment.
Sally recommends that the best form of support a parent can offer is practical and emotional support.
- Try to minimize chaos at home so there’s some peace to study in the holidays, i.e. a good, quiet place to study.
- Try not to argue with student over the telephone just prior to exam – understand they’re going to be stressed and tense during this time, so try not to over-react.
- Encourage student to choose subjects they LOVE.
- Try to go to parent/teacher meetings and create team with teacher/student and yourself. Everyone’s being a pain, not just you, the parent!
- Stay in touch with teacher and student – phone, emails face to face if possible.
- Get an outside tutor or an older student if necessary, at weekends and encourage your child to take advantage of additional study/tutoring from teachers – lunchtime and on-line. Enquire what there is and push it with student but above all encourage them and highlight their strengths and successes.
- Make clear to student they can improve their whole result by adopting a positive attitude and putting in the hard work.
- Give support by showing an interest and communicating regularly – if not personally due to geography, rope in nice relative or a family friend to visit, buy food, and take to beach or home for quick dinner. Send good luck note/flowers/etc. leading up to exams.
- During Trials and HSC study period – encourage one good social distraction a week – party, film, sport, gym, walk, swim etc. An outside break each day for fresh air/walk/change of scene is important to help them keep a sense of perspective, de-stress and get some space.
- Communicate with other Year 12 parents – sharing ideas, hearing them dealing with it is useful and calming! Organize a drink or meal together.
- When exams are finished, breathe a sigh of relief and then write their CV; get them out of bed and start encouraging the next step; a job, uni, college, work experience.