How to talk to your child about dealing with difficulties in IGCSE exams

dealing with difficulties in IGCSE

Having a conversation with your child about dealing with difficulties in IGCSE exams can be a challenging step. It is one thing to know that your child is having difficulties dealing with their IGCSE examination preparation and another thing to start a conversation about it. A lot of parents find the latter challenging and are clueless about how to start talking to their kids. It’s sad to see your child suffering quietly and it is only natural to help.

But how do parents initiate the conversation, and try to talk to their teenagers about dealing with difficulties in IGCSE exams?

Most teenagers avoid these types of discussions and keep things to themselves. 

They build it up in them as they are not able to process and face the pressure, difficulties, expectations, and their own shortcommings.


dealing with difficulties in IGCSE

Why do children avoid talking about difficulties with IGCSE examinations?

This is out of fear of sounding incompetent or wanting to try dealing with their own problems.

Parents on the other hand may be able to recognize the child is having difficulties dealing with IGCSE examinations.

They can find out through a few behavioral changes as well as changes in their academic performance.

1. They show signs of anxiety before small exams, pop quizzes, midterm tests, and final exam.

2. Become disagreeable, fidgety, irritable, and annoyed with things at home.

3. Become easily upset about things at school, marks, or even things at home that were normal before.

4. Finding it difficult to have the confidence in going to social gatherings or competitions and extracurricular activities.

5. A lack of interest in things that used to excite them before.

6. Avoids conversations about school, studying, and higher education.


dealing with difficulties in IGCSE


Starting a conversation to understand how you can help your child deal with difficulties with preparing for IGCSE is the best way…

Initiating a conversation with your child will help lighten their burden and give parents a chance to find out what the issue is or how they can help their child.

Here are 5 effective ideas that parents can use to get through to their teens and talk to them about difficulties with preparing for their IGCSE exams.


dealing with difficulties in IGCSE


5 ideas on how to talk to your child about difficulties dealing with preparing for IGCSE exams.


 1. Create a safe space for discussion and conversation.

Creating a secure space for the child to voice out their fears, anxiety, and problems is the first and foremost way to initiate a conversation about IGCSE exams.

Every child has their own way of dealing with difficulties with IGCSE examinations.

Some are more confident than others, whereas, some are more stressed than their fellow students.

Why is a secure space important? and what are its benefits?

And what does a secure space feel like?

A secure space will allow a child to be comfortable with voicing their opinions and troubles.

Children who know that can share their opinions, troubles, and difficulties will not shy away from starting conversations when times get tough.

Before the parents go toward the children, they will be comfortable sharing their own worries without any fear of judgment and expectations.


dealing with difficulties in IGCSE


 2. Be sensitive towards your child and the circumstances.

What does it mean to be sensitive to your child?

Research says that being receptive and understanding of your child’s behavior, emotions, feelings, and responses to external stimuli is called being sensitive.

Furthermore, studies have shown that ssensitivity and responsiveness in parenting lead to better decision-making in adulthood.  

Therefore, being sensitive towards the child helps the parent understand and recognize the difficulties troubling the child.

Firstly, keep aside all the expectations and judgments attached to IGCSE exams and allow the students to express themselves clearly.

Secondly, using sensitivity and care parents must approach the problems without any previous emotional baggage or bringing up any expectations placed upon the child.

Responses like:

‘There is no excuse for not working hard


‘You have been on your phone the whole day how will you pass the exam’ 

Instill a sense of fear, judgment, and sadness.

On the other hand, responses like :

‘I understand how you feel right now, and it’s okay to feel overwhelmed by your preparations or studies’

‘Something seems to be troubling you dear, would you like me to help you with something?’

There is a huge difference in the direction a conversation can take if a more sensitive, caring, and receptive approach is taken.


dealing with difficulties in IGCSE


3. Start the conversation with general questions or statements.

Starting conversations that center around IGCSE exam difficulties are a key point of tension.

Thus, using general statements and questions will keep the conversation calm.

Aggressive, direct accusations or pointing fingers at your child will trigger defensive sentiments and create a chaotic environment.

This trick will allow parents to feel and understand the general mindset of the child before looking into the subjective/personal underlying issues.

It also allows the child to put down the walls of fear that may be stopping them from talking about their own feelings, struggles, and difficulties

Hence, for example, using general statements like :

‘So how do you feel about the IGCSE exams this time?’

‘What do you think is the most challenging subject for you so far?’

Furthermore, adding a personal experience will help your child to understand they are not alone.

For example:

‘You know in my time, I found Physics to be very tough, I used to make short notes to understand all the long notes’


dealing with difficulties in IGCSE


4. Show them their mistakes in an objective way.

It is very normal for parents to try and guide their children when they start talking about dealing with difficulties preparing for IGCSE exams.

IGCSE students have a lot of subjects to prepare for.

They also have other commitments or extracurricular activities.

In some ways, if the child is having trouble with IGCSE preparations it could be a result of a few things like :

  1. Not studying enough

  2. Not having enough support

  3. Not taking things seriously

  4. Not even being interested in IGCSE 

  5. Not revising enough before the IGCSE exams

Parents gloriously use this opportunity to show their kids the mirror and teach them a lesson.

But there is a catch here.

Some kids may take blaming, pointing fingers, and counting mistakes very negatively. 

Hence, before gaining anything positive out of the conversation or being able to help the child, parents may find their child getting up, and slamming his or her room door in their faces.

Therefore to avoid such situations maybe as a parent you can try to teach your children in a more objective manner.

Objectivity is important to avoid making kids feel guilty and putting them down.

By being objective, you are focussing on the mistake and not the person.

Maybe, you can try saying things that will highlight your child’s mistakes and offer a guide on how to correct them while issuing an ultimatum simultaneously.

The statements below will give you an idea of how to tackle that:

‘Can you share your ideas on how to make things right? Since we have now got even less time to prepare for your IGCSE exams’

‘It seems like you regret making the choice of choosing your friends over your studies, but now you will have to work even harder, are you prepared to do this?

‘You do understand that the IGCSE exams are very important for your future?


dealing with IGCSE


5. Build their confidence up.

Despite all the mistakes and issues, your child is having, the ultimate motive of having a conversation with your child is to boost their confidence levels.

Apart from offering solutions, it is important that you build up your child’s confidence level.

Most often than not, in the heat of the moment, many parents say hurtful things that strip a child’s confidence and add to the anxiety, he or she is experiencing.

Please avoid such hurtful or condescending comments and remarks

Instead, look to praise your child for the little efforts he or she makes and give credit where it’s due.

Statements like :

‘I know this is a tough time for you, but I am sure that WE can get through these exams, I am here for you.’

‘I have full faith in you and know that you will give your best shot’

‘It’s time to focus on what can be done while you still have time to revise, instead of crying over spilled milk. ‘

‘You can do this! just a few more exams to go’.

‘I am proud of you for sharing your fears and trusting in me to help you, now that we know the problem let’s get the right resources and support to help you. 


dealing with difficulties in IGCSE


6. Parents must do their own research about the IGCSE exams

Research is important to get a perspective on the IGCSE examinations and the many difficulties that a student can experience while preparing for them.

Parents must do their own research, dig around online, or speak to their child’s teachers/tutors, to understand the process.

Sometimes having an idea of the number of subjects, curriculum or even the study material will help you understand your child’s situation.


dealing with IGCSE exams


 7. Sometimes all it takes is to be a good listener.

More than talking or confronting your child, all they need sometimes is the chance to be heard.

Children process and express difficulties differently.

They may need help understanding their own thoughts and feelings on how to deal with IGCSE exam difficulties.

Some need to talk it out to structure things in their minds.

Others, just need a shoulder to cry on and an attentive parent to JUST LISTEN and allow them to let off steam or stress.

This is especially true for teenagers and young adults.




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