The wait is now over for over 55,000 Leaving Certificate students across the country, as they have received their results and started to review their options.
Receiving the Leaving Cert results can be like a roller coaster ride for both the student and their parents or guardians. Like any roller coaster there can be highs and lows and unexpected twists and turns along the way. Emotions may be a mixture of excitement, relief, anxiety, disappointment and even jealousy, if your friends achieved better results than you.
Not getting the results you hoped for can be very upsetting and in the short term, may impact on not only the individual’s self-confidence, but also the relationships around them with family and friends. This can be made even worse if the individual is very ambitious and if friends have performed better than them.
Parents and guardians can be supportive by trying to engage with their teenagers and provide time and space to listen, without feeling like they have to ‘fix the problem’ for them. Giving your child time to talk, to express how they are feeling – even if that is disappointed or concerned – without trying to minimise how they are feeling helps acknowledge and validate their reality.
These students already have a lot of resilience as they have juggled study, relationships, sport and social demands for the past year, so reassuring them that they already possess these tools can help them with their capacity to cope. These are skills which can often be forgotten during times of stress or disappointment.
Listen to their concerns and worries. Although it may seem useful to tell your teenager that in a year from now these results won’t matter, at this moment in time they are the most important thing in their young lives. Try not to push your opinions on them and let them voice their feelings.
Once they have voiced their concerns, take some time out to discuss future options. This can reassure them that even if they may not have got the results they hoped for, there are so many different paths that people can take and these results are just a stepping stone.
Relationships often come under stress at times of transition and this is a significant period of transition for all members of the family. So regardless of what the results were, be sure to celebrate this milestone with your teenager.
Stacey Walsh is the Communications and Relations Executive of Ag Eisteacht, who offer ABLE training and work to highlight the impact of the quality of relationships on health outcomes – Adopt a relational approach, Build, Listen and Empower