Pressure from parents to do well in exams causes anxiety


Childline reports that half of all children that will sit exams this summer say pressure from parents to do well in exams causes them anxiety, according it survey findings.

The new survey by ChildLine found that 92% of young people feel anxious about their revision and exams.  While most young people are able to manage their anxiety, vulnerable young people are turning to alcohol (14%) and self harm (8%) to cope. This presents a significant safeguarding concern for these vulnerable young people.

Results from the ChildLine poll also found:

  •  Other main causes of anxiety for young people are not getting into university or college (57%) and fears about sitting the exam (56%)
  •  Almost two thirds (64%) say they’ve never had any support in dealing with exams
  • Almost half (45%) of children and young people say they have skipped meals due to anxiety about exams
  • Two thirds (64%) of those surveyed said they have had trouble sleeping
  • Talking to friends (43%) is the most common way of dealing with exam anxiety

Sue Minto, Head of ChildLine says, "The exam period can be a very stressful and anxious time for young people and young people tell us that pressure from parents is one of the top causes of anxiety, as well as that they don’t feel supported through their exams.”

ChildLine says that if you know a young person who is sitting exams this summer, the following advice for parents and carers can help ease exam stress and anxiety:

  • Don’t place unnecessary pressure on your children to gain certain grades. They may feel they have failed if they don’t achieve what they thought was expected of them.
  • Encourage children to take regular breaks, eat snacks and exercise.
  • Help them revise by leaving them the space and time to do so.  Be relaxed about chores or untidiness and understand they might be moody.
  • Allow your children to revise at nights if that’s what works best for them however do make sure that they get enough sleep to keep their energy levels up in the day.
  • Be supportive and help alleviate their worries by talking to them.
  • Be positive, help them put the whole thing into perspective. They can always take an exam again.
  • Get them to check out the new ChildLine video, designed to help young people cope with anxiety, or look for tips and advice on the new ‘Beat Exam Stress’ hub on the ChildLine website.
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