March 16, 2015

There are a number of “take your life into your own hands” conversations in this house at the moment, and the biggest bone of contention is revision for impending exams.

Long gone are days when my children came home wanting to show me the mark they got in a test. I vaguely recall being used as a sounding board for a project, or being asked for help to make palm trees out of loo rolls, but that was easily 10 years ago.

And actually I was and still am very happy with this academic independence. I know parents who revise with their children, even beyond GCSEs. I am slightly amazed at how they manage to do this; it wouldn’t work in this house.

The reason things are a bit tetchy is this summer we have the double whammy: my daughter is doing A levels and my son GCSEs.

I have learned over the years that in any relationship stepping back, thinking twice before you speak and waiting to be asked can be invaluable qualities. However, these are not my strengths: especially where my kids are involved.

It’s the lack of control in this scenario that I find so hard. It’s not my “thing” to accomplish.

Not having control is horrible in any relationship and if as parents we are under any illusions that we have a lot of control to start with, we are deluded…but a little bit would be nice. Or just being thrown the odd crumb of reassurance.

I cannot help myself with repeated “Are you sure you’ve finished working? Could you do a bit more?” And I know before I finish the sentence this interaction will not end well.

I guess my biggest fear is history repeating itself. I have come unstuck before with exams and that feeling of inevitable doom is unbearable. Hoping that you ace the exams you don’t deserve to ace. And a parent, I just want to save my children from “doom”.

Right now, I can’t think of a more effective way of getting my message across than lecturing and I know, hearing me say the same thing 6 times in a slightly different way is really annoying.

Here’s the thing. You can’t make anyone do something they don’t want to do. And I know my kids are savvy. I’m sure they are working hard…

I also believe, everything works out. We all have our own journey and the capacity to make life work for us. Why is it I can’t adopt this serene approach when I talk to my kids about exams??

So…what are your experiences? And if you know my kids, could you ask them how their revision is going…they are less likely to bite your head off!

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