There is no doubt that the last two years of high school can be incredibly stressful for VCE students. Not only is your child studying hard to get into the university of their dreams but also, juggling with the challenges that come with being a teenager. The final two years of high school can also be fatiguing for you as a parent. You may find yourself worrying more about your teen’s well-being and making sure that they’re preparing themselves for exams.
Navigating through the rollercoaster of emotions that VCE brings can be tiring and lead to stress and fatigue. Excessive stress and anxiety can take a heavy toll on the body. That’s why we’ve put together 5 things you can do to help support your teen, and yourself, throughout the busy year ahead!
1. Make Sure You Understand the VCE Process
Support your teen by familiarising yourself with the VCE process. The Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre’s (VTAC) website and the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority’s (VCAA) website have great information. Both websites offer information about VCE and have parent resources. You can also ask for information from your teen’s high school; the school may have sessions and workshops for parents with VCE students.
2. Encourage a Balanced Approach to Studying
A balanced or healthy approach to studying involves getting plenty of rest, exercise, healthy food, and time to socialise. This approach is in line with the popular saying "Study smarter, not harder". To put it simply, studying smarter rather than harder means studying in short bursts, measuring your results, not time, and exercising and resting to boost memory functions and problem-solving skills. If you notice that your child is spending too much time studying, encourage them to take a walk, have a 20-minute nap or catch up with some of their friends. A balanced approach to studying will help improve concentration and accelerate their ability to learn.
3. Be Realistic and Keep Everything in Perspective
You can help your child keep things in perspective by telling them that at the end of the day, all that matters is that they gave VCE their best shot! If your child’s ATAR score is low, let them know that it’s not the end of the world and there’s no need to panic. There are different pathways for getting into their preferred university course.
4. Help Build and Develop Positive-Talk
It’s easy for your teen to get caught-up in negative self-talk, especially when under a lot of pressure and stress. Negative self-talk can be detrimental to your teen’s confidence. Challenge their negative self-talk with a question like, “Would you say that to a friend?”. Furthermore, you can help them develop better self-talk by sharing positive affirmations such as:
- I am capable
- I am confident
- I can overcome challenges
5. Take Care of Yourself
Take care of your own emotional, mental and physical well-being during this tumultuous time. Remember that at the end of the day, your child is responsible for their own study. Don’t feel bad or stressed if you don’t have all the answers for your teen. If you’re unsure of how you can help your child, reach out to experts: your teen’s teachers, a career counsellor or a tutoring service. This troubling period doesn’t have to be so difficult!