Sup­port cru­cial as ma­tric re­sults loom

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - JU­NIOR BESTER

MA­TRIC pupils are in limbo as they await their re­sults early next year, spark­ing anx­i­ety not only among the young­sters, but also their par­ents.

Ed­u­ca­tion spe­cial­ist Dr Felic­ity Cough­lan, di­rec­tor of the Independent In­sti­tute of Ed­u­ca­tion, warned par­ents and guardians to be aware that their own fear, anger or dis­ap­point­ment would feed the re­ac­tions of young­sters.

Weeks of ex­cite­ment and an­tic­i­pa­tion will end on Jan­uary 5, and Cough­lan warned par­ents that many chil­dren may feel they have dis­ap­pointed their fam­i­lies if they don’t get the right re­sults.

“It’s up to the par­ents of these pupils to as­sist them through their trou­bles.

“If you or the young per­son who wrote ma­tric are dis­ap­pointed by the out­come and have to deal with the im­me­di­ate knowl­edge that doors may un­ex­pect­edly be clos­ing, it is im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that the first re­ac­tion is not one driven by the adult part of the young per­son. Re­mem­ber, too, that your own fear or anger will feed the re­ac­tion of the younger per­son.”

Cough­lan said that while most Grade 12 pupils had de­vel­oped the abil­ity to rea­son at an adult level, they could do so only if they were al­lowed the time and space to do so.

“Given enough space and sup­port, most are able to make ra­tio­nal de­ci­sions at the same level as adults. In this re­al­ity, caught be­tween ado­les­cence and adult­hood, lies the key for man­ag­ing any dis­ap­point­ment that may come with ma­tric re­sults,” she said.

Par­ents of dis­ap­pointed pupils should en­sure they were ap­proach­able and pa­tient when their chil­dren wanted to dis­cuss the is­sue.

“Al­low the ma­tric­u­lant to ex­pe­ri­ence the feel­ings. If you sus­pect there is a real risk of a sus­tained neg­a­tive re­ac­tion, per­haps even a self-de­struc­tive ac­tion, it is nec­es­sary to keep a close watch.

“But don't tell them not to feel what they are feel­ing, as the last thing you need to do right now is shut down their will­ing­ness to let you see the stress.”

Clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist Gary Koen said events like the Plett Rage were largely well-or­gan­ised, and a great way for young­sters to let off steam – while en­sur­ing that their safety al­ways came first.

“Just be­cause they have fin­ished ma­tric does not mean they are grown up. They are still in need of a lot of parental guid­ance,” he ad­vised.

ju­nior.bester@inl.co.za

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