Support crucial as matric results loom
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.