Some pupils may be miserable if they fail matric. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)
Some pupils may be miserable if they fail matric. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

How parents can help their teen overcome a matric fail

By MaryAnne Isaac Time of article published Feb 24, 2021

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Durban – Parents should be understanding and empathetic towards their teens, especially since the Covid-19 pandemic’s disruptions and uncertainty have already added to their woes.

According to psychologists, the trauma linked to waiting for results and receiving negative ones was huge and could be compared to finding out about the loss of a loved one.

It’s not easy having to learn and write matric during a unprecedented academic year.

We have to put ourselves in their shoes to understand their confusion, disappointment and frustration.

As a parent, you need to be wary of how you communicate or react to your child.

Your child may feel pressured or anxious by your reaction.

Sometimes, being over-excited about your child’s university entry or prospects can set them on edge.

Side-lining them and not taking notice of their achievements can depress them and make them feel insecure.

If your child has not passed matric, be the child’s strength.

Your child may not have passed with six or eight distinctions or may not have passed at all, but it is not the end of the road.

They can still pick up the pieces and create new hope, as long as they have your support.

Remember, you are the glue that puts those pieces together.

Getting through this extraordinary year is an achievement in itself.

Here are five ways you can help your child pick up the pieces:

1. Apply for a matric exam rewrite

If your child’s results indicate a rewrite, encourage them to apply and help them to prepare for it.

A rewrite would ensure they do not lose their matric year entirely, and will encourage your teen to not give up hope.

2. Consider applying for a subject exam remark

Humans are not perfect and do make mistakes.

In the chaos of things during last year, there could have been erroneous marking in certain instances.

Pupils should verify their results and if the need arises, they should apply for a remark.

However, this won’t apply to everyone and as a parent, you must not get your child’s hope up only for further disappointment.

If you go the remarking route, ensure you do so with a level-headed attitude.

3. Be your child’s anchor

Most times, we fear the opinions of society and family and concern ourselves with what they think.

As a parent, advocate that failure can be turned into an opportunity to learn and develop.

Childline KZN operations manager Adeshini Naicker advised parents to show love‚ guidance and support to children who have failed.

“Your child needs to know that they have your support and that they will achieve success in their own time.”

4. Monitor your teen’s behaviour

If your child had high expectations and plans for a post-matric life, you may want to monitor their behaviour.

Signs of withdrawal, change in sleeping patterns and mood fluctuations can be an onset of depression.

“Parents need to be aware that matric results are not often the sole reason for suicide but often a culmination of a series of events,” said Naicker.

5. Go on a self-discovery road trip with your teen

Get away from the noise of matric results and take your teen on a road trip to unwind and figure out the next step.

Your child’s life does not stop with matric or a failure.

Get them to open up and ’unbottle’ their fears and insecurities and reassure them that it is not the end of the road.

Whether your teen decides to rewrite or repeat the year, support them and let them know that you will be their strength during the whole time.

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