It is very important for parents to keep their expectations about their child’s matric process and outcomes realistic, and make adjustments if they are not. This will require some introspection on the parent’s side. Each child is different and your child, currently going through matric, won’t be going through it like their other siblings might have.

Parents can provide on-going encouragement by simply acknowledging their child’s efforts. Noticing and affirming their choices such as turning down a party to study or going for a quick run before getting back to the books can lift the spirits and instill confidence. Provide positive, encouraging, “can-do” communications.

Create an enabling environment that helps your child to keep their focus and stick to their study schedule by, for example, trying to limit any time-consuming chores that they might usually have. Pay attention to their well-being during study time by suggesting breaks and providing healthy foods and snacks. Model a healthy balance by inviting them out for walk or suggesting watching a favourite TV programme when they’ve been locked in studies for hours.

A common reaction, that does not help, is when parents inadvertently minimize their child’s experience by adopting a ‘been there, done that, now you can too’ approach, which can be received as patronizing and unsupportive. It is important that their child’s challenges and stresses are acknowledged. ‘I understand’ is a far more effective and supportive stance.