While Monday marks the release of the 2020 matric results, the fate of millions of matric pupils is yet to be determined.
Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga will announce the results of the National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations in Pretoria on Monday. Exams concluded on 15 December 2020, after a strenuous academic year. The release of matric results has been approved by Umalusi, the Quality Council in General and Further Education & Training.
Seeing as 2020 was a year like no other, some might feel the anxiety of having to deal with doing poorly or even failing their matric.
According to The Citizen, some have either only received an entry for higher certificates or diplomas. This is not a failure, but for someone with plans of going to university to study a degree, it feels like it. Some may completely fail their matric.
That brings us to the question: What role do parents have to play to support a child who feels like a failure? According to psychologist Benedict Mhlongo, the trauma linked to waiting for results and receiving negative ones is huge. It is socially equal to finding out about the loss of a loved one. Mhlongo says “matric learners who are awaiting final results experience a multitude of emotions”.
“Parents must be wary of what they communicate to their children as they wait,” the publication writes. “The pressure of parents’ excitement about their university entry and future prospects may be harmful.”
As we communicate how disappointed we are, or as we wallow in our own disappointment and say nothing, we are feeding into this trauma and anxiety. Meanwhile, some children even get sidelined and the sense of community vanishes.
When supported, children can “imagine themselves as having the autonomy to rethink and put things into perspective”. It would be a good time to reflect on what they feel went wrong, and what the way forward is.
“Ensuring that the learner is still involved in familial duties, reciting words of affirmation and drawing up a vision board with them” are all effective ways parents can support their children during such a tough time.
The family should also consider exploring seeking professional help for the child. As mentioned, this can create a huge mental, social, and emotional shift for the child.
Back in 2018, childline KZN operations manager Adeshini Naicker said that one can rewrite certain papers or even repeat a year.
“Failure does not mean that the future is over. Failure can be turned into an opportunity to learn and develop. Learners must verify their results and whatever the outcome‚ if the need arises they must speak to someone. High achievers are also put under pressure to perform and achieve multiple distinctions – however, even in this case there is the option of remarking.”
She also advised parents to show love‚ guidance and support to children who may have failed. “Your child needs to know that they have your support and that they will achieve success in their own time.”
Parents also need to be on the lookout for a change in behaviour. “Withdrawal and a change in sleeping patterns are a sign 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.”