For many families across the UK, the dust is beginning to settle. This week saw the end of the exam results season where many young people have been receiving their results for University Finals, A2/AS levels and most recently, GCSEs.
Over the past few weeks, I have heard of so many instances where these students have been left feeling disappointed with their results. What saddens me is that the majority of these grades are not only passes – but good passes!
For example some pupils are not reaching their university of choice – despite having ( in my opinion ) great grades. Many are upset that the ideal number of A grades were not achieved. So, even though the results are reflecting all the hard work that has been put in over the months and sometimes years and the huge achievements achieved, still, for one reason or another many of these students are not happy.
How come this is happening ?
These students have achieved so much, yet they are left feeling deflated and in many cases labelling themselves ‘failures’. This is a problem.
Are students nowadays setting the bar too high for themselves ?
Are we as parents and educators allowing this to happen ?
Granted, if the student didn’t work hard enough – then that’s a lesson to be learned for another time. But, when the study hours are made and ( because, let’s face it grades are now no longer enough ) they have participated in team sports and societies and group activities – then surely this negativity shouldn’t be encouraged.
Young people today are labelling their successes as failures.
If we continue to permit this train of thought – that successes are in fact being regarded as “failures” – surely we will be creating a new generation of unfulfilled young people with unrealistic expectations of themselves.
Please don’t think that I believe for one minute that healthy competition should not be encouraged. I remember my disbelief at my kids’ at primary school sports days, where all participants received medals – so that those who came last did not have their feelings hurt. Winners should be rewarded. However, it is our job to maintain a degree of perspective. It’s up to us to also educate our children that yes, there will be ups and downs, but they still have the resources within themselves to reach their dreams. By empowering them to believe in themselves we are enabling them to achieve their true potential.
One child I was chatting to recently did not do as well as his older brother in his exams. His comment really rocked me “Yeah – I didn’t do as well as X … I am the thick one in the family.” This young man passed every single one of his exams. It’s just he had different grades than his brother. Already he has labelled himself as a low achiever. His confidence has been severely knocked; and to make matters worse – he worked really hard through out the year; but he still feels like a failure.
As parents surely, we need to find a way to eradicate this negative self-talk before it becomes the norm and embedded in their mindset. We need to show our kids that their value rests with who they are – rather than solely their academic certificates.
We know that these unreasonable expectations erodes self esteem and make our lives miserable. As adults we need to build their confidence and self belief.
For 35 years, I carried around a comment from a teacher who said, at my Parent-Teacher meeting when I was 10, “Caroline will never set the Thames on fire.” I believed her. For all that time, I never felt good enough. I always felt second best.
How can we stop this happening to our kids? Thankfully NLP has some answers.
Let’s challenge these Limiting Beliefs before they take hold permanently.
What stands in the way of our children’s esteem? The simple answer is what we call in NLP – Limiting Beliefs. These are all those things that we believe we cannot do. For some of us it’s our inability to lose weight, for others it’s public speaking and in this case it’s being successful in exams.
In the example I mentioned earlier the young man has already labelled himself with the Limiting Belief that he is the least intelligent in his family.
These Limiting Beliefs need to be challenged quickly so that they do not take root and start affecting behaviour.
There are couple of very fast and effective NLP techniques that I use regularly, that help individuals when they are feeling alone and overwhelmed. These techniques help the mind reach calm and stability and achieve a sense of control in any situation. These techniques can help us identify previous successes helping us gain the strength we need in more challenging situations.
Instead of succumbing to the negative self judgement we can be prone to, finding tools that can help us overcome life’s demands and challenges is much more rewarding and positive approach.
We all know the train of thought that we learn more from our struggles and our failures rather than our successes and achievements – but I doubt that is much consolation to many of these youngsters right now.
Granted, these exams and resulting grades are an important step to facilitate the transition to the next level. But we do need to maintain a degree of perspective.
It is important to help our young people to understand that there will always be bumps in the road – but the secret is – even if we stumble – what really matters is how we dust ourselves down and move forward more positively.
NLP provides us with many tools in dealing with how we and those around us think. We can determine how we react to certain situations – and if those behaviours are not for our benefit – we can change our thinking a bit to achieve a more positive outcome.
So if you are feeling in need of assistance. If you feel that learning some of these techniques can improve life for you and your children – give me a call – I can help.
Much Love 💕