A long wait for matric results takes a heavy toll on the mental wellbeing of families and learners who wrote their grade 12 examinations.
As the countdown intensifies counselling psychologist Dr Lauren Martin, who is also the deputy dean at SACAP (South African College of Applied Psychology), said waiting for matric results is a rich opportunity for parents to model and support the development of grit and resilience.
The results will be released at different schools on Friday.
“Parents may need to do some reflection on their assumptions and attitudes to effectively support their teens over this time,” said Martin.
“If you have heavily invested in the idea that the matric certificate shapes everything going forward, then you might be adding stress.”
She highlighted that matric results may shape the opportunities that a person who possesses matric can access.
She explained: “You will need a matric with a bachelor’s pass for university studies, however, it’s important to shift the focus to looking more broadly at choices and considering other pathways.
“This flexibility is so important because we want to avoid the rigidity in thinking and fear of shame or punishment that can lead to our teens leaning towards drastic measures in the face of disappointing matric results.
“It can help for parents to be aware of the alternative pathways.”
SACAP’s academic dean Dr Jaclyn Lotter advised parents to have open conversations with matriculants during a tense period of waiting for results.
“It’s important to create a safe space for your child to express their thoughts and feelings, and to listen with full attention and without judgement,” said Lotter.
“You may find it necessary to help manage expectations.”
Lotter shared that it is natural for matriculants to have high expectations of themselves, however, some may be fearful, pessimistic and anxious.
“It’s important to emphasise that success is not solely defined by academic achievement, to discuss different pathways to success and shed light on the fact that there are numerous routes to achieving goals in life.
“We develop vital life skills during times when everything doesn’t go our way. We learn perseverance and use problem-solving skills, and we increase our capacity to be resilient and agile.
“Parents can help to encourage the exploration of other options and provide reassurance that one setback doesn’t define their child’s future.”
What to do if you do not get desired results:
- If a learner failed a maximum of two matric subjects, they can apply to sit for supplementary exams.
- There is also a matric upgrade process for learners who passed subjects but didn’t get the marks they needed.
- Accredited higher certificate education programmes are an effective route for learners who did not achieve a bachelor’s pass.