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10 Things You Can Do After Your Child Fails Exam

You Can Do After Your Child Fails Exam

Students are subjected to a lot of competition these days. With the highs and lows of the academic journey, many fail, and many pass. From grade 1 to the university level, the disappointment of failing an exam is the same. And if you’re a parent and your child has just failed an exam, there’s a list of things you can do.

Make sure not to get angry instantly and blame them for their failure. You need to be emotionally and mentally sound to tackle this difficult situation. If you lose your cool, your child may never be able to feel secure again.

Understanding that failure is a part of life is extremely important as a parent because your child learns to grow and be confident according to how you provide them with an outlook on life.

There’s a list of things that you can do if your child has failed an exam; let’s get into it. 

1. Have a Heart-to-Heart Conversation

It's tough for kids who didn't do well on exams to talk to their parents about it. They might feel embarrassed or unsure of themselves, which can make them want to keep quiet and hide their test sheet. 

So, it's up to you to start the conversation. But remember, this isn't the time to make them feel bad. Instead, show them you care about their education, ask how you can help, and encourage them to learn from the experience. 

You should also try not to blame them or demean them in any way which might aggravate their sadness and disappointment in themselves. Offer your condolences and show that it’s not a big deal to fail.

Try to develop healthy communication with them where you ask them about their feelings and what they think are the reasons behind failing. Have a detailed discussion on what to do next and how to improve the weaknesses. 

2. Don’t React, Listen

Even if they don’t say it, students, especially teens, rely on their parents for support when things get tough. So, you need to be there for your child without considering your feelings. 

Remember, supporting them doesn't mean brushing off their failure and telling them to just get over it. It means letting them know you're there to help them figure out what went wrong and try again to achieve the desired results next time. 

Don’t rush to react instantly, and say the cliched quotes you can find on the internet. Also, don’t impose your opinions on them. Offer them emotional support instead of explaining your logic on a certain topic. 

3. Control Your Anger

It's tough, but getting angry or showing disappointment will not help anyone. Your child is probably already upset with themselves, so adding your sadness won't make things better. Instead, focus on moving forward with positivity and support.

If your child gets really upset or angry, try to calm things down and remind them that what's done is done. You could even share stories of successful people who have faced setbacks, like Sir Richard Branson. He's a great example of someone who learned from failure and went on to achieve amazing things.

Most parents shut off completely and stop talking to their children in order to give them the punishment of failing. This approach can be damaging to the student’s self-esteem because they only need a bit of support at that time.

Remember, failure is just part of the journey to success, and showing understanding and encouragement can help your child bounce back stronger.

4. Make a Plan

When anger fades away, what remains is sadness and disappointment. In times like these, your child needs your care, love, and, most importantly, your support. Instead of sugar-coating things and pretending it's not a big deal, talk openly with your child about what happened and what options they have.

Just like before the bad grade, keep an eye out for any signs that your child is struggling, like spending a lot of time alone or changes in their behaviour, like eating habits or moodiness. If you notice any of these signs, try to help them break out of their negative thoughts by distracting them from the exam results.

You could suggest doing something active together, like going for a walk or playing a sport they enjoy. Or maybe treat them to something special, like a day out at the beach or a shopping trip. 

Buying things won't fix everything, but it might help lift their spirits temporarily and get them thinking more positively.

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5. Set Realistic Expectations

Parents should have realistic expectations from their children. Not every child will excel in every subject or become a math genius. Everyone is unique, with their own strengths and weaknesses. 

Your child might be great at languages but struggle with math or do well in science but not in history or social studies. And it is completely fine.

It's important to set goals that are achievable and personalized to your child's abilities. 

Understand the difference between when your child is struggling because they're not putting in effort and when they're struggling because certain subjects just aren't their strong suit. If they are weak in a subject, hire a certified and experienced tutor for them.

6. Let Them Take Charge

Many parents and teachers force their own thoughts on students and dont trust them to take charge of their studies. While it’s okay to be worried for your child, you can not impose your own techniques on them.

Help your child learn, study, and develop good habits so they can take ownership of their successes and failures

Talk with them regularly about how they're doing in school and their subjects. Offer support when needed, but let them do the work themselves. It's important for your child to understand that they're responsible for how they perform.

Teachers can often tell when parents have helped too much with homework. Remember, your child participates in class and completes assignments without you, showing their true progress. If you’re helping them too much, you are taking away their responsibility and chance to grow up. 

If you do too much, it won't help them succeed in the long run. They need to take their own exams and learn how to manage multiple subjects at once. Let them tackle their tasks independently without overwhelming them.

7. Create a Balanced Schedule for Your Child

Help your child create a schedule that balances school, family time, and relaxation. It's important for kids to have time to unwind after school before jumping into homework. They've been sitting in class all day, so expecting them to learn right after coming back might not be the best approach. 

Let them take a break to play or do chores to release some energy and let their minds digest what they've learned.

When it's time to do homework, make sure they have a quiet space to focus. If possible, give them a snack before they start, as the brain needs fuel to learn effectively. Waiting until after dinner to begin homework is also a good option. This ensures that they have enough energy to concentrate and retain the information they’ve studied.

Divide time healthily. If your child is weak in Math, assign more time to help them with Math. It does not mean that you completely neglect the subjects they’re good at. Allot proper time for those subjects as well, but less than the ones needing more effort.

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8. Avoid Comparisons with Other Students

When children face academic challenges, parents often compare them to other students or siblings who have done well in school. This approach is extremely harmful. When parents compare their children to others, it damages their self-esteem, especially after exam failures. 

Instead of feeling supported, children may think their parents are disappointed in them and feel like they're not meeting expectations. Comparisons also lead to insecurity in personality, and they may never be able to develop good relationships with their peers and family members. 

Every child is unique, with their own strengths and weaknesses. Comparing them to others adds to their stress and tarnishes their self-image. This can even lead to serious mental health issues. So, as a parent, you must take care of your child’s mental health as well.

9. Think About Re-Evaluation and Re-Take

If you or your child believes there might be a mistake in how the papers were graded, it's worth considering getting them re-evaluated. Make sure to apply for this promptly when the time is right. 

There’s always an option of trying again. Do not instil in your child the approach of giving up after a failure; instead, encourage them to try for the exam again

Find out if they can take a supplementary exam or retake it. If they didn't get into their desired college, look into other colleges where they could apply. If it seems like there are no more options, support them in preparing thoroughly for their next attempt.

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10. Praise Them for Their Efforts

It's important to notice when your child is getting better at something. Rather than only looking for the best grades, praising any improvement can keep them motivated. 

When parents cheer on their child's progress, it helps them feel more confident and eager to keep trying. This positive approach teaches kids that making an effort and getting better over time is what really counts in the end. This way, they’ll be encouraged to try harder every time and ace their exams.

Things NOT to Do

Here are some things that you should NOT do as a parent for the well-being of your child after they’ve failed.

  1. Do not shame your child for scoring low. This negatively affects their ability to learn from setbacks.
  2. Do not make hasty decisions based on your child’s exam score. If they’ve failed a course, there are a hundred different things they can do instead.
  3. Avoid pressuring them to achieve perfection. Check for regular improvements. If they’re improving, celebrate their achievements. 
  4. Remember not to take your child’s failures personally. They’ve tried their best and done nothing wrong to disappoint you. You can only offer your kindness and support.
  5. You should not make their future plans for them and withdraw any attention to reprimand them. Allow them to grieve and grow.

Final Words

Competition among students has been increasing nowadays, which greatly affects their mental and emotional health. Try to remain calm with your child and not be a source of negativity in their otherwise low phase. 

If you provide them with the support they need and welcome them with open arms, they will surely work hard to make you proud the next time. 

And remember, failures are not the end of the world. Your child can be successful even if they fail a specific course. There are a number of things in the world that kids are doing these days. Just make sure to help them choose the right subject and area of interest they want to pursue!

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With over 3 years of experience in teaching, Chloe is very deeply connected with the topics that talk about the educational and general aspects of a student's life. Her writing has been very helpful for students to gain a better understanding of their academics and personal well-being. I’m also open to any suggestions that you might have! Please reach out to me at chloedaniel402 [at]