Stop Assessment Anxiety From Upending Your Household - Glasshouse Christian College

Stop Assessment Anxiety From Upending Your Household

  • May 9, 2024

Stop Assessment Anxiety From Upending Your Household

As we navigate through the challenges of adolescence, it’s crucial to equip ourselves with the tools to support our teenagers through their academic and social journeys. Feeling fearful in situations that may endanger us, make us experience failure or cause social embarrassment, is very normal.

Public speaking, tests, practical assessments and sporting events all create the possibility of triggering these primal fears in us. As we age we learn that we need to contain these emotions of fear and push through so we don’t get overwhelmed by them.

“Feel the fear and do it anyway!”

Understanding Assessment Anxiety

Assessment anxiety is a common issue among teenagers, often stemming from fear of failure, perfectionism, or overwhelming pressure to perform. As parents, we play a pivotal role in helping our teens manage this anxiety and develop a healthy approach to assessments.

Renowned psychologist Carol Dweck’s work on mindset can provide valuable insights here. Dweck distinguishes between a fixed mindset, where individuals believe their abilities are static, and a growth mindset, where they believe in the potential for growth and improvement through effort and learning.

Some teenagers attempt a task and if they struggle, they feel like they are unable to do the work which is caused by the fact that they think that only people with the innate ability to grasp concepts or skills easily can do it. This Fixed Mindset causes them to believe that talent is the source of success. Some of them just give up and others have a meltdown because they feel like they can’t measure up. This is a very destructive viewpoint which stops young people from attempting difficult tasks.

Encourage your teen to adopt a growth mindset when approaching assessments. Remind them that mistakes are opportunities for learning and growth, rather than indicators of failure. Emphasize the importance of effort and perseverance, rather than focusing solely on outcomes.

Tips to Support Your Teen

  1. Normalize Mistakes: Let your teen know that making mistakes is a natural part of the learning process. Share your own experiences of setbacks and how you overcame them.
  2. Set Realistic Expectations: Help your teen set realistic goals for themselves. Encourage them to focus on progress rather than perfection.
  3. Provide a Supportive Environment: Create a supportive home environment where your teen feels comfortable discussing their concerns about assessments. Be empathetic and offer encouragement.
  4. Encourage Healthy Relationships: Help your teen cultivate healthy friendships based on mutual respect and support. Encourage them to surround themselves with peers who uplift and encourage them.
  5. Teach Assertiveness: Equip your teen with the skills to assert their boundaries and stand up for themselves in social situations. Role-play different scenarios with them to help build their confidence.
  6. Promote Self-Compassion: Remind your teen to be kind to themselves and practice self-compassion. Encourage them to acknowledge their strengths and celebrate their successes, no matter how small.

Navigating Social Situations

In addition to assessment anxiety, teenagers often face challenges in social situations, including peer pressure, social comparison, and navigating relationships. Again, Dweck’s research can offer valuable insights into how we can support our teens in these areas.

Encourage your teen to adopt a growth mindset when it comes to social interactions. Remind them that social skills are developed through practice and that they have the power to improve and learn from their experiences.

By incorporating Dweck’s principles of growth mindset into our parenting approach, we can help our teenagers develop resilience, confidence, and a positive outlook on both academic and social challenges.

Remember, adolescence is a journey filled with ups and downs, and our role as parents is to provide unwavering support and guidance along the way.

Bert Kasselman, Head of Senior School

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