Quick tip for your child:

I’ve been working with several year 10 and 11 students who are so frozen by their fear of failure that they’re hardly writing anything in their classwork and exam papers.

Some of them fear that they don’t know anything about the subject whilst some of them feel that they know WHAT they want to write but cannot express it properly…so due to their fear of failure, they end up writing nothing at all.

If you have a child like this, perhaps they’re doing their GCSE/A Level mock exams at the moment, I DO understand that it can be difficult to always get them to listen to dear ol’ mum / dad, but I’d encourage you to explain to them how their brain is working at this point: by avoiding the writing, this is our brain’s way of trying to protect us – it’s perceiving a ‘threat’ and going into ‘freeze’ mode (from ‘fight, flight or freeze’).

However, by avoiding writing (or avoiding taking part in a school activity they’re anxious about), this is actually reinforcing the message to your child’s brain that that task is dangerous.

And so it becomes a vicious cycle.

The good news is that by ‘feeling the fear and doing it anyway’, writing SOMETHING, even if it isn’t brilliant at first, will send the message to the brain that there actually is no threat/danger…and slowly but surely, that part of the brain (the amygdala) will have it proved that your child is actually safe, so the cycle of fear will be broken, and your child will be able to get on with their work more easily.

I hope this bite size tip helps some parents who are worried and frustrated about their children being so worried about not succeeding at school that they end up avoiding what can be very rewarding and successful tasks!