Supporting our children even when we’re disappointed

With the year-end exams done and dusted, many parents are now waiting to see how our children will fare in their exams results. I’m surprised that Sophie’s exams concluded a lot earlier than most schools and she came back with her results this week.

Now I’ve been mentally prepared by parents with older children to anticipate a drop in grades from Primary 4 to Primary 5 as the syllabus gets tougher. But nothing could have prepared her for the major disruption in her studies when COVID-19 came into the picture. Students were thrown into HBL where they had to learn to swim on their own.

Even though as parents we tried our best to coach her, we found the curriculum getting more challenging and demanding. In fact, I’m often stumped when she comes to me for help in her Maths and I have to send her to Daddy instead.

With all this information at the back of my mind and a better understanding of the demands and disruptions she faced, I reminded myself that Sophie’s results are what she’s worked hard which cannot be discounted.

Dealing with our disappointment

Even then, I found myself letting out sighs of disappointment and shaking my head when I flipped her through her exam scripts and saw careless mistakes which could have been avoided.

We know that our body language speaks louder than our words hence it wasn’t hard for Sophie to pick up on my displeasure. I couldn’t help myself and questioned if she checked her work thoroughly with a hint of vexation.

“You forgot the concepts you revised just before the exams?”

“I thought you tried doing these kinds of questions before?”

Then came thoughts of “Maybe she needs tuition this school holidays. Were we too relaxed for the year-end exams?

I signed her exam papers grudgingly and asked myself why I felt so let down by her performance.

Once again, I’m reminded that Sophie’s exams should never be about me in the first place.


Our children’s exam is more about them and not us.


I recognised how my heart is so prone to fall back on the world’s standards for our children, measuring my child’s ability by her grades. But we must always remember that they are worth so much more than their achievements and to affirm them for every small victory.

Taking accountability for their results

When it comes to academics, many parents desire for our children to be self-motivated. If we acknowledge that this trait has to come from within them, then we should allow our children to be accountable for their exam results.

Before telling them how we feel, ask them how they feel about their grades. Are they satisfied with their achievement? What areas did they fare well in and which areas can they improve?

By allowing them to process their thoughts and feelings, we are getting to reflect and find solutions for themselves.

What our children do not need is comparing them, shaming them or forcing them.

READ: When expectations turn into exasperation

Supporting our children even when we’re disappointed

3 constructive responses we can give to our children to build their resilience are:

  1. Recognise their progress
  2. Validate their feelings
  3. Affirm their efforts

It’s undeniable that Singapore’s education is like a pressure cooker. As parents, let’s not give our children additional stress of trying to meet our expectations.

Over the years, God is reminding me to open my eyes to pay more careful attention to every effort that Sophie put in and to continually affirm and speak life to her.

As we prayed that night, I listed all the ways she has matured in her learning journey through the years.

From learning to take responsibility for her studies, planning her revision timetable to being more independent to find finding answers from her teachers or friends. We praised God that through this stressful period even hen her eczema flared up, her recovery was swift and less painful.

And most importantly, Sophie learned to turn to God when she was feeling anxious before her exams and she felt the assuring comfort of God’s presence as she took her exams.

Acknowledging every small win. Counting each victory.

Guardians of our child’s mental well-being

There’s been so much spotlight on the growing need to take care of our children’s mental health. As parents,  we are the primary guardians for their mental well-being. In spite of our disappointments, let’s not place labels on our children based on their abilities and guide them to be forward-thinking with a growth mindset.

This article, “The upside of being average as recently shared by friends and this quote is so true. “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.”

With God’s help and grace, I want to keep at my goal of being a supportive parent, always reminding Sophie that at the end of the day, it’s attitude over aptitude. Her eternal value and identity as a precious child of God as well as our beloved daughter will never change and look forward to seeing the promises of God lived out in her life.



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