Helping junior deal with his poor PSLE results

So, his grades aren’t stellar ― now’s the time to boost his self-esteem and reassure him of your love!


It’s a given ― the Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE) are a stress-filled time for parents and kids alike. After all, your child’s immediate future hinges on his performance. For Paulyn Goh, mum to Jeremy, 12, her biggest worry is that her son makes it to a decent school.

Goh explains, “As a child at the age of 12, he can be easily influenced by the people he surrounds himself with. Therefore, a school with a better environment is important.” Adding that her son’s school kept emphasising PSLE’s importance almost “every day and every minute”, she notes, “No wonder our kids are feeling extremely stressed out!” 

For your kiddo, his biggest fear is that his poor exam performance has let you and the family down. Since he is feeling guilty and miserable, it is crucial to handle this sensitive issue sympathetically. 

Chong Ee Jay, a manager at TOUCH Family Services, has this advice:

1. Let him cry it out Embrace him and allow him to cry, so he’ll know that it is all right to feel bad if things don’t quite turn out as planned.

2. Acknowledge the situation Keep calm, avoid showing signs of frustration and give your child the time and space he needs to process his feelings.

3. Monitor closely Junior might not want to go into details at first. If so, keep a watchful eye on his behaviour (both offline and online activities) in the days following the results.

4. Find an appropriate time to talk You’ll need to make the environment safe and comfortable for him to air his thoughts and feelings with you at an appropriate time. Some might find it more relaxing to talk before bedtime, others might prefer to do so while engaging in their favourite activity. 

Keep calm, avoid showing signs of frustration and give your child the time and space he needs to process his feelings.

5. His results don’t define him Tell him the grades are just a means to help him decide which secondary school to go to, but that he will surely get into a school.

6. Good grades alone does not make a person Remind junior that it’s more important to have good character as a person with good grades cannot compare with someone who has good values.

7. See it as a teachable moment Explain to your child that his performance is proof that sometimes in life. Chong points out, “We may be disappointed at how our efforts turn out differently from our expectations.” What matters is that we soldier on and keep trying to improve.

8. Remind him that this will make you all stronger as a family Showing your support to him in such tough times won’t just help him regain his confidence, it’ll also make the family stronger.

9. Other people are going to say what they want Tell your child that while he cannot control what people might do or say about his results, he can control his own feelings and thoughts.

10. Inspire them Tell him that one isn't useless simply because of poor school results ― mention Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, college dropouts who have achieved phenomenal success.