Jasmine asks :

I'm coming up to my final year of GCSE, and will take them in 2014. Because it is year 11, there will be several exams and pieces of coursework. I'm getting ready and trying to prepare myself for the next year, however my dad thinks I don't care about my education. He points out every little thing I do wrong and things that have nothing to do with my education and relates that to how I don't care about my education and how I will fail. He isn't ready to ever hear my side of the story and never thinks what I do is good enough. It's a real damage to my self-esteem and it's making me feel down. Despite that, I don't want to argue with him but he just wont listen to me.

Yin replies

Parents just want what is best for their children, some choose to do it in an encouraging way, where others focus on the negatives to push you harder and your father is the latter. The best advice I can give to you in terms of your work, is to try your best, keep your head down and work as hard as you can. He can’t argue if you are doing all you can to get a good grade. If you reach your peak and he pushes you further then this could make you stressed, tired and overworked, which are not good conditions to learn under, so do it at your own pace. If you feel you are struggling, then ask for extra tuition after school to help, or start a study group.

Yang replies

Often parents push their children because of their own achievements or shortcomings at your age. How did he fair in school? Either not well or successfully, he will always compare your performance to his, but the two will never match because you are different people who learn at separate paces. If his reaction is getting you down, I suggest making an appointment with the school counsellor to discuss how he is making you feel. The more your talk about it and have a greater understating of where these emotions are coming from the easier it will be not to let him get to you. I know it’s hard, because we all want the backing of your parents, but passing your exams should be for you and you alone, their approval is simply a bonus. If you want to do well, do what you can to get there not just to make your dad happy.

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