It’s that time of year again when exams are looming.  It’s a period of stress and worry, especially if you feel you are at a significant cross roads in your life and so much depends on getting the right result. 

Concentrating on revision is demanding and draining too and inevitably more difficult if, during these crucial times, you also have to cope with your horrid parent.   

Loving families go all out to make whoever is taking their exams feel supported. Unfortunately a horrid parent can take advantage of the fact that you are under pressure and be even more critical. They might make nasty comments to undermine you too by saying how useless you are, compare you unfavourably with themselves, or your siblings.  They can even ask why you bother at all as ‘no-one’ will give you a job. 

If your exams also signal that you will soon leave home, they might also seize the opportunity to exert further control.  They can threaten to stop your allowance until the exams are over,  or ground you so you can’t go out, ignoring the fact that everyone needs some time off.  So want can you do?


See our COPING page about looking after yourself with good and regular habits.  It will also help you try to tune out of your parents’ criticisms and avoid arguments.  It’s very important not to get involved in verbal battles, you won’t win and it will just add to your stress.

Keeping your room tidy is a very low priority during exam stress but it might help lower the tension at home if you confined any mess to your bedroom and it didn’t spread out to communal areas like the kitchen and living room.

Work out a revision schedule that works for you. There are lots of good tips on the internet to choose from.

Plan to revise at school, in a library or with a good friend who also wants to study to cut down on the amount of time you are at home.

Make plans for once your exams are over to give you something to look forward to.


Building Self-Confidence

Being confident is important in many aspects of life but hard to feel it if your horrid parent crushes your spirit.  Fortunately there are several quite simple steps that can help.  For example, try to picture smiling at yourself - you can look at a photo, in a mirror or just imagine looking at your face. While you’re smiling kindly, think about some of the things that you most like about yourself.  These might be qualities that your friends admire, or positive things that only you know about. Perhaps you have recently helped someone, achieved a goal, however small and learnt something new. When you have collected these positive thoughts, if possible, say them out loud. Repeat them at least once a day and choose a favourite, for example: ‘I am a warm and loveable person’ to say as often as you can.

Another self-confidence builder is to become aware of the times you criticise yourself.  It’s  natural to be judgmental but being too negative can be corrosive, especially if you judge yourself as harshly as your horrid parent judges you.  If you have made a mistake, or forgotten something, admit it, think how you might do better next time then let the thought go. 

You may have a friend, classmate or colleague who you see as an ideal person and long to be the same, but comparing yourself unfavourably with others can undermine your confidence. We are all different and have qualities that make us special and loveable.

Do let us know how you build your self-confidence on our new Forum

It’s also important to be realistic about your goals in life and not to expect to be perfect - this is an opportunity for self-criticism.  Aim to be the best that YOU can be.  Remember that most things take time to master so allow yourself to get them wrong.  Set small goals that you can achieve and when you do, celebrate them. Try to understand what is in your power and what is not. Unkindness by your horrid parent may be beyond your control, but choosing to be kind to yourself and others is up to you and the more you do it the greater love and affection you will feel.