Tuesday 23 January 2018

Diary of a Demented Mum: Wolverine's exam stress becomes mine

Library Image.
Library Image.

Wolverine stampedes in, flinging down her schoolbag just as you finish the article about exam stress.

She's wrecked, she announces crossly.

The bus was late; she's taking tonight off and going to the pictures with Andrew.

It's less than a month to the Leaving Cert, you comment; maybe she'd be better off revising?

Wolverine glares.

It's Friday; she's been revising all week, she says icily.

So has everyone else, you respond in the calm, non-confrontational tones that are recommended by your teen parenting manual.

"And everyone else will continue revising, tonight and all weekend," you add.

"Not all of them," Wolverine says smartly, and disappears.

Gritting your teeth, you recall how she 'relaxed' most of the May bank holiday weekend, and did nothing last Sunday either.

Remain calm, says the article.

Avoid 'infecting' your child with any worries you may have about the exams or their future.

Dear God, you think heavily, if Wolverine was susceptible to even the slightest tinge of worry, what a pleasure life could be.

Fifteen arrives in from school.

"I'm off up to do my homework," he says. "What's for dinner?"

Fifteen is reassuringly stressed, but focused and relatively calm about his Junior Certificate.

His main fear, he confided recently, is that any future salary from his hoped-for career as a doctor or engineer will be swallowed by loans to an indigent Wolverine.

An inveterate borrower, Wolverine has a string of convictions for non-repayment.

Speak of the devil, in she tramples, aiming her dirty uniform at the utility room laundry basket.

"What's for dinner?" she wants to know. "Only it has to be, like, soon, cos, like, I need a spin into town."

Ensure your student takes regular breaks, you read.

'Dad's out and I have a visitor tonight, so nobody's available to drive you," you say with shameful relish. "We've warned you about giving us notice when you need a drive, and you'd be far better advised to study."

"The teachers say it's all about balance," argues Wolverine.

You unleash a hard stare, folding your arms.

There is a short intense pause before she stamps off to spend an hour or three on the phone complaining about you to Andrew.

You turn your attention to the final paragraph.

Reassure your child that, if he or she doesn't do as well as they'd hoped, it's not the end of the world, the article concludes.

Well, they can stand you up against a wall and shoot you, but that's one road you won't be going down, you think, dumping the newspaper in the recycling bin.

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