As a mum of an 11 year old who sat his SATS this year I was bemused to see all the media coverage about how ‘wrong’ the SATS are because they ‘stress’ the child out. It will be an ongoing debate as to the value of SATS but not for discussion in this post.  

However, what saddened me was hearing horror stories of children in my son’s school having stomach upsets, not wanting to go to school and generally traumatised about the whole thing.  

The challenging thing with being a parent is there is no manual to getting it ‘right’. Even as a trained psychologist who is ‘supposed’ to know about people and behaviour, I frequently look up to the sky and say, “Help me with this one Universe” when trying to positively deal with my son’s behaviour.

However, as parents we are role models for our children and teaching my son to have his own opinion about life and work solutions out for himself is important to me. Giving my son the courage to rationally calculate and take risks will help him be emotionally resilient in life – well that’s my theory anyway!

So why would I teach him to fear something that doesn’t deserve to have that power?

So when it came to SATS week, I explained to my son that SATS are a method of ‘testing’ that the Government wants. Throughout his life, if he chooses to go the academic route he will be continually ‘tested’ to prove his ‘worth’ and ‘competence’. However, no exam, test, or assessment should or will have the power to affect his mental health. He gives it 100% effort and positive intention and then let go of the outcome. Worry is not a player in this game. Worry comes from fear and why should we fear something that has to happen anyway?

For me life is an ‘adventure’, an ‘experience’ a ‘game to play’. I try to be ‘curious’ about life, seeing how I react to life’s situations and knowing when I’m worrying that I have let fear win. When questions on a piece of paper try to trump our happiness, then for me, this is not the point of life. Yes, try your best, yes commit 100% but don’t let the process take over the point.

Be the role model for your child

  • Don’t buy into the media hype of it all – keep the news off during SATS week.
  • Refuse to worry or stress about how well they do, trust they will perform as well as they can
  • Refuse to get stressed about how stressed they are getting!
  • Empower them by saying, I know you will try your best and I love you
  • Explain to them it is one of those things in life that we ‘have’ to do, we try our best and then we move on.

To teach your child they are loved regardless of any test result and that they can handle anything that comes their way – that for me is successful parenting.

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