Dealing with Parents’ Exam Stress

While home tuition generally involves the student getting the tuition, tutors don’t just deal with them. They also have to deal with their students’ parents. In home tuition, it can be very difficult for home tutors to work with parents who aren’t so keen to listen to what the tutor has to say or let their emotions get the better of them. However, since they are basically the client for the tutor, not being able to get along with them can have repercussions that can affect the tutor’s career and business. Dealing with parents can be tricky for home tutors however, there are some tricks to help ease the problems that may arise and form a good relationship with them.

Stress during Exams

It’s not only students who get stressed about their upcoming exams. The same can happen to their parents. During the exam season, many parents can show signs of stress and if they aren’t dealt with properly, they can directly or indirectly affect the student’s preparation as well. It’s understandable that parents want their children to do well on their exams and as a result, they can also become stressed out about the exam’s outcome and how it can affect their children’s future.

Signs of parental stress

While stress can be recognizable when it’s at its peak, there are also a few warning signs that tutors should look out for that parents may start to exhibit during this period. By recognizing these signs, tutors can help prevent stress build-up and deal with it before it becomes something bigger. Here are some signs of stress that tutors can look out for in parents.

• Anger

When people start to get stressed, they will also start to have more trouble with their anger management. If parents start to raise their voices when speaking to tutors or when they start to get really impatient for the tiniest things, it’s an obvious sign they are likely to be stressed.

• Anxiety

Another sign of stress in parents is anxiety. If the tutor starts to see their student’s parents become more nervous and jittery than usual, then it’s a sign stress is starting to sink in. This becomes more evident when parents start to approach their child’s home tutor with every worry under the sun. in some instances, parents will even come to tutors and ask many questions about scenarios that haven’t happened yet. They may also start to talk about how nervous they are for the upcoming exams as if they will be the ones taking it.

• Nagging

While calls or messages from parents are always encouraged by tutors as a means to form a good relationship with them, constant calling and messaging the tutors can be some symptoms of helicopter parenting. This can be caused by the feelings of stress the parents are suffering from causing them to want to know how their child is doing when the tutor has just spoken to them. A simple call or message from the parent can turn into a full-on session and may come off as nagging when they constantly do it.

• Scolding the child

Some parents go off on their children when they are experiencing stress. They can become very demanding and scold the child in front of their home tutor if the parent thinks they are not doing well or working hard in their tuition sessions. This can negatively affect the child mentally and emotionally. It’s understandable that parents may want to cope with their stress by letting it out however, their children shouldn’t be used as a punching bag for them.

How to handle parental stress

Now that we have talked about the signs of stress in parents tutors should be able to recognize, the next step is to learn how to handle parents when they are stressed.  As mentioned before, parents should also be involved in their children’s studies and by helping them properly handle their stress for their children’s exams, tutors can ensure that the student will not be affected negatively by these feelings.

1. Do not disregard their feelings

Like student stress during exam season, parents’ feelings during the same time are also valid. It’s important to note that tutors shouldn’t be too hasty to discredit their feelings or calming them down as this may even cause them to worry more. Instead, tutors can help them see that they understand how they are feeling and that the tutor holds the same concern as the parent. However, instead of worrying about how the student will do on the exam together, the tutor can help by opening up a discussion with the parent about what they are feeling to show that the tutor does understand where they are coming from.

As such, it’s also important to note that tutors shouldn’t also let their own emotions and feelings get in the way. sometimes, tutors can become defensive when parents start to open up about their worries over their children’s exams. Some tutors may see this as an indirect attack on their skills in helping the child with tuition but this isn’t always the case. As mentioned above, anxiety can be a sign of parental stress and tutors should be more understanding with parents so as to not make the situation worse for both the parent and the student.

2. Listen to them

The same with their students, tutors should also be ready to lend their ears to their student’s parents at a time like this. Even if the concerns aren’t that deep, it can be a big deal for the parents and the mere thought that they are willing to share their concerns with their child’s tutor is enough for the tutor to take their concerns seriously. When the parent sits down with the tutor to discuss their concerns, it’s important to hold eye contact with them to show that the tutor is indeed listening. As such, tutors should also refrain from interrupting them when they are still talking. It’s better to let them speak what they want to say and to get it all out before the tutor can react or offer solutions.

3. Clarify the problem

It’s easy to spot a stressed-out person and with the signs we’ve mentioned above, it can become more recognizable for tutors. However, while it’s easy to see that, it’s harder for some parents to identify what is causing their stress. Stressing about the student’s upcoming exam can be very broad and vague. Sometimes, even parents don’t exactly know what part they are most stressed out about.

This is the time for home tutors to discuss with the parents and ask questions in order to properly clarify the concerns they are trying to raise. By asking the right questions and clarifying the matter with the parents, it gives the tutor more details on what they think the problem is. And when the problem is properly identified, it will become much easier to find ways to solve it. As such, by asking questions, parents will also understand that the tutor is willing to help them and help solve their problems. Additionally, by clearing up the main problem about the parents’ worries, it will also give the tutor more perspective and can find ways to solve the problem and will help ensure the student will get the best score possible. Sometimes, parents may worry about things that haven’t crossed the tutor’s mind so it’s also good to have other perspectives about the student during exam season.

4. Give information

Parents will start to fret when they have no idea how their child is doing with regards to their studies. Some parents will also worry when they have no actual evidence that the child is doing good or not. Sometimes, parents also need reassurance that their child is progressing well and can handle the upcoming exams. The best way to handle stressed-out parents is to show them the evidence of their child’s development.

The tutor can show them the results of the mock test or practice papers the child has completed. They can also show parents the scores the student got before they started tuition as a comparison for how far they have accomplished. Additionally, tutors can also discuss with the parents the measures they are taking to ensure the student’s preparedness for their exams. It will put the parent at ease when they know how well the child is doing and how are they preparing for the exam.

5. Offer solutions

When the parent has opened up about their concerns with regards to their child’s performance for their upcoming exams, the next logical thing to do is to offer solutions on how to tackle the concerns raised. If the parent is worried the student will struggle with a certain subject, the tutor can offer to spend more time and focus on the particular weak area or subject first. If the parent is worried about the amount of free time the student is wasting, the tutor can offer to lengthen the lesson time to make use of the extra period the student may be wasting. As such, offering solutions is for naught if there is no implementation. With this, tutors can enlist the parents to enforce the changes for their preparations as well. This will involve the parents in their child’s studies as well as elevate their worries for the exam.


Stress is something that everyone can feel regardless if they are a parent, tutor, or student. As such, it’s important to understand that everyone goes through stressful situations, and finding a way to diffuse this before it blows up can help both the parents and the students. Remember that parents can also affect their children’s studies and may increase the tension between them. This will not help the child at all when they are preparing for their exams. It’s best to be patient and show understanding.



Carelle is a teacher who has been through the ups and downs of the teacher and learner life. She wishes for every learner to gain educational satisfaction that will help embody the people they want to be in the future.

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