2018 top academic achievers got your teen feeling inadequate?
Comparing themselves to ultra-successful peers is all too easy, and creates massive blind spots to their own skills and talents. Here's how to put things in perspective for your teen.
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Yesterday, the Independent Examination Board (IEB) matric results had just about everyone wondering what they’ve done with their lives, as news reports buzzed about top students achieving incredible results.

So, if your teen is feeling the ache of 'not making the top list' or 'just passing', now would be a good time to let them in on a little secret: for a large part of the population, average is pretty much all of us. 

And yet, despite our ordinariness, we all have something unique to offer. 

Anne Oberholzer, CEO of the IEB advises that there is a drastic need for alternative ways of nurturing success within our schooling system and that we should not forget that many leaders and influencers have been those who have redefined what it means to be successful: 

“The challenge for schools is no longer the development of only academic skills… It is not useful for everyone to be focused solely on a university education, possibly neglecting their real strengths in the false belief that a degree is the only vehicle to a secure and successful life.”

“This is no longer the case and more and more, it is those who defy this myth that find the path that releases their talent.”

Modern society has been shaped by innovative thinkers who have created entire industries that, up until just a few decades ago, did not exist, directly impacting traditional pathways to success. 

“Gone are the days when a successful development path meant good high school grades followed by a university degree followed by post-graduate study and then employment with a salaried income in a protected permanent post,” notes Oberholzer. 

With thriving technological advances creating uncertainty around future job markets, how can parents determine the best approach to setting their kids up for success? 

Oberholzer suggests that the secret to fostering achievement in young minds is through teaching them – what she terms – the proven characteristics of success: “Perseverance and persistence; problem identification and solution; the tried-and-tested approaches alongside thinking outside the box, possibly even without the box!” 

And while the success of the country's top achieving students should not be undermined by any means, striving to achieve one's personal best is always good enough. 

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Did your child achieve the results they wanted or did they fall short? How are you helping them cope with feelings of inadequacy? Share your story by emailing to chatback@parent.com and we could publish your comments. Do let us know if you'd like to stay anonymous.  

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