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25th Aug 2023

How to help your teenager cope with disappointing Leaving Cert results


Today is a huge day for thousands of students and families across Ireland as the Leaving Certificate results come out.

It can be a nerve wracking experience for everyone involved, and while we hope everyone gets the results they need for their first CAO choice, sometimes that simply doesn’t happen.

The first thing to remind your teenager of is that this is not the be all and end all of life and it doesn’t mean you should give up.

There are so many different avenues that can be explored to end up in the career you want.

As parents, it can be incredibly distressing to see your child upset over results, so here are some top tips from the experts at on how you can help them cope.

Express and acknowledge their thoughts & feelings

“The Leaving Cert results day and CAO Round 1 offers can be a difficult time for some students as they watch others celebrate their success while they feel disappointment at their own results. But it is important to let them know they are not alone.

You should allow them to be disappointed and upset.

Encourage them to express and acknowledge their feelings, but it is equally important to find a way to help them move on so that they don’t end up dwelling and self-pitying.

One really useful practical thing to do is get them to write down their feelings. Writing and reading about their own feelings can help them get over the disappointment faster, and allow them to move on.

You should also start thinking about how you can help them to make new plans.”

Reflect on the Leaving Cert Results

“The best thing students can do is be honest with themselves. Take some time to reflect and ask themselves why they have received the grades they received.

It is important to analyse their previous approach to studies in order to prevent it happening again in the next phase of life. They can ask themselves things like:

  • Did you apply yourself enough during the school year?
  • Did you have good routines and study habits?
  • Were you organised?
  • Did you eat and sleep well and take care of yourself?
  • Do you really want to go to college?
  • Do you want to try again and repeat?
  • How motivated are you to achieve academically?

Re-focus and make a new plan

With time, they will gain a new perspective and a realisation that something that seemed very big at one point in life, wasn’t that big in the grand scheme of things.

It is easier said than done to develop that perspective without the benefit of time, try to get them to focus on the bigger picture of their life.

Remind them of all the things going well and encourage them to be positive and grateful.

Ask them what it is they hope to achieve and what career they dream of; and then research all the different ways of getting there.

If they talk to five professionals in your dream career, they will most likely find that they have all taken different routes to get there!