A recent survey of parents revealed that the number one concern they have was their children’s academic performance. They wanted to ensure their children were doing well, achieving good grades and setting themselves up for success in their future careers. All good stuff – but what about how happy their children are at school? Parents did identify that they were concerned about whether their children were happy at school and worried about them being bullied. However, this ranked lower in the survey as something they were concerned about. The picture this draws is that parents are likely to pressure their children to keep up their progress at school – but at what cost? Of course, in a perfect world children would not suffer from being picked on or bullied at school and school days really would be the happiest days of their lives. In reality this is rarely the case. Most kids come in for some teasing and get made fun of – and some of them are able to give as good as they get, but what about the ones who aren’t? The parents’ role is to provide support for their children, whether that’s to help them with learning, encourage them to explore ideas and concepts or expand their knowledge. It’s also to provide a safe environment – and someone who will listen to their troubles and take them seriously. If you’re a parent of young teenagers you may be suffering from disbelief – what teenager ever shares their feelings with their parents? But it’s up to the parent to make sure that the child has the opportunity to air their problems and feel that they’ll be taken seriously. It’s also important that parents keep an eye out for signs that their child is unhappy at school and take action to find out why. Surprisingly, the two – performance and happiness – can be linked. If your child is finding the work challenging, it’s only a step away from getting teased for being stupid when they can’t answer questions in class. In fact, that is one of the reasons we created Exemplar – to help children catch up with the concepts they’re expected to know in the basic subjects – English and Maths. It’s amazing how quickly their confidence grows when they can answer questions and get good marks – and how quickly teasing (or even bullying) stops as a result.