By Martin Mullin, Assistant Principal Student Wellbeing
Welcome to the start of the new year. I am very excited to be taking on the role of Assistant Principal, Student Wellbeing in 2019. I hope to use this newsletter as an opportunity to pass on some information or resources relating to student wellbeing throughout the year.
On Thursday of Week One, I spoke to the parents and guardians of Year 9 at the laptop roll out and information evening. My focus was on some of the problems we see occurring once students have access to technology. I believe all parents and guardians—even those new to our school—would be aware of the issues relating to excessive screen time for young people (and old!).
While I spoke briefly about some of the research and recommendations regarding screen time, the focus of what I had to say that night was on having conversations with your child. Whether it be concerns about screen time, the amount of sleep your son or daughter is getting, their study habits, diet, exercise … any of the dozens of topics that any parent can have to address with their teenager, it is our responsibility as the adults in their lives to be setting boundaries, but also to be explaining why we are concerned about these issues. While the college advocates a gradual release of responsibility approach to students on most matters, it is important to recognise that young people continue to require boundaries, right up until they leave school. Some young people are better at this than others, but most will struggle to delay gratification, that is, put off the more pleasurable aspects of their lives to tend to their responsibilities.
Young people know that too much screen time, poor sleep habits, excessive junk food and not enough exercise are bad for them. It is our responsibility as the adults in their lives to voice our concerns, explain our expectations and set boundaries.
The great thing is, even if you have not established boundaries and been having these conversations in the past, it is never too late to start. Use the new year as an opportunity to set up your expectations and have the conversations with your child. As always, your son or daughter’s Pastoral Leader or Year Coordinator is someone who can help steer you in the right direction or provide some advice or strategies.
Have a great 2019.