A message from the school counsellors

How are you doing?

Have you stopped to check in with yourself today?

Parenting during a lockdown can be a challenge for many as we try to support our teenagers to cope while trying to cope ourselves. At times like these it’s easy to get stressed and anxious. As parents/carers, it’s so important that we manage our own wellbeing so we can avoid parenting from a place of overwhelming fear or stress. Its important to recognise any current feelings of frustration, anger and sadness (in ourselves and our children).

How are you looking after yourself?

Finding time to relax or enjoy your interests, regular exercise, good sleep habits, finding ways to connect with those we care about and taking a break from the news are all great self-care strategies. It is great to model this for our teenagers and invite them to join you. It is about the only time that it is socially acceptable to go for a walk around the suburb with your parents!

Current expectations

You may have noticed that tensions are high in your family and there has been an increase in arguments. It’s okay to relax your expectation of yourselves and your children during this time. Physical, emotional and mental health and healthy family relationships are the priority right now.  Priorities will differ between families and perhaps between your own children. This is different to giving up or giving in. Achievable goals are key.

What is your teenager’s behavior telling you?

Poor sleep habits, excessive screen time, withdrawal from the family and refusal to complete school work may indicate that your child is in fact struggling. It is important to understand what is the reason for your child’s current behavior.

  • Are they on screens as a way to avoid school work that is overwhelming them or as a way to distract themselves from their worries?
  • Are they on screens to connect with friends or to enjoy a valued hobby?
  • Or are they constantly checking the news or social needed due to anxiety or boredom?
  • Are they sleeping during the day because they are avoiding trying to sleep at night?
  • Are they lacking in energy and motivation or feeling a sense of hopelessness?
  • Or are they enjoying a change in routine and relishing the opportunity to sleep in later than normal and just roll out of bed for pastoral at 8.30?
  • Is there avoidance of school work because the work has now started to snowball or they’re perhaps nervous about asking teachers for help?
  • Or are the struggling to be interested in their learning without the company of their peers and hands on support and direction from their teachers?

Ways you can help

  • First listen and try to understand your child’s experience (best not to try to have this conversation during an argument!).
  • Ask your child what you can do differently? If you are asking your child to make changes are there changes you can make too in your parenting?
  • What are your priorities for your child and are they achievable at the moment or do you need to alter your expectations?
  • Adolescence is a time of increasing independence, however in periods of high stress our children often need our help again, but may not know how to ask or know that it is what they are needing.
  • Consider it as a negotiation—a chance to agree on daily or weekly goals.
  • Are there practical ways you can help?
  • Remember your children’s teachers are very willing to help and make adjustments during this time based on individual needs. Your child may need your help to reach out for this support.

Year Cos and Pastoral leaders are the first stop for discussing your child’s needs but if you are seeking some parenting support or ideas of ways to support your child’s mental health you can email us on counsellor@sfx.act.edu.au and we will contact you.   

We hope that the holidays are a chance for a reset, a much needed break and hopefully an opportunity for moments of joy.

 

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