13 Reasons Why we need to be vigilant about what young people are viewing
Head of Middle School, Jessica London, wrote an insightful piece about mental health concerns and the importance of working together in partnership to support our young people navigate the confusing, messy and unpredictable adolescent years.
At Walford, we have many protective layers to support student wellbeing. Each student in the Middle School will have a core teacher (Years 6 and 7) and a House Tutor (Years 8 and 9) who will see your daughter nearly every day and for pastoral care lessons. They should be your first point of call if you have any concerns or questions about your daughter academic and pastoral needs. Each student will then have a Head of House who supports each girl in her House and the core teachers and House Tutors. They are the next layer of pastoral care for the students and work closely with the teachers and Heads of School to develop a pastoral care program that suits the developmental needs of each year level and any issues they may be facing. Next we have the Heads of School, Deputy Principal and Principal. We all work together to support the girls in our care but need your help and collaboration to communicate concerns and to guide our girls to become confident and emotionally healthy young women. We cannot protect young people from adversity and they need to face challenges to develop resilience and grit. However, the way that we help young people manage challenges by walking alongside them and not trying to solve their problems can change adversity into accomplishment.
Below is a list of 13 protective strategies that can be used to support young people:
- Develop a social media/technology contract together with your daughter including information such as permissions, password sharing, posting etiquette, consequences etc. The Year 6 and 7 students will be completing this learning experience this term. This template could be used as a guide.
- Be vigilant about what your daughter is watching and if she is watching something that raises confronting content or questions watch it with her and discuss salient issues. This will give you an insight into your daughter’s viewpoint and perceptions and an opportunity to connect.
- Try and find an effective method of communicating with your teenage daughter. During the adolescence years, it can be hard when your teen stops talking about how they feel but working out a method such as walk and talk with a hot chocolate or when they are in the car between commitments can be effective.
- Block in time for a social media break for your daughter in advance with her input to make sure that she can have some downtime from the constant connection, which can be very addictive.
- Help to re-frame thoughts and conversation when your daughter is becoming negative and focus on gratitude. Practising gratitude regularly has been shown to improve happiness, health, emotional regulation and levels of optimism. You can find some fantastic gratitude, mindfulness and wellbeing journals at book shops and stationery shops such as Kikki K. Journaling and using apps such as Smiling Mind and Headspace can be very useful.
- Make sure that your daughter is not over committed and has a balance of school, co-curricular commitments, fun, family time and rest. If she is getting very tired, emotional or just cannot keep up it might be a good time for some additional rest.
- Encourage your daughter to get enough sleep. Getting between 8-10 hours of sleep per night is recommended for teenagers. Insufficient sleep can contribute to moodiness, poor academic performance, inability to regulate emotions and illness.
- Monitor your teenager’s activities and behaviour. The teenage years are a time of rapid growth, exploration, and risk taking. Taking risks provides young people the opportunity to test their skills and abilities and discover who they are. But, some risks can have harmful and long-lasting effects on a teen’s health and wellbeing. Develop a system to know what they are doing, who they are with, and where they are and setting clear expectations for behaviour with regular check-ins to be sure these expectations are being met. This can be gradually reduced as they get older and earn trust.
- Share your own experiences from growing up and how you were able to navigate challenges. Sharing strategies and empowering your daughter to work out her own method of dealing with a challenge can be very effective during the teenage years. They might say you wouldn’t know what it like or you don’t understand – therefore, telling them you are there but trust they can solve the issues for themselves can be very powerful.
- Encourage your daughter to find a trusted adult or mentor that they can confide in. At times, it can be helpful to have a person that is not a parent to talk to during the teenage years. An older mentor, family friend, school counsellor or psychologist can help to provide support and guidance.
- Be aware that the extreme desire to ‘fit in’ and belong to a group is particularly important to Middle School students. Encouraging your daughter to have a wide circle of friends is advisable and reminding her that friendships will change and grow over time. If she is feeling lonely or is disengaged for an extended period of time, please let her core teacher/House Tutor or the school counsellor know that she requires some support.
- Promote healthy self-esteem and body image by focusing on qualities and dispositions rather than appearance and stereotypes. Refer to positive role models and individuals that have overcome adversity. Be mindful of discussing diets and weight loss and instead focus on health.
- Have faith that your daughter will navigate her way through the difficult adolescent years and will develop her sense of self and find her way. Be sure to take up the offer of support from the school and develop a support system.
If you or your daughter requires immediate support or just someone to talk to there are some excellent resource available.
Head of Middle School
How to get help?
- Kids Helpline Australia https://kidshelpline.com.au or 1800 55 1800
- Lifeline Australia https://www.lifeline.org.au or 13 11 14
- Beyondblue https://www.beyondblue.org.au or 1300 22 4636
- Headspace https://headspace.org.au
11 May 2017 | 0 Comments | Tags: