Help kids change their perspective when things go wrong

Parents can help catastrophisers learn to change their perspective when things go wrong.

 It’s natural when things go wrong to think that life will never be the same again. I recall as a teenager doing poorer than expected in my end of school exams, and missing the tertiary course I had set for myself. At the time it was such a catastrophe. I thought that there was no point taking another course – naturally, I would hate it. Of course, I undertook a teaching course, which I really enjoyed and I didn’t look back.

Breaking up with a friend, losing close sports events and being on the receiving end of teasing can at the time seem like events from which we will never recover.

Catastrophising (jumping immediately to the worst possible scenario) only exaggerates kids’ worries and makes them feel even more anxious. It always helps to keep your sense of proportion, but it’s not easy when emotions run high. We all exaggerate our problems from time to time, particularly, when we are under stress. It takes a cool customer to moderate their thinking the whole time, but some kids are prone to jumping to the worst-case scenario, even when the events are quite minor.

If your child is a serial catastrophiser , always seeing the worst case in a negative situation, try to change their thinking so they learn to keep things in perspective. Ask them the following questions to challenge your child’s catastrophic thinking:

  • What’s the most likely scenario? Sometimes it’s useful to introduce a dose of old-fashioned rational thinking for those kids who always assume the worst will happen to them. ‘Yep, you could break your leg if you go skiing. But the odds are that you won’t.’
  • ‘You may be right, but does it really matter?’ One way to help hard-core catastrophisers is to admit that they could be right, but then ask them to imagine that the worst possible scenario actually happens. Then challenge them to understand that even the worst possible scenario is not so bad after all. This is the type of reality check many kids need.
  • ‘Where does this fit on the disaster meter? Catastrophisers tie themselves in a knot about relatively insignificant things. Okay, making a fool out of themselves when they give a talk at school may not be insignificant to kids, but there are plenty of worse things that could happen. Help them get some perspective by giving their worry a score out of ten on how important the issue really is.
  • ‘Is that helpful thinking?’ Sometimes kids’ thinking is so out of whack with reality that they become anxious about minor things. Thinking things such as, ‘Everyone must like me,’ ‘I must never make a mistake’ and ‘Bad things always happen to me’ are extreme and need to be replaced by more moderate, realistic thoughts, such as, ‘It would be nice if everyone liked me but not everyone will. It’s important to have some good friends.’

When children experience hardships it is helpful if parents and teachers can assist them to process what happened to them. Children are faulty observers and often have difficulty seeing the full picture particularly when they are so close to the situation. Help your child see the full picture and in doing so they may realise that things may not be as bad as they seem.

(Michael Grose, 2017)



This week we celebrated Catholic Schools Week and the community was able to come and look at our school and students in action.

Across the Archdiocese, enrolments for secondary schools in now beginning when students are in Year 5, in line with parent advice and expectations.

Our enrolments for Year 7 2018 and 2019 will close on 7 April 2017, the last day of Term 1.

We are very nearly near the end of the 2018 process with feeder school students and siblings already enrolled.

Parents are advised that if they have a daughter currently in Year 5 or Year 6, and you have not already done so, please download and complete the new enrolment form on our website. We cannot guarantee a position in Year 7 at Bethany if this deadline is not met. Thank you for your action in this matter.




NEWMAN GIFTED SELECTED PROGRAM (formerly known as ‘scientia’)

 Since 2015, Bethany College, Hurstville has been a member school of the Newman Gifted Project. This Project has been developed by Sydney Catholic Schools to cater for the significant learning needs of the Gifted and Talented student.

The College has committed to:

  • Running Newman selective stream classes, based on a variety of selection criteria, designed to identify students with ability across a range of domains.
  • Differentiating curriculum and assessment to better cater to the learning needs of students selected for these classes.
  • Track, report and celebrate the achievements of these students.
  • Creating a Professional Learning Community, made up of classroom teachers of Newman Stream classes and other staff. As a part of this PLC, opportunities to learn more about the needs of gifted and talented students and develop skills in classroom practice, will be encouraged.

We have identified that we need to do more work in this area by sharing information about the program with parents and finding ways to collect information from students and their parents about their specific learning needs. In the next few weeks, we will be meeting with parents of current Year 7 and 8 Newman stream students to further unpack the program with them, share knowledge about what needs to be demonstrated in order to maintain a position in these classes and the external nd objective testing we will employ to facilitate this.

We have also developed a Gifted and Talent (GAT) form for use at the point of enrolment so that parents and students can self-nominate. We can then objectively assess if the student meets the criteria of the program. The GAT form is now available from the Enrolment section of our website.



Inspiring faith and learning at Bethany College

Bethany College celebrated Catholic Schools Week on 5 – 11 March, 2017. The school is among more than 620 in NSW and the ACT to mark the annual event, with activities including open days, school tours, music and drama performances, sporting events, community picnics and more.

This year, Sydney Catholic schools including Bethany College have adopted the theme Inspiring Spirits and Minds to highlight the many authentic learning opportunities, gifted teachers and support staff, and holistic wellbeing approaches that make Catholic education valued within the community.

Bethany College held an open day on Tuesday 7 March 2017, with parents, carers, community leaders and friends invited to join the celebration.

Bethany in Action allowed visitors to see the many opportunities for academic growth, leadership, social justice, and extra-curricular activities including sport and performing arts available at the school, and to witness a culture that encourages qualities such as compassion and integrity.

As I stated during my address on Open Day “At Bethany College” we encourage students to make the most of every opportunity supported by caring and committed teachers so that they continue to grow in confidence and ability” with “Our focus on developing the whole person.”



Our mantra:

“Girls can do anything.
Bethany girls can do everything!*
(*except divide by zero)”
Vicki Lavorato