Year 7 Parent Welcome

On Friday, 9 February Year 7 students and families were invited to the traditional Year 7 Parent Welcome Evening at Bethany College. This evening allowed our new families to familiarise themselves with the school and teachers alike, and were given the opportunity to personally meet the broad spectrum of Bethany staff that are actively involved in their daughter’s school life. Bethany was also lucky to have Dr Toula Tsovolos, Child and Adolescent Paediatrician, present on some interesting and important information about teens as well as some strategies and advice around raising teens during the most important developmental period of their lives. As parents, we do the best we can to raise strong women of the future equipped with the tools required to tackle the responsibilities of adulthood, however the rapidly changing world and the pressure our teens face can make this a challenging task. Here are some of the key points from Dr Tsovolos’ presentation to help all those raising teens:

  • Adolescence is a time before young adulthood where humans develop a sense of belonging, security, stability and a place in the world
  • Parenting approach in adolescents MATTERS to outcomes.
  • Teens need to question and debate rules and values. This is how they discover who they are and what they believe. It is a necessary process of growing up and helps them become independent thinkers.
  • The type of tactics parents use to socialise and control their children can have a dramatic effect on the child’s development (social, emotional, psychological, physical, education and occupational functioning), the type of relationship between the parents and child and the child’s mental health and well-being. In turn, this will influence the child’s “success” as an adult.
  • Research recommends a parenting approach that is high on warmth/nurturing (showing support and care) but also high on control and discipline (setting firm expectations and limits). It is important to show parental flexibility by being a friend, boss or even absent in certain situations, but the best overall approach is being a guide by showing support and care but also maintaining expectations and limits.
  • Parents, it is okay to say “No” and if questioned by your teen is it also okay to reply with “because I said so”. Have clear, firm and consistent boundaries.
  • Insufficient sleep in teens can impact on social, emotional and academic functioning.
  • Sleep quality impacts on how a teen encodes, stores and retrieves learnt information at later times i.e. during exams.
  • Low level stress is healthy and keeps teens motivated, focused and ambitious. No stress makes teens inactive and bored. High stress can result in fatigue, anxiety, anger and burnout. Ensure stress levels are managed in appropriate ways. Any changes in mood and behaviour may indicate that your child is having difficulty managing their stress and may need some advice on how to better manage their stress.
  • Families and teachers should work together as PARTNERS.
  • Parents make the greatest difference to educational outcomes. The power of parental engagement overrides other factors that have been shown to influence a child’s achievements at school.
  • Parents should hold high expectations for their daughter, show interest in things their daughter is interested in and, value learning and model the behaviours of successful learners.
  • Teach your daughter effective study skills such as mind mapping, the Cornell note taking system or the SQ3R etc.
  • Parents can make a big difference by: giving specific (rather than general) praise; recognising the effort and process (not just the outcomes); maintaining structure and predictability to their days; establishing routines that promote good health (good sleep, monitoring and limiting technological devise use, healthy eating, exercise and regular study); and not being afraid to set boundaries and limits.
  • It is important that parents/carers collaborate with teachers to learn about strategies to support their daughter both at home and in school. You are the expert in your child but they are the experts in teaching academic content. Work together!!
  • It is important for parents to support the school when there are discipline issues. Teens will test boundaries. That’s how they learn about the world- by seeing how the adults around them react. Discipline is FEEDBACK about what is EXPECTED.
  • Ineffective and inconsistent discipline contributes to child misbehaviour and poor outcomes. Listen to teacher feedback and work with them.
  • Monitor and stay involved with your child and their life- find out who they hang out with, what they do, where they are and when they will be home. Take an interest in their lives (fake it if you have to!). Teens feel more secure when parents are present in their lives and in their home.
  • When communicating with teens be careful not to always have to be right. You are their frontal lobe, in other words, you are their reasoning ability, their decision maker and their problem solvers- guide them to make smart decisions.
  • Make the choice to let thing go rather than nagging or being confrontational. Choose your battles and other times just choose not to say anything at all. Don’t talk too much either as you only have 13 seconds to get your message across to teens!
  • Imagine who you want your kids to be and be that!

This is a lot of information but you are probably doing a lot of the above without even realising! These are just some extra tips/reminders to help you survive adolescence. Let’s work together to raise strong, independent and happy women of the future.

 

Katerina Stratilas

College Counsellor