Information and advice for parents and carers on issues facing young people and what you can do to help.

7 Booklets to support you and your child

Self-care for teenagers
Self-care is anything you enjoy doing that helps make you happy and maintains your physical, mental or emotional health. Self-care helps parents and teens deal with life’s everyday pressures in a more positive and rewarding way. Recent research has revealed that teaching teenagers how to balance their own needs now will help them in the future, while reducing some of the strain on their lives right now. Self-care can lead to healthier, happier, more adjusted young people. Studies have demonstrated that when parents practice self-care, it’s been shown that teens are encouraged to do the same, and take this positive habit into later life. So, your self-care helps teach your child how to look after themselves better.

Encouraging independence
Developing independence has many benefits: increased academic success, increased motivation and confidence and improved awareness of students’ own strengths and weaknesses, as well as how to manage these. Independent learning isn’t about working alone: teachers and parents still need to support and enable the learning that is needed in this time so that it is structured, productive and effective. We can’t expect children to just ‘know’ how to work independently as well as effectively, they will need some guidance and support.

Building resilience
Resilience is the ability to overcome adversity, ‘bounce back’ during difficult times and get back
to feeling good. It is about having the capacity to adapt to difficult circumstances, and using tools and resources available to do so. The Institute of Health Equity suggests that resilient individuals, families and communities are more able to deal with difficulties and adversities than those with less resilience. Building resilience is fundamental to teenagers becoming happy and functioning adults. Young people who are not resilient will be more likely to respond to stress by developing anxiety and depression.

Aspirations reflect teenagers’ hopes or desires to reach a particular level of education or reach a
career. Studies show that students with either high aspirations or high expectations have higher school achievement than those with both low aspirations and low expectations. Research suggests that there is a correlation between teenage goals, aspirations and psychological wellbeing. Raising aspirations is also believed to incentivise improved attainment.

Handling the pressure of external exams
Survey research has identified that exams are a significant source of stress and worry for pupils in secondary school. In particular, failing important examinations, and the consequences of failing these examinations, are rated as more important than a range of other personal and social worries. (Optimus education).
Exam stress can be really challenging, not only for  children but for those that live with them. Research shows that having someone to talk to about their work can help. Support from a parent, teacher or friend can help young people share their worries and keep things in perspective.

Mental health
Research states that mental health issues affect about 1 in 10 children. The emotional wellbeing
of children is just as important as their physical health. Good mental health allows young people to develop resilience, cope with the ups and downs in life and grow into healthy adults. Surveys suggest that most young people are mentally healthy but more children are having problems due to life changes, traumatic events, feeling vulnerable or not coping with difficult situations. The Guardian has recently published that tens of thousands of young people in Britain are struggling with their mental health and are seeking help online for problems.

Research shows that young people face many different kinds of stress, worry, anxiety and can feel overwhelmed for various reasons. Relaxation has been defined as a ‘state of being free from tension and anxiety’. We often forget to switch off as adults but it is important that we do that in order to help children learn important skills. Many studies highlight the benefits of relaxation. An important part of teenage life should be relaxation. It is an essential part of maintaining health and wellbeing and being able to calmly deal with stress and pressure which, as we know, can be quite intense during the school years and especially being an adolescent.

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