Narelle Gillies is a Lane Cove Mum who has had a child go through HSC and another child in Year 11. She is also a Psychotherapist/Adolescent Counsellor specialising in the wellbeing of teenagers, young adults and parents. Narelle uses a strengths-based approach to support people dealing with anxiety, depression, grief, trauma, low self-esteem, body image issues, behavioural challenges, self-harm, academic difficulties, relationship problems and family conflict.
Students in Years 11 and 12 are facing new challenges
Students in Years 11 and 12 are currently facing academic unknowns and social isolation like never before. All this at a time in their life when the connection is vitally important and emotions are volatile at best. The next few months’ present new challenges for parents of senior students. Keeping older teens motivated to engage in learning whilst balancing their need for social life and exercise are factors that many parents are concerned about at the moment.
As they continue to adjust to an online learning routine/staggered days in Term 2, expect some challenging behaviour from your teen. Try to create an environment devoid of judgment so that your teenager feels safe to express the full range of emotions that are likely to emerge during this period. You can say things like, “I can see you are really angry/sad/upset/overwhelmed/stressed at the moment. What do you need right now?”
Focussing on the present rather than worrying about the future and what the HSC will look like will help de-escalate the situation and teach your young person to remain in the here and now.
If your teenager is really overwhelmed, just stick to the basics. Try saying things like: “Shall we could go for a walk together?”, “Do you need a hug or some time alone?”, “Take some deep breaths”, “Would you like a drink of water or some food?” These are simple questions and statements that help teenagers feel safe and better able to deal with their overwhelming emotions as they arise.
Allow for bad days and setbacks along the way, it’s perfectly reasonable for them to feel frustrated and disappointed. Breaks from online learning are essential and there may be days when nothing or very little is achieved. This is okay too. Help students to keep things in perspective. “We are safe, we are healthy and have what we need. The rest will work itself out”.
Make time for fun and self-care for everyone in the family. This might be in the form of a weekly push up/sit-up challenge, a laughing yoga session or binge-watching a few movies together on the weekend. Get creative whilst allowing everyone to have time alone. As parents, we need to be a safe anchor for our teenagers so remember to take time for yourself, to rest or recharge as needed.
Read Narelle’s article on exam stress here.
If you would like further resources Narelle recommends:
Reach Out: www.au.reachout.com
For Enquiries and Appointments:
Phone: 0431 594 141
Email: [email protected]
Online Counselling available contact Narelle via phone or email to arrange an online session.
Specialising in the wellbeing of teenagers, young adults and parents, Narelle uses a strengths-based approach to support people dealing with anxiety, depression, grief, trauma, low self-esteem, body image issues, behavioural challenges, self-harm, academic difficulties, relationship problems and family conflict.
Masters in Counselling and Applied Psychotherapy
BEc Social Sciences (Hons)
Cert Holistic Counselling
Youth Mentor Program Counsellor
Working with children/police checked
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