In the previous blog post for parents, we looked at the way that we can encourage a growth mind-set by praising effort, strategy and action, and giving honest feedback. In the latest of this ongoing series of posts, we will discuss ways that you can encourage your child to develop resilience and accept emotional support.
Resilience in the HSC
Almost every child experiences some anxious moments or have fearful thought and feelings during their HSC year. But anxiety and fear can be paralysing, and it takes time to manage. It’s your job, as parents, to stay calm, think clearly and project confidence when your child gets anxious. Here are some tips:
- Calm is created through your words, voice and facial expression. When children become anxious, some get angry, some become upset and others withdraw. Work out the pattern for your child and help them recognise when they are anxious, using soothing words.
- Accept your child’s anxious feelings. They need to trust that you are with them and there for them. When they trust you, they will be more willing to let you help them cope.
- Discuss, at a later time when they are not anxious, the validity of their fears. If there isn’t any, diplomatically discuss that they may be catastrophising, and look at ways in which you can help them reduce their fear.
- Challenge the validity of your child’s fears and anxiety, but don’t dismiss it. Don’t allow them to wallow in self-pity and encourage an outlook to the future.
- Encourage ways for your child to overcome their anxiety through action
Improve parent/student communication
Getting on the same page with young people is a challenge for many parents. Here are five different approaches to use so your child will listen to you:
- Use proactive language: This means using “I” rather than “you”. Don’t make them feel victimised when you say, “You haven’t done enough study!” as they will become defensive and want to fight back.
- Slow down: Slow down the conversation, and don’t make snap decisions or judgements! Teenagers often want you to make quick decisions in their favour but take time to think first.
- Don’t point: Lose the habit of pointing your finger at them out of frustration! Again, it victimises them and makes them feel frustrated. Use an open palm to indicate their messy room.
- Be aware of your face: Your facial expression can often give away much more than what you say, and teenagers are adept at picking this up. Choose your expressions carefully and getting them right will mean that they are more likely to listen to you and take your idea on board.