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Helping your children manage stress

by Grace Frith published October 29, 2020

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Watching your children struggle through the stresses of high school and not being able to help them is very difficult as a parent. Here are some suggestions on how to help your child without having to help them with the actual schoolwork.

1.      Emphasise that their wellbeing is a priority to you

Often students struggle to realise that their parents and teachers don’t want them to sacrifice their wellbeing in order to succeed academically. Expressing to them how important it is to look after their mental, emotional and physical health will help them to look after all aspects of their wellbeing

2.      Look out for signs of stress

High school students are often facing the first big stresses of their lives. They aren’t self-aware enough to even realise if they are stressed, let alone how much it might be impacting them. Appearing zoned out, agitated, impatient, unable to focus, hypersensitive are all signs of stress. If your child isn’t their usual self, it might be important to have a chat so they can see how their stress is impacting them. If you are concerned that their stress may be having ongoing impacts on their wellbeing, it might be worth going to a health professional for advice.

3.      Don’t tell them “Don’t stress” or “It doesn’t matter”

The first thing you want to tell a HSC student is that your future isn’t  dependent solely on your HSC results. You should emphasise on the progress they made rather than the results. My parents and teachers used to try to tell me all the time,  “You’ve studied lots, you’ll be fine”, but when I was in a stressed headspace that was hard to listen to. It is best to remind them of how far they have come and ask them what they need from you – whether it is just somebody to listen to them, a distraction from study, some help getting on top of their work or figuring out how to cope with the stress.

4.      Help them gain the skills to deal with stress

Your child is dealing with these stresses for the first time, but it’s likely you’ve dealt with the same stresses yourself. Talk to them about how you deal with stress in a healthy way and help them find their own way to cope. Taking them on a walk or out for lunch, making a study timetable or watching a movie together can all be ways to help them deal with stress.

As long as your child knows you are there for them and support them, they will know you can help them with the stresses of studying.