Back to school can create real anxiety for young people if they have experienced bullying the previous year.
Every school in Ireland has an anti-bullying policy, but sometimes, unfortunately, they need to be reminded to act upon it.
Talk and listen to them. Hear them out and acknowledge their concerns.
Make an appointment with the class teacher or principal to discuss what happened last year and your and your son or daughter’s concerns for the year ahead.
Teach your son or daughter about different styles of communication and how to be more assertive. Let them know it’s OK to say no, or stop and be true to their own needs and feelings.
If your son or daughter has experienced bullying they will more than likely need to work on their self-esteem.
Read confidence and young people for ways to help with this.
Come up with some ideas to do stuff they enjoy at the end of their first week so they have something to look forward to when heading back to school.
Read bullying for more.
Heading back to school can be as anxiety provoking for a parents as much as a student.
School is such a different experience for everyone, some love it, but others can have many fears and feel anxieties about different things.
Wanting to fit in, a fear of being judged, bullying, never mind the actual workload, are concerns for a lot of young people going to school.
Check in with your son or daughter about how they’re feeling about school and why.
When you’re talking to them about school try to use reassurance sparingly. Too much reassurance from outside will prevent them from learning to reassure themselves.
Understand and listen to their anxieties and try not to dismiss or belittle them. Do try to empathise not sympathise.
Let them take the lead while working on solutions together.
Whatever the outcome, do not support the option of avoiding school.
Heading back to school might not be as bad as anticipated.
Work through all the possible scenarios they might face that could be causing concern. Work with them to remember a time when they were dreading something, and it was actually not as bad as anticipated.
This is important for them (and you!) to learn to not always leap to the worse-case scenario in mind.
Tell them to work hard and think past the first day and week, focusing on the second day, or the second week. Once they’re back in the swing of it, the new term might be manageable.
There will always be challenges in school and try to make your son or daughter aware of that, but as much as possible they should try to enjoy the time.
Taking part in extra-curricular activities, socialising to balance out school will help your son or daughter build resilience and have an good sense of wellbeing.
Next week students all over the country will be receiving their Leaving Cert results. Parents will be faced with one of three scenarios.
Your reaction will be more important than you may realise.
Manage your reaction carefully. Temper your own feelings right now and when you’re both ready, work on the next steps together.
If they get good results, congratulate them and let them know you’re proud of them.
Make sure they’re not harboring expectations of doing even better. Some students put a lot of pressure on themselves so see where they’re at.
Try your best not to weigh in and offer your opinions as to why that might have happened.
Discourage your son or daughter from making comparisons with others, as this helps no one really. Watch yourself in this case too.
There are many different paths to the one goal. Working together you can come up with a a solution, about the next steps.
Get them to look at the school leavers’ section we developed on ReachOut.com. This was designed for people who have just gotten their results, from CAO, PLC courses, getting papers rechecked to repeating the Leaving Cert.
Consider the many different reasons for this before you react. Was there a problem during the year? Has school always been a struggle for them? Or it may be they just didn’t put in the work.
They maybe quite surprised and upset, even if they didn’t put in the work. Realising their peers may now be on a different track to them can be really frightening.
If they just weren’t studious, or never put the work in, this could be what turns them around. They could re-apply themselves by repeating, or look at alternative PLC courses offering subjects school never did.
Check out all these options on school leavers’ on ReachOut.com.
Show an interest in how their friends did. Find the balance so you’re not encouraging them to make unfair comparisons, but are making sure they’re checking in with friends who maybe very disappointed.
The Leaving Cert results mark quite a milestone. Hindsight show us it’s not the be-all and end-all, but it’s a very different story when you’re in it.
Your parenting role isn’t over yet! Your support, as a parent, is crucial at this time.