The aim of the Wellbeing Series for 2017 is to address difficult conversations with children. Sometimes it is because of the topic, sometimes it is because there is a normal strained relationship between parents and their son as he pulls away from his childhood – and at times, you, as a parent.
During the teenage years, it is normal for boys to distance themselves from their parents. Fortunately, this is transient and generally passes as they begin to define themselves as adults. Some subjects are tough to discuss, especially when they are personal rather than simply academic. Personal issues that relate to their behaviour can easily turn into an argument.
The 21st century has delivered some challenges for parents who are very new to some current issues facing our children. The support from older members of the family who would normally offer guidance is less useful for parents as they too have never experienced these new challenges. Issues such as online pornography and the way in which electronic devices can affect sleep patterns are relatively new challenges and our boys are in need of help, even if they do not overtly ask for it.
Personal topics such as mental health are sensitive and cannot easily be navigated through without a good starting point. Our Senior Prefects and student leaders have made ‘positive mental health’ their priority for 2017 and they want to address the alarming statistics about mental health issues in young people, especially young males. I commend our new leaders for their commitment to starting this difficult conversation with our boys. There has long been an atmosphere of silence, especially for young men who have found it beyond them to seek help when they are disengaged, lonely, anxious or depressed. It has been refreshing to see a shift towards openness and the drawing of support from friends, teachers and psychologists in addressing the issue of mental health.
Today Mr Sam Webb, CEO of Livin’, an organisation that specialises in youth mental health, addressed all of our boys and this evening Headspace will present to our school leaders, leaders from various other schools and our parent body. If you are unable to attend this session, I encourage you to attend other sessions during the year that could be of benefit to you when you need to have these more difficult conversations with your son. Even if your son is thriving, the content of these sessions will assist all boys and families in navigating some challenges that could arise. Other difficult topics such as pornography, sleep, electronic devices, safe partying, and young people and the law will be covered throughout the year.
Difficult conversations can be made a little easier with a good starting point and awareness about where you can seek help should you need it. If you can attend these sessions, we believe you will find them worthwhile.
Details are available below. Students are welcome to attend these sessions with you but will also be attending other wellbeing seminars during the year.
- 22 March: Positive Psychology Training with Paula Robinson of the Positive Psychology Institute
- 9 May: Pornography and Young People with Maree Crabbe of Reality & Risk (this is strictly parents only)
- 13 June: Alcohol, Drugs & Partying with Trent Southworth of Teen Strategies Group
- 19 September: Technology and Sleep with Lisa Maltman of the Sleep Connection
- 21 November: Young People and the Law with His Honour Magistrate Greg Grogin (ON 1976)
The wellbeing of our boys is central to their learning and their growth, and these information sessions may assist us all.
Mr Bob Meakin
Deputy Head of Stanmore (Students)