Pastoral Talk: Jane Downshire: Teenagers Translated 3rd Form Parent Workshop

02 January 2019

Understanding and Managing Teenage Habits, Dependencies and Addictive Behaviours. As students approach adolescence and stresses mount, including academic and social pressures and peer influences, this becomes a vulnerable time when students often stumble upon dysfunctional strategies (e.g. food issues, self-harm, smoking, drugs, alcohol, pornography viewing, or a reliance on social media) to manage, regulate or distract themselves from their particular challenges, or to fit in with the group.

This session aims to help parents develop an understanding of how occasional “normalised” behaviours can quickly become habitual ways of coping or relaxing and can also activate addiction pathways in the teenage brain. We show parents how the sessions we are conducting with Year 9 students will help them to understand the importance of avoiding the pitfalls of addictive behaviours and instead make them aware of identifying and practising more functional strategies for coping with their emotional states to protect their future mental health.

We will focus on self-harm, eating disorders and the harmful effects of viewing Pornography, all of which are increasing problems amongst this age group. Parents are helped with understanding how to approach the subject of SexEd and help their child make good decisions and choices around sex and relationships, helping understand how pornography can change perceptions of what is normal and can quickly become addictive.

Self Harm and Eating issues will also be addressed, allowing parents to see the bigger picture of how these are closely linked to difficulties with coping with anxiety. We will look at ways parents can use their relationship and home life to help their child regulate anxiety, support good mental health and emotional resilience in their child.