How to cope with the stress of student life

christine-miller

 

http://ccalaska.com/city-hall/city-council/ How to cope with the stress of student life

christine-millerDear Christine,

My daughter has revised hard and is expected to achieve excellent A-level grades. But over the past few weeks she has become increasingly worried and anxious about going away to university and what may be expected of her. This is a time when she should be looking forward to her future but instead she is locking herself in her room and becoming very depressed. What can I do?

I’m assuming this depression is an isolated condition for your daughter, not an ongoing problem. As a young adult, about to begin life away from home, your daughter will have natural anxieties about leaving and becoming independent.

You say she “should” be looking forward to her future; however, this is a time of great change and uncertainty, and her anxiety is probably based on her holding unrealistic expectations of herself, coupled with high expectations she feels others have of her. Acknowledging and encouraging her to explore these feelings often allows them to evaporate.

Humour, patience and open communications are vital. Since she is focusing on the possible downside of going to university, help her begin anticipating positively, perhaps planning trips to buy new clothes/equipment, and gently reminding her that, initially, universities expect freshers to be nervous and uncertain.

Tastylia, Tadalafil Oral Strip This is a major life transition, and even outwardly confident students will have underlying concerns including:

“Will anyone like me?”

 “Will I be able to cope with the work/finances/social life?”

Essentially, everyone is in the same boat, and once your daughter realises she is not alone in her fears, they will rapidly diminish. Reassure her that you will still be there for support, if wanted, and that emails, texts and phone calls will keep her in touch with friends and family.

Talking to students already settled at university, together with some online research would also help. Listed below are resources.

http://www.thesite.org/workandstudy/studying/studentlife/studentstress

http://www.mind.org.uk/help/diagnoses_and_conditions/stress_of_student_life

http://www.studentdepression.org/stress_anxiety_and_anger.php

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/Pages/Coping-with-exam-stress.aspx

© Christine Miller M.A. Author, Mentor Coach & Counsellor

How to have better relationships with your teenagers

friends

 

http://oceanadesigns.net/contact.php Resourceful Little Treasures

© Christine Miller

In recent years there has been an upsurge of interest and concern in relation to children’s emotional and mental health. Media stories about bullying in schools, excluded children, disaffected youths creating mayhem in their communities, concerns about child pornography and the safety of the internet – all have been presented in the nation’s living rooms, and whether we judge the publicity good or bad, it is now important to recognise that the well being of our children is of widespread interest and concern. Some years ago, a government report, “Promoting Children’s Mental Health within Early Years and School Settings” (DfES[i]: 2001) stated that “the mental health of children is everyone’s business”, and that adult society as a whole needed to recognise the importance of children’s mental health and emotional literacy.

Self-esteem

Sense of identity

Strong family relationships

Good communications with teachers and peer groups

The above are widely acknowledged as key elements in children who are resilient, and the risk factors for mental ill-health increase with every element missing from the list of desirable conditions.

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More to think about…

…following on from yesterday’s post ‘Something to Think About’, which led to a comment from a Jackie Evancho fanpage – Wow! this girl is an amazing talent – and such a beautiful surprise – as she says elsewhere, great things come in small packages. Her passion for singing radiates, and her obvious delight in performing and having the oppportunity to enjoy what she loves really shines through.

It may be old hat for some people, but it’s the first time I have encountered her, and I just love what I see and hear, and the feeling she inspires.

How many would notice her, and stop in the Metro station to listen to her, I wonder? (Her actual performance starts at around 2.0)

Something To Think About . .

Joshua Bell

A colleague sent me this today, which made me think about what we miss by rushing through life without pausing, noticing and appreciating things that in other circumstances and environments we would love and value.

THE SITUATION

In Washington , DC , at a Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007, this man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, approximately 2,000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After about 3 minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then he hurried on to meet his schedule.


About 4 minutes later:


The violinist received his first dollar. A woman threw money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.


At 6 minutes:


A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.


At 10 minutes:

A 3-year old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head the whole time. This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent – without exception – forced their children to move on quickly.


At 45 minutes:


The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.

After 1 hour:

He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed and no one applauded. There was no recognition at all.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars.
Two days before, Joshua Bell sold-out a theatre in Boston where the seats averaged $100 each to sit and listen to him play the same music.

Joshua Bell

Joshua Bell


This is a true story. Joshua Bell, playing incognito in the D.C. Metro Station, was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people’s priorities.


This experiment raised several questions:

*In a common-place environment, at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?

*If so, do we stop to appreciate it?

*Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?


One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this:

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made . . .How many other things are we missing as we rush through life?

Brought me back to thinking about something I wrote last year – see here: Do You Value What’s Right Under Your Nose?

Five Tips for Living in Peace with Your Teens

teenage expression

How to be a calm, sane parent and
help your teenagers grow resilient

teenage expression

teenage expression


  1. Listen - very carefully. Difficult and scary as it may be, try to give your teens a place where they can express their thoughts and needs. Their world is different; be eager to understand and be curious about it and don’t condemn, judge or assume. If you want to make a comment, use their own words back to them – e.g. ‘So let me check I’m understanding you, what you’re saying is….’ (that’s why it’s listen very carefully…) They won’t argue with their own stuff…well, not too often anyway.
  2. Set firm but realistic boundaries – it’s better for everyone. It shows you care. Rules can be good news – it gives your teens a very valuable let-out when peer pressure is being applied. If they can assert with total confidence that something’s not allowed, it bolsters their strength to resist temptations to reckless behaviour.
  3. Give them space, respect, responsibility, and the benefit of the doubt. Then shut up. Really. Knowing when to bite your tongue is a key part of this. Once you’ve negotiated what’s acceptable, don’t be peering over their shoulders or prying. Trust their judgement. It’s like paying out a rope or casting a fishing line – do it bit by bit, and you can always renegotiate and reel in a little if your teen seems to demonstrate there’s too much slack.
  4. Accept there may be mistakes. Nobody’s perfect. If your mum (or dad) had known all you got up to as a teenager…would she/he have approved? Hmmm, thought not….So don’t blame, don’t make comparisons with friends or siblings, be supportive, let your teen know their unique value and that you do and always will love them. Even if it’s tough love – and especially if their behaviour is currently causing you concern or creating waves in the family. Make it a learning experience for both of you – try to see the gift in whatever’s happened, painful as it may seem in the moment.
  5. Know your place. Teens can tend to think they’ve discovered everything for the first time ever – and that as an adult and their parent you really know – nothing. Get over it. Give it a few years. Keep a wry smile handy in your repertoire. Remember the old quote from one of the ancient Greek Philosophers -

“When I was 18 my father was completely ignorant, but by the time I was 25,
it was amazing how much he’d learnt.”
Too True!


BONUS TIP 6:

Laugh. Find some common ground in humour, satire, irony – maybe through a TV programme or film. It may make you throw your hands up in horror, but ‘The Simpsons’ has some prize moments of sheer comic dis-functionality in which most of us can see a little something of ourselves, if we’re really honest. After all it’s been around for 20 years and now has its own stamp collection…..

happy, confident teens

happy, confident teens

But dads (and mums) be warned – telling bad ‘dad jokes‘ (and it seems that all dad jokes are bad jokes, even if they’re good…..) creates embarrassed looks, groans of ‘Ohhh Daaad’, rolling eyes and shrugged shoulders – you have to decide if you want to experience that. On the other hand, if you don’t do generic ‘dad jokes’, maybe your teen will miss out on being able to share horror stories with their mates…..And sharing the experience is part of growing up.

As parents, that’s what we’re there for – silent witness, loud supporter, soft shoulder or sharp wit – you’ll need all of that and more along the way. Is it worth it?  Completely - it’s one of life’s richest treasures.

For more resources and articles on personal growth and development, leadership,  education, creativity and change visit www.resourcemagazine.co.uk

Teens, Troubles & Treasures

Little Treasures?

A friend, Wealth Coach Nicola Cairncross, posted on Twitter yesterday that she wanted to talk to someone about the experience of living with and bringing up young teens, which prompted me to revisit this short article I wrote almost five years ago.  It seems to be a time when this aspect of my work with children and young people  is in the spotlight, I was interviewed as an expert for a book on coaching the other week – is somebody trying to tell me something?

Resourceful Little Treasures

Little Treasures?

Little Treasures?

In my role as a coach, mentor and counsellor I work mainly with young people, many of whom come to me labelled with behavioural, learning and/or emotional difficulties. That means I’m quite accustomed to witnessing sulky, aggressive and unhappy children, and it can take a fair amount of time, compassion and humour to unwind and relax and begin to make progress together.

So when my own 16 year old son informed me with some passion the other week that I “have no idea how hard it is to be a child growing up these days” it took me by surprise and prompted me to reflect carefully on my family, my work and my self.

Looking Inside

Looking Inside

He’s usually thought of as the wise one in his group, he appears to cope with whatever life presents to him, and he does fine at school. Yet even he is saying that coping is hard.

And it’s in such moments that we can, as parents, gain great insights into just what the challenges of adolescence are these days that might make it harder than it was for us. However, it’s tricky, because any questioning or request for explanation can lead to stonewalling silence – and so how can we mine for those precious nuggets that help us respond appropriately to our little treasures and not dam up the flow before it’s even started? (Apologies for the mixed metaphor…)

Because if it’s hard work being a child these days, it’s probably even harder being a parent who cares, who wants to be supportive yet finds that they are sidelined and that attempts at dialogue are blocked.


You’d think with my experience and skills with other people’s little treasures, it would be a breeze, but dealing with your own kids isn’t the same as being the outside help. After all, you can’t send them home after an hour or so – they are at home. You don’t have the benefit of an outside perspective. Well, that was what I thought until I began to reflect on the limitations I was imposing by holding those beliefs.

I wondered: if I could change my beliefs about it being hard to work with my son, could he shift his beliefs that it’s hard to be an adolescent growing up today?

And this is what happened.

I worked out a way of inviting my son to use a simple strategy of stepping back and stepping out.

I explained to him that I had been experiencing a paradox of finding it hard to be a parent. Feeling uncomfortable offering to help him because he’s my son, and even more uncomfortable not helping him – also because he’s my son, and especially as I have such a wide range of skills that could benefit him. So I went back in time to occasions when it would have seemed impossible and neglectful not to pass on skills and knowledge to him.

Like, what if I’d never talked to him so he could learn from me?
Or taught him to feed and dress himself?
Or helped him to read?
Or helped him to learn to ride his bike?

How weird would that have been?

And in the future, when he learns to drive (Oh, Yes! This Year! as he gleefully reminded me) he’ll accept that know-how from his dad and me.

We ended up laughing at the craziest imaginary scenarios of me being reluctant to be a parent to him, because I knew more than he did.

This opened up a really useful dialogue for us about eking out degrees of responsibility as children approach adulthood, but still being there. And on we went to his scenarios…

He stepped back and found times when it had been enormous fun to be growing up and developing, learning and exploring his expanding world, and rediscovered a sense of joy. He noticed that there was usually someone else involved with passing on skills and knowledge, but that when he was competent he went off and did his own thing. He discovered that he had lots of resources from the past which he could bring forward into the present, and would transfer to the future.

And he recognised that accepting help and support were a way of getting stronger and growing more resourceful – real, lasting treasures to carry forward to a life where it may just be a little easier to be growing up, in that limbo where you’re neither child nor adult. And as for me, I’ve found a more comfortable and fulfilling place in his world where I can support him by balancing the roles of adult and parent – still keeping mum, but now able to speak up as well!!

© Christine Miller 2004

For more articles and features on personal growth and development, check out www.resourcemagazine.co.uk, the magazine dedicated to human potential.