Navigating the journey of guiding a young individual through their educational years is no small feat, especially as they stand on the cusp of adulthood. This brings us to the pivotal juncture known as year 12 – a phase fraught with uncertainty. Amidst identity exploration, cognitive growth, external influences, and a myriad of other variables, both the young person and those who support them find themselves entwined in a bewildering experience. A review article completed in 2019 highlighted the possible impacts of academic stress in end of schooling students, suggesting negative impacts in sleep, mental health, academic outcomes, and substance use outcomes (Pascoe et al., 2019).
In the forthcoming blog, our aim is clear: equipping you with valuable resources to effectively bolster the young people in your life, all the while ensuring your own well-being. Irrespective of the path they’re inclined to pursue—be it the academic route of ATAR, hands-on apprenticeships, early entry into the workforce, or even the intriguing realm of influencers—remember, it’s the strength of their support system that shapes their present and potentially forms their future.
With the increased pressure, uncertainty, and stress of this period; the following recommendations can be crucial in supporting the young people in our life:
- Open Communication: Maintaining an open and non-judgmental space. Let them know you want to listen and support them, both academically and emotionally. Ask them about their feelings, goals, and current concerns.
- Foster a Positive Environment: Create a supportive and positive atmosphere at home. Encourage healthy lifestyle routines through balanced meals, regular exercise, and sufficient sleep. This contributes to improved focus, memory, and overall well-being.
- Manage Expectations: Help your young person set realistic goals. Acknowledge their strengths and areas of improvement, showing that their worth is not purely determined by academic performance. Encourage them to do their best while accepting setbacks are a part of life and can also be opportunities.
- Time Management: Support your young person to develop effective time management skills. Help them create a schedule that balances any academic responsibilities (or other goal related responsibilities) with social and relaxation activities. Problem solve with them to break down large tasks to more manageable pieces to reduce the chance they become overwhelmed.
- Stress Management: Teach your young person stress-reduction methods such as deep-breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, or mindfulness exercises. Practice and utilise these methods yourself. If your person sees you practicing stress-reduction methods and the results, they may be more prepared to try them!
- Encourage Self-Care: Encourage your young person to pursue their interests outside of academia/work, such as activities relating to their hobbies, spending time with friends to serve as a healthy outlet of stress.
- Seek Professional Help: If you are concerned about your young person struggling significantly with anxiety, depression, or other mental health concerns, consider visiting your local GP for recommendations for a therapist or counsellor. Our psychologists can provide specialist and individualised support for a variety of mental health concerns.
- Celebrate Achievements: Take the time to acknowledge and openly celebrate your young person’s achievements, no matter what it is. Openly recognising these efforts can improve their self-esteem and provide motivation to continue to do their best.
- Support Decision Making: Help your young person to explore their possibilities after school, without imposing your own preferences. Keep an open mind while exploring their strengths, interests, and potential career paths.
- Perspective Taking: Provide your young person the perspective that the final year of schooling is but one chapter in their life. Assure them that challenges and successes are part of personal growth and build resilience, and this growth will follow them throughout their whole life.
Every young person is unique, so modify the supports you provide based on their individual needs and personality. The key notes I would like people to think on is to prioritise maintaining a safe, nurturing environment, while encouraging independence and coping skills for the young people in our lives.
Interested in further individual support?
We invite you to contact us on 07 4637 9097 or firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss our professional services and how we can assist you and/or the young people in your life to achieve your/their goals.
When contacting us to book your appointment to support your young person, we recommend you request a 50min appointment with Psychologist Christopher Wright. Service provided and costs associated with these appointments are listed in the ‘Fees’ section of our website. You may also wish to discuss your concerns with your GP and ask about your referral options and eligibility for Medicare’s Better Access Initiative, which provides partially funded Psychology appointments through Medicare. A valid GP Mental Health Care Plan referral is required for this.