Recent research suggests that up to 40% of HSC students experience clinical levels of stress during their senior years of high school. The report suggests that the main sources of stress are the pressure students put on themselves to achieve and the perceived pressure they receive from parents and school to obtain a successful HSC result.

Anxiety-Stress.jpg#asset:106:transformerFor a lot of teens moving into year 11 and 12 can be a daunting experience. The adults around them start to talk about the increase in workload, the need for more independent study, and expectations about behaviour and responsibility. Family and friends start asking about who and what they want to be when they leave school, and all of this can become overwhelming for your Teen as they adjust to the change in expectations.  Below are some tips to help you support your Teen through the last two years of high school:

Talk to your teen
  • Ask your Teen how they are feeling about school. Find out what they are hoping to get out of school (e.g. ATAR, Apprenticeship, Traineeship) and ask what you can to help them achieve their goal.
  • Give your Teen space to explore their own views and be mindful not to project your own expectations (e.g. University vs Traineeship).
  • Make sure you schedule a time to talk about things that aren't school related. Too much talk about school may make your Teen feel like they are being nagged.
Support your Teen to stay organised
  • Help your Teen develop a realistic study schedule that will allow them to stay on top of assignments and revision. Schedule in all other regular activities too, e.g. sport and work too.
  • Support your Teen to develop good study habits such as:
    1. Break large tasks into smaller less daunting sections
    2. Plan tasks/write a to-do list for each study session
    3. Have planned breaks during study sessions
    4. Remove temptation and have minimal access to phone and internet during study sessions
  • Display the study schedule so that other family members know when to minimise distractions

See https://www.artofsmart.com.au/... for tips on how to make a study guide specific to your Teens goals with advice from recent HSC students.

Schedule downtime
  • Make sure your Teen also schedules in downtime where they can switch of from school relax and enjoy themselves (e.g., sport, time with friends, time on their own).
  • Support your Teen to plan at least one self-care activity a day and if possible have a study free day each week.
Help them to put school and the HSC in perspective
  • Encourage your Teen to try their best but remind them that the HSC is not the only way they can achieve their goals.
Maintain general health and well being
  • Support your teen to stay mindful of their mental and physical health by encouraging them to eat and sleep well, engage in regular exercise, and maintain social connections.
  • Stay tuned in to your Teen and notice if they are becoming overwhelmed (anxious, snappy, teary) or withdrawn (spending more time alone, opting out of events they typically enjoy).
    1. Try and talk with your Teen about what you are noticing and offer support. Follow your Teens lead and try not to force the conversation.
    2. Offer to seek formal support if you are concerned about your Teen and they are reluctant to speak with you (e.g., Lifeline, Psychologist, Year Advisor)
    3. Reduce the demands on your Teen for a brief period (e.g. reduce the expected chores)
    4. Notice when your Teen is doing well, and let them know

For further advice, see this fabulous resource from Beyond Blue for more tips on supporting your Teen's mental health during year 12.

Kathleen DoolanKathleen-Doolan-Oct-17.png#asset:319
Registered Psychologist, Beam

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