During the holidays, I have been thinking about the issue of stress.
Not that stress is unique only to Year 12 students, but Year 12 is full of ups and downs which can be a major source of stress for most students. This reveals itself in a lot of different ways. Small issues can become large ones, as emotions can often be exaggerated during these times. Students can find that interrupted sleep becomes a pattern and they feel tired most of the time, or they procrastinate rather than facing the pressure of multiple deadlines, or they find ways of escaping from the pressure. As stress runs down the immune systems, headaches can become more common, and students can catch whatever illnesses are going around. If there isn’t hope or a plan injected into the situation, depression can result.
If it results in action, or a plan to move ahead, stress can be dealt with much more positively. Teenagers need to be listened to at these times, and given the time to talk through their concerns, without being judged. Many Year 12s try to cope by working harder (because this has worked for them before, but this is more difficult in Year 12 due to the volume of work that there is to do). But what happens if working harder does not achieve the improvement that students desire? In researching what we can do, I came across the following article from Beyond Blue, Surviving Year 12, that was addressed to parents, which includes some practical suggestions and advice.
It talks about finding a balance between school and other activities such as sport or music as well as time with family and friends; the benefits of developing a study routine and having a study-friendly home environment; of making time to study; and that exam results aren’t the only thing that determines your future. The article also talks about how to deal with results that weren’t quite what your student hoped for, and do’s and offers lots of don’ts on how parents can help – to which I would pray WITH them and FOR them every day.