Words: Megan Rich

The simple truth is, no one knows what the future holds. What we can plan for is building personal resilience to manage stress, a trait that goes hand-in-hand with a constantly-changing world.

Simply put, resilience is grit; it’s our ability to cope with adversity. Some attributes that contribute to a person’s resilience are being flexible and able to adapt and make new plans, being able to communicate and connect with others, being able to take care of yourself and others, both emotionally and physically, and being able to find purpose. A good dose of humour helps too.

For our young people, a logical place to start reducing stress is to reduce additional pressure. They’re already feeling out-of-sorts. Their classroom has changed from a clearly-defined schoolroom to the grey spaces of our homes, where rest and work overlap; they miss their friends, sport and after-school activities and they see and feel the pressure their families are under. 

The Department of Education, along with schools, is working behind the scenes to come up with a contingency plan that will assist our young people to both complete and understand their schoolwork. Yes, you can help them by suggesting extra online learning activities but it doesn’t all fall on you — you don’t need to press them to work through their schoolwork as fast as possible.

We are at the beginning stages of a new era of learning and as time goes by, we will all master, together, how best to support our teenage children. Lean into support groups and between the uncertainty, try to enjoy family time. As an organisation who is active in the education space, we will also communicate any messages from Government and incorporate them into our programmes to support blended learning.

To understand how to best support parents during this challenging time, we have put together an online survey. Through your answers, we are hoping to better understand your struggles and concerns and then offer help and solutions.

To further support young people navigate through this changing world, our online Life Orientation sessions, led by a team of specialists, are engaging, thought-provoking and help build resilience. They also encourage participation and are a social space for young people to connect.