Preparation for student life!

uni-sign

Where am I going?

Am I studying the right subject?

What are the halls like?

Who will my friends be?

Will I miss home?

Am I ready?

So many questions when preparing for Uni and equally as many for the parents!!

Having supported 3 young people on their journey to University last year I am aware of some of the feelings both before they head off and as they settle in.

There are a lot of expectations about how students behave and what a party lifestyle it will be. Students may feel overwhelmed, anxious and alone when the reality to what they have heard is often quite different in the short term and takes time to establish.

As parents the ‘fun’ times you remember are often the celebrations along the way, when friends have been made and towards the end of study. The feelings of bewilderment at negotiating a new way of life, in a new town or city, may be long forgotten.

Being a student is often a period of making great friendships and learning a lot about yourself. How to live in shared accommodation, to manage your time, perform academically in a new environment, access sports and societies and socially negotiate the drink, drugs and partying culture. There is good and bad but this doesn’t happen instantly.

Taking time to listen to your young person’s worries and concerns can help them negotiate this new phase of life. Being kind in your listening skills and available to them emotionally can be of great benefit.

So many young people head of to Uni nowadays and due to changes in how they have been parented, the materialistic focus in society, social media and the pressures on how you look, to name just a few, means there are added pressures on young people. Not all parent ‘helicopter’ their children but there is generally a much more responsive relationship with them, which amongst other factors such as high expectations and excess choices, may not foster young people to be as resilient as they were once expected to be.

This contradicts my previous paragraph in that it looks like parents create and need to continue to be supportive of their young people, but they do. Research has shown that the final period of growing into an independent adult extends as far as 25 years old. Long gone is the idea that you get to 18 years old and you are out there and independent – society does not make this easily possible for all kinds of reasons. Lack of affordable housing and lack of varied work opportunities for young people, to name a few.

In my work as a Hypnotherapist I have supported many students with anxiety over recent years and much of this has been around mixed expectations. Taking a step back from all the choices and beginning to understand it is a big transition but they will be okay, is the first step. They do have the skills to cope well, if they can just re engage with their resources. Hypnotherapy can help them to do just this.

Universities have been developing services to support students health and well being. Each campus should have access to someone to talk to as the initial place to seek support. This can make all the difference and is available on the website of relevant organisations.

Being connected with feelings and open with someone you can trust, such as a well being professional or your friends and family, is important to prevent escalation of low mood. Encouraging the young person to speak to their Gp is also important, if you are worried about mood issues, as this is the access to mental health services.

Often waiting lists for further support are long and this is where my work in my practice as a Hypnotherapist and with Anxiety Uk has been invaluable. Students have contacted me directly for a few sessions, with good affect, during this transition phase. For longer term anxiety and a small fee students can access support through this charity with resources online to read and download. There are several therapy options to access like Hypnotherapy at a reduced cost.

For students, and parents, it is feeling like there are some options to support young people as they head off on their new journey.

 

 

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Empty Hands…

We enter this world with empty tiny hands, learn to grab a friendly finger, a proffered slice of apple, a toy or a mother’s warm hand. Soon we discover the pages of a book, the weight of a pebble or a pen in hand; and we find our hands are always open, ready to seize […]

via Empty Hands — writing in north norfolk

One of the hardest jobs!

All of us moms know the truth… Life isn’t easy. Parenting is the hardest job I’ve ever done. Being a mom is so rewarding and wonderful, but it is also physically and emotionally exhausting. I love my children (who are now ages nine and seven). They also frustrate and infuriate me at times, but I […]

via Create a Parenting Routine and Be Willing to Break that Sh*t — Wonder Mommy

Being a ‘good enough’ parent…

A parent needs to be ‘good enough’at offering the love, care and attention to meet the needs of their child. Understanding their stage of development is important. Having fun, giving opportunities and embracing other family members and friends, to help raise a child, creates great pleasure and feels less like hard work.

I love this blog, except for the reference to the Almighty which is personal choice.

~ ~ ~ There is no such a thing as perfect parenthood Who is the paragon of father or mother Claim to have a one size fits all formula Children are unique and special Have different talents but same potential Minds like sponges, soak in as much as available A secure environment and loving care […]

via Parenting — The Shower of Blessings

Exam stress!!

 

exam-revision

Its that time of year again!!

Teenagers all over the country are beginning to feel the pressure…

poor motivation?

dis-organisation?

apathy?

erratic moods?

impending sense of panic?

anxiety?

As parents of a possibly uncommunicative, yet stressed teenager, where the young person may have great difficulty expressing their concerns, can be a challenging time for the whole family.

Knowing where to go to seek support can be tricky!

If the teenager is demonstrating anxiety and depression symptoms, where they appear to be not coping with erratic emotions, have significant changes in eating and sleeping habits or are expressing feelings of low mood, particularly suicidal thoughts, then a Gp consultation is necessary.

For many teenagers it can be much more subtle than this and who may improve the situation can be less obvious.

The schools and colleges are getting better at offering sessions on tips and strategies which enhance the students planning for revision, so they feel better prepared and more able to cope with the pressures.

Encourage the teenager to access support at school with lunch time and after school sessions and talk to their teacher about difficulties they are having.

With the multiple demands on teenagers this preparation is getting harder to focus on.

It relies on the teenager not being too hormonal, influenced by their peers (which has long been the case), but magnified by the massive influence from social media.

This constant distraction of messages, apps and the internet is pervasive and often difficult to manage alongside their rapidly developing brains. As many study skills need to be accessed on line it is increasingly difficult to avoid the pull of the internet.

Personal discipline is crucial and the challenges many:-

  • addiction to social networking and the phone constantly in the hand
  • a fear of failure making even starting to think about study difficult
  • performance anxiety making focusing a challenge
  • a lack of engagement with their studies
  • no clear sense of direction

Accessing resources to improve the teenagers ability to remain calm, focus and commit to performing in the way that does them justice is hugely beneficial.

A session or 2 with a Hypnotherapist who can offer NLP techniques to promote these skills, either with or without hypnosis, can help the teenager to set the intention and take the steps towards achieving their goals.

Contact me if you want to explore this conversation further.

Sometimes recognising what is happening for the student is the first step.

 

Coming of age

My oldest child has become a young adult!!

Does it make me feel old?  A little…

Am I sad about it…

not really!?

feb-17-176

The last few years whilst she has been preparing for being more independant, have been a bit of a balancing act. I have still wanted to guide her as a parent, and will continue to do so,  but in a lesser role no doubt. There has been lots of challenge and disagreement!

As a parent of a teenager the conflict has been between me trying ‘not to know best’ and being available for discssions around tricky issues.

As teenagers they need to be able to explore who they are, look to their peers, try things out, challenge themselves, learn lots, make mistakes and run to the parent/s when things go wrong!

Their communication is all over the place from disengagement to outright rudenesss, with good moments in between.

It is a challenge to be steadily reasonable yourself when they are rejecting everything you open your mouth to say and can seem like a huge attack on you as a person.  You are “old” and “out of touch” and “don’t know anything” and are laughable – some of this is somewhat true, but can be very difficult to hear out of the mouth of babes. From the one you cradled, protected and nutured over the past 15 years or so and seems not that long ago. I know I’m getting sentimental now…

Parents need to keep adult enough, ensure they have their own interests and support systems to be strong and supportive during this phase. Having your own peers to share issues, laugh and keep perspective with is important.You are also a role model for your young person and how you deal with the stresses and strains of life is teaching those observing what the choices for lifestyle are. If you are struggling with any of these, seek help and support for yourself!

If you can keep communication channels open enough, you are doing well. You should be their sounding base at times and it is essential you set boundaries but are available for discussion if necessary, to unpick what is reasonable.

It may not feel like they trust anything you say much of the time but moments of difficulty will highlight this to you. Teens face huge pressures to look good, perform well academically and be social. Issues with low mood and anxiety have never been higher for our young people. Social media is the way of communicating so being involved and informing yourself, with your teens where possible, so what they are accessing is understood is essential. Friendships are of course a huge feature of this period and should be encouraged ideally with some interaction from parents so you are aware of their activities. Educate yourself on the dangers and the impact of social media and other teen issues on health and wellbeing. Awareness aids communication skills and being able to discuss more difficult subjects.

Schools and colleges are striving to keep pace with current issues as they arise and communicating with them and other relevant organisations, working together to support your teenager, can be reassuring in an ever changing environment. Keeping your teen engaged with learning and other activities available to them will promote their sense of belonging and reduce anti social activities. So having an open mind and being aware of opportunities to develop and support them is key.

So many issues to consider and I’m sure I’ve forgotten some…

I’m sure on embracing adulthood my daughter will continue to have problematic moments which at times I will find wearing. However…

Now I do feel more able to say – you’re a young adult, what do you think?

This has pushed some of the responsibility for more difficult decisions back to her and enabled a two way conversation with more balance.

It is a huge relief!!

Why Losing Control Can Make You Happier – Mindful

imageWork on lessening your need to seek control over others via Why Losing Control Can Make You Happier – Mindful

This explains a lot of the power balance when trying to manage teenagers!

As a parent I continue to work on stepping back a little…

Set boundaries, but keep communication open and encourage negociation and discussion. LOL!

Baby days

imageThose early days with a new baby are bliss and torture rolled into one.

You are ecstatic that baby has arrived, hopefully without too much drama and snuggling with baby is soothing and comforting.

However…it is demanding and takes some adjustment!

There are small steps that you can take each day, to keep you focused on this unique stage of life and encourage you to engage with the wonder, as well as knowing there is a bigger picture.

Sleep. The physical demands on your body include recovering from pregancy and the birth. This requires rest and good quality sleep. A change in sleep pattern usually occurs in these early weeks, just when you need it most! Sleeping when you can is a necessity. Sleep in, ideally your partner may bring you an early morning drink or the baby if they need feeding and you can snuggle. Rest and snooze when you can.

Help.Take up all offers of help, not just to hold the baby but any everyday tasks. Offers of  drinks, cooked meals or to hang up your ongoing supply of washing are all good. Don’t let guests sit and you run around offering drinks, let them do anything they can offer, while you conserve energy. You’ll need it later on.

Baby and you. Time for you and baby to get to know each other, with partner when available, takes time and focus. Observe their behaviours and learn what it means. The more you understand about how your baby communicates the more amazed and attached you will feel, so try http//getting to know your baby.  This knowledge builds your relationship with baby and can only be a bonus.

Support. You may have lots of visitors but don’t let them overwhelm you. A couple of close family members to support you as a new family can be very beneficial in the early weeks. Your partner can help manage and encourage people to give you space, as needed, to adapt to this new lifestyle and rest. Often after this initial period mum and baby are alone for long periods so other family members and friendships become more important and can help support weekly activities.

Habits.Finding some kind of pattern to your new days and nights can be a challenge due to an overall lack of quality sleep and the intensity of a small persons demands.Getting out and about each day can give a focus to each day and improve your mood and sense of well-being.

Anxiety and depression can become an issue in the early weeks, months and even at some point in the first year. This is a normal reaction as you adapt to this new lifestyle. Try not to ignore it as the sooner you seek help the sooner feelings can start to be addressed and improve. Share these feeling with friends, family and if not improving seek support from your Health visitor or Gp.

Some people struggle more with this adaption, partly due to the current situation they are in, isolation, previous concerns,  or relationship challenges. With time to over think and ruminate, despite the physical challenges of caring for a baby, the feelings can become overwhelming. Initially cut yourself some slack whilst you get used to this new way of life. If time is going on and you are struggling with your thoughts and feelings, then seek help.

Hypnotherapy can give you skills to manage these feelings whilst you adapt to parenthood.

Sessions which help a more positive focus inwards, give some much needed “me” time,  and a space to be able to acknowledge feelings which are normal.  An exploration of where you are and what needs to change can be a huge boost. Hypnotherapy enables you to access resources via your subconscious mind,  which gives you tools you can use in everyday life.  This gives a sense of control over negative feelings and improves mood. Many clients benefit from a sense of relaxation during sessions and this also boosts well-being.