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Is mobile phone contact at school with your daughter helpful?

Building resilience in your daughter

“Resilience is about being realistic, thinking rationally, looking on the bright side, finding the positives, expecting things to go well and moving forward, even when things seem bad.”

This quote by author and child psychologist Dr Justin Coulson is an excellent guiding principle in helping our children grow and reach independence.

Dr Coulson points out that we give our children the best shot at developing in typical ways when we provide them with:

• Strong connections to adults who are both competent and caring. Relationships are the centre piece of resilience – for better or for worse.

• Opportunities to develop autonomy, and to be responsible for their own decisions.

“To build resilience, we need to trust that our children can do things on their own. Then we must give them the space to try. By all means, stand close and support. But don’t ‘do’. Don’t control. And when they fail, don’t fix. Instead, console and then ask, ‘What do you think you should do now?’

Learning to manage emotional reactions and negotiate the world of peers and teachers is one of the core skills your daughter is developing at school.

How Danebank helps our students
Through Pastoral Care we help our girls build resilience in a number of different ways. Part of this process is helping them work through the problem or issue in the first instance. This process involves:

1. Identify the problem.

2. Decide on a course of action by asking:
- What are possible solutions to the problem?
- Who could help me come up with ideas of what to do?

3. Considering the consequences of each course of action or solution.

At Danebank the “WHO could help me” are our Year Coordinators and Assistants, teachers, School Counsellors, School Chaplain, Office Staff and the Deputy Principals, Pastoral Care and Administration.

They will understand and deal with the issue in the first instance and, when needed, get additional information. Members of staff are able to help your daughter keep things in perspective by focussing on the facts and reality of the situation through asking questions and helping her see all sides of the issue.

To answer the initial question, it is not usually helpful when students phone parents about a challenge they’ve encountered while they’re at school. At that stage your daughter would be generally feeling emotional and, instead of talking it through with those at school who can best help her gain perspective and move forward, she passes her emotional response on you.

Parents naturally feel protective and are concerned at their daughter’s distress. Their instinctive, perfectly natural response is to think: “What can I do to help?” and “Why is nothing being done about this?” However, it is likely that your daughter has not approached anyone at school who can help her, or has already begun to resolve it herself.

Empowering your daughter
While you will be frustrated and want to immediately help, it is vital that you redirect your daughter to the people at school, helping her grow in resilience.

We have all had an emotional reaction to events and teenagers are more prone to this than other individuals. Learning to manage these reactions and negotiate the world of peers and teachers is one of the core skills she is developing at school.

As hard as it may be to let her follow the processes we offer here at school, it is critical to let her have the space to resolve issues herself – and feel empowered in doing so.

As you know, by the time she returns home that evening it may well be that she has reflected on what seemed a major friendship issue or a mark she wasn’t expecting, and has found the resources within herself to put the event in perspective. If she has not resolved the issue by that stage, it is the prefect time to talk it through with her, away from the emotive situation that has sparked it.

At home
At home the “WHO could help me” is you, her older and wiser brothers and sisters, your extended family and your close adult friends. We encourage our students to speak to their parents about the issues they are having at school.

When your child does this, please support her by asking how she has worked through the problem herself, what solutions she has come to and what the consequences of each solution or action are. You might like to ask her questions to help guide her thinking about the issue. This will build her confidence when she is next faced with an issue.

If you are still concerned, please contact your daughter’s Year Coordinator and discuss the issues with her.
Ms Lisa Romberg, Deputy Principal
- Pastoral Care

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