Teen angst: there are resources available to parents

May 25th, 2017
Teen angst: there are resources available to parents
Every generation faces its challenges but social media, cyber-bullying and smartphone addiction are some the parents of today’s teenagers probably never had to navigate.

Cornerstone College has added a new resource for parents seeking to better understand what might be going on in their teenage children’s lives, partnering with the multimedia platform SchoolTV.

Free monthly editions - that are emailed to parents - cover topics like cyber safety, underage drinking and sexting, equipping parents with fact sheets, video interviews with experts, quizzes and links to other resources that they can use to support their children.

The Mount Barker school introduced the resource earlier this year, following a successful pilot program at the end of 2016.

Wellbeing Director Jamie Cameron said it’s helping to bridge the “knowledge gap” that can create misunderstandings between generations.

“Some of the challenges that young people are facing each day are the likes of cyber bullying, drug and alcohol use, self-harm, depression and anxiety,” Wellbeing Director at Cornerstone College Jamie Cameron said.

“It’s a bit of a different world for students today.

“There are a number of concerns that didn’t exist to the same extent a generation or even half a generation ago.”

In the current edition of SchoolTV, experts like psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg, ex-police woman and founder of Cyber Safety Solutions Susan McClean and CEO of the Alannah and Madeline Foundation Lesley Podesta talk parents through sexting – what it is, how to open conversations with their teenagers about it and how to manage the impacts.

“The mistakes that students will make – and that young people in general will make – are different to the mistakes that people of our generation made,” Jamie said.

“We would hope that, in partnership with their parents, we can support our students to make better decisions and give them the tools and strategies to do so.

“Helping parents understand what the main concerns are is the first point.
“From there, being able to access experts in the field will help our parents understand where the risks are coming from and also how we can deal with those risks or reduce them.”

The advantage of programs like SchoolTV, he said, is that they offer “bite-size” topics with options for further reading for parents, who can sometimes be overwhelmed at how many new terms and trends there are to be aware of.

“A big thing is understanding that their child is normal – that what they’re experiencing today, while it may not be the same experience as their parents’, is very similar across the board with their peers,” Jamie said.

“Our culture as a college is such that students feel comfortable seeking out support and care.

“Part of that relationship is supporting our parents to help them in turn feel comfortable talking with their young people and offering them the support they need at home.”

SchoolTV can also be accessed by the general public at schooltv.me

For local parents who prefer more traditional sources, resources like pamphlets, books and information sheets from a range of organisations are also available from the Mount Barker and Stirling libraries.

“We have a large section of books in the teenager area that address things like being safe, looking after your mental health, how to deal with family conflict and where to get help,” Sara Barrljung from the Mount Barker Community Library said.

“They can be useful for both teenagers and their parents.”

But she said books, while wonderful, aren’t always the answer.

“Sometimes people come in and chat with us about an issue and actually need some help from services or other resources that are out there in the Hills,” she said.

“We always try our best to find those and connect people with what’s going to help them the best.”

Visit the Mount Barker Community Library at 5 Dumas Street or Stirling’s Coventry Library at 64 Mount Barker Road to access the libraries’ range of resources.

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