“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so” - William Shakespeare
At some point in our lives most of us, for one reason or another, will suffer from anxiety, which affects our ability to function as we usually would. For some young people, anxiety-based problems can be long term, debilitating and leaving them in need of outside intervention. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (2012) estimates that as many as one in 33 children and one in eight adolescents are suffering from depression at any one time. Young people often find it helpful to talk through problems with a friend or family member, but sometimes talking to a trained professional may be a more appropriate course of action.
More than ever, our Primary and Secondary school children are feeling the pressures of everyday life spilling over into the classroom. This could be peer pressure from friends about having the latest phone or the coolest clothes, or the pressure children are putting on themselves by setting such high standards, or maybe conflict amongst friends which is creating ill-feeling at school.
Resiliency is the ability to bounce back and to overcome difficult and challenging life circumstances, and develop hopefulness. Young people and children face continuing pressure to succeed in all aspects of life. Imagine that pressure if you have huge emotional hurdles to overcome as well. It has become more widely recognised that, for some, they are at risk of negative outcomes. As educators not only do we have a responsibility to enhance and foster academic achievement, we also have a duty to support a child’s emotional development and well-being. This includes helping to strengthen resilience to all manner of hazards in their environment.
“School is a scary place when you hate yourself. I spend each day so fearful and anxious that there isn’t the faintest possibility of me concentrating in class…. so I do worse… which makes me hate myself more and fear my lessons more.” Naomi, 13
“I stopped going to swimming club because I hate how everyone looks at my fat arms and short legs. I would always feel sick before club, so now I don’t go.” Sean, 10