Helping students with resilience #pastoralcare

I am writing this with slight trepidation. Resilience is such a challenging topic.  And when you are in the middle of a hard situation, being told that you need to be more resilient, is not helpful.

But then if teachers or parents take away all of the tough problems and students don’t know how to deal with bad days are we helping children or teenagers. Are we as a school making this worse? For example, bullying. I hope that as a school we are pretty good at dealing with bullying.  It happens, ( as it does in every school, work place and social group) but I hope that we work through the issue.  But because of this, sometimes students haven’t built the personal skills to deal with tough relationships. They cannot cope with the fact that not everyone will like them, and will waste valuable energy and emotions on pleasing everyone, when experience teaches you that you can never please everyone.  And to be honest, why do we want to?

Experience also teaches us perspective and this is perhaps what I find the hardest to help with. For one person if their post on Instagram doesn’t get a response from certain people, then its a big deal.  Or if they get funny looks, then this is just as bad as getting your head flushed down the toilet every week. And I can relate to this. We have all been in situations when problems consumes our thoughts, but then the next week, we calmer and can deal with it. Yet other students don’t even seem to notice looks or body language and have a blaza attitude of “whatever, its her problem and as long as she isn’t rude, then she can carry on”.  How can we teach this inner strength? This confidence? Do students need to go through rough patches?

I am not sure I have the answer but Dick Moore had a great analogy, he called it lawnmower parenting. He explained that we as parents and teachers want to help our children so we mow the grass to help them.  Sometimes an obstacle falls into the pathway.  So the child turns round and go backs to the start and we as adults mow back in to move the obstacle and so it continues until the student gets to their goal.  A job or Uni and moves out, we as parents and teachers have succeeded.  But what happens when we are not around to help?

So were do we go from here? do we ignore students in their hour of need or even give them tough love? Perhaps as my picture suggests, we walk with them for some of the way.  Would love to know your thoughts.


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Assistant Head ( DSL) at a boarding school. Interested in all PSHE and safeguarding topics.

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