At Box Hill High School we endeavor to provide an inclusive and positive learning environment for all our students. Fundamental to a student’s success is their emotional and social wellbeing.
The school provides two Student Wellbeing Coordinators and a full-time Student Counselor (partially funded under National School Chaplaincy and Student Welfare Program and managed by OnPsych School Welfare Pty Ltd) who are available to meet with students or parents to provide support or referrals to additional services, including psychologists, social workers, youth workers, and speech pathologists that are available for student appointments at the school within school hours.
Kellie Ind Neil Hamley Colin Osborn
At Box Hill High School the principles of restorative practices are incorporated into our discipline and wellbeing procedures, and we believe that all our students are important members of the school community.
Some areas that students may benefit from having additional support include:
The journey through the educational system can frequently be long and difficult for gifted students and their parents. The Victorian government Inquiry into Gifted and Talented Students found that “in addition to their academic needs, gifted students often have specific social and emotional needs that must be met in order for these students to fulfil their potential.”
“Giftedness has an emotional as well as an academic component. Research has demonstrated that gifted students display heightened intellectual complexity as well as emotional hypersensitivity. They ... experience their world in a more absorbing, vivid, intense way than their age peers … Gifted and talented students ponder the big questions, feel genuine empathy for the marginalised of the world and also feel disenfranchised because they feel so much more intensely than their peers do." Gifted students also have a strong sense of justice. They may also at times feel under incredible pressure from themselves or even their families to keep up with their peers and work at a high level.
The fact the gifted children are often so different from their peers may make them susceptible to isolation, loneliness, and even bullying. In addition, boredom, frustration and social issues at school may have negative impacts on their mental health.
Box Hill High School is committed to meeting the needs of gifted children. To this end an Assistant Principal has been placed in charge of the SEAL program. The school has also appointed a Gifted coordinator (Mr. Martin Jellinek) to help support gifted children and their families. All staff are cognisant of the issues surrounding gifted children and they are sensitive and understanding of their particular of the needs. All teaching staff have undergone training in gifted education and many staff have post graduate university qualifications in the area of gifted education.
The 4 year Box Hill High school SEAL program has been specifically designed to address the curriculum needs of gifted students and in the VCE years gifted students have a variety of options including university enhancement and acceleration. Box Hill High School runs many cross age activities and camps for its students including a large number of clubs and out of school activities to further spark the interest of gifted children. These activities provide gifted students further opportunities to pursue their passions with like-minded friends.
The school also runs a SEAL Parent Support Group that meets each term to discuss issues and provide support to families.
1. Every night for a week, write down three things that went well that day and why. These can be relatively unimportant (I had a cup of tea in the sun) or significant (My sister gave birth to a healthy baby). Teach your child to do this.
2. Work out your greatest strengths and use your highest strength each day (sit a signature strength test on the website authentichappiness.org).
3. Help your child to find something that gives them “flow” – the sense of being so engaged that time flies.
4. Give thanks, make a gratitude visit and thank someone who has helped you. Depressed people look inwards, teach your child to focus outwards.
5. Parents pass on their own explanatory style to their children. How do you respond to adversity? Do you catastrophize (imagine the worst) or ruminate (play the same negative tape over in your head). Practice arguing strongly back to that negative tape. http://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/Default.aspx
Another useful expert in the area of youth resilience is Australian psychologist Andrew Fuller who provides a wonderful guide for parents with the following: www.andrewfuller.com.au
Resilience is the fine art of being able to bungy jump through life. The pitfalls are still there but it is as if you have an elasticised rope around your middle that helps you to bounce back from hard times.
No. 1 Promote Belonging
Resilience is the happy knack of being able to bungy jump through the pitfalls of life. It is the strongest antidote we know of for self-harm, depression and drug abuse and it’s built on our sense of belonging. www.andrewfuller.com.au
No. 2 Have some mooch time
We live in a world that suffers from attention deficit disorder. We rush children from activity to activity, from lesson to lesson and from one organised event to another. Then we wonder why, when there is a lull that they say” I’m bored”. Be a counter-revolutionary. Find some time each week just to be at home without anything structured happening. www.andrewfuller.com.au
No. 3 Rediscover some family rituals
It doesn’t matter whether it is the family walk after dinner, the Sunday roast, the Friday night pizza or the Saturday morning clean up, rituals are highly protective. The best rituals often cost nothing. These are the activities you hope that later on your children will reminisce and say “ Mum always made sure we did” or "Dad always made sure we did.” www.andrewfuller.com.au
No. 4 Spontaneity and curiosity
Spontaneity and curiosity are the building blocks of good mental health. You cannot tell someone how to have better mental health and you can't give it to them by getting them to read a book. So the really hard message here is that if you want to raise your children to have mentally healthy lives you are going to have to have a good time yourself. If you want your children to succeed you need to show them that success is worth having. www.andrewfuller.com.au
No. 5 Love kids for their differences
When families’ function well people are allowed to be different and to be loved for those differences. We all know that children take on different roles. A father of three said” it’s as if they have a planning meeting once a year and say ‘ you be the good kid, I’ll be the sick kid and the other one can be the trouble-maker’! And then just when you think you’ve got it figured out they change roles again”. Having children who are strongly individual and who have a sense of who they are is a sign of good parenting. The problem may, of course, be that they will then express their independent spirit in ways that you don't like. The ideal is a mix between someone who preserves their own uniqueness and is able to work with others without becoming dictated to by them. Someone who has their own independent nature but is comfortable enough with themselves to allow inter-dependence. www.andrewfuller.com.au
No. 6 It is clear who is in charge
Families do not work well as democracies. In fact they seem to work best as benevolent dictatorships in which the parent or parents consult a lot with their children but at the end of the day, the parent has the final say. Some parents fear that if they take charge that they will lose the friendship of their children, but often the reverse is true. In families where parents fail to take their own role seriously, children may feel that to express their independence. www.andrewfuller.com.au
No. 7 Consistency
Consistency is the ideal. Having parents who agree on rules and standards and who convey the same sorts of messages and who value compassion over coercion, clearly has the best outcome in terms of children’s well being .It is also important that parents not be open to manipulation and work together as a team. 2 Life however is not always so simple and we all know from sad and sour experience that parents cannot always be consistent. Sometimes parents have different value systems or can’t come to a consistent way to handle particular areas. In these situations, a second possibility is to for one parent to take charge of a particular area. This is not the most desirable solution but it is better than having parents in conflict over management issues or worse, undermining one another. In single parent families or where parents are separated the same principle applies. www.andrewfuller.com.au
No. 8 Teach the skills of Self-esteem
Families that work well seem to praise one another a lot. Compliments are made, positive efforts are commented on. Optimism is in the air. Even in these families, teenagers still shrug and say, “ yeah Mum” or “yeah Dad” whenever a compliment is made. Teaching the skills of self-praise is useful. One way of doing this to ask questions extensively about any achievement or accomplishment. Asking questions that like “ how did you do that?” “How come you did so well at that test?” “ What did you do?” and “have you been doing homework behind my back. www.andrewfuller.com.au
No. 9 Know how to Argue
Families that work well know how to argue. It seems strange to say this because we all have the sense those families that work well don't have conflicts. The family is really where we learn to resolve disputes fairly. The way that parents teach children to resolve differences of opinion with their brothers and sisters provides the basis for sharing, negotiating and problem solving in the world beyond the family. While differences of opinion should be allowed to be expressed, children also need to learn that they will not be able to win at all costs. www.andrewfuller.com.au
No. 10 Parents are reliably unpredictable
With young children it is important to provide consistency and predicability. This allows them to feel sure of you. After a while though, a bit of predicability can go a long way. To many children, most parents are about as predictable as a washing machine cycle. It is important to have structure and consistency but it is also useful to act in ways that your children wouldn’t expect. This keeps them interested in learning from you or least wondering what you are up to. Perhaps the most important feature of parents in healthy families is that they realise that all of the above is desirable but not always possible and so they look at how to promote good functioning while not wasting energy on blaming themselves for the times when things don't quite work out as they had planned. www.andrewfuller.com.au
His article on the adolescent brain can also be found using the link below and is recommended reading for parents and teachers. http://www.andrewfuller.com.au/free/TheAdolescentBrain.pdf
Adolescence is a time of change and it can be hard to tell the difference between ‘normal teenage behaviour’ and depression and anxiety. In Australia, 160,000 young people (16-24 years) live with depression and around one in six young people have anxiety. If your son or daughter shows warning signs of these conditions, getting help early can improve their wellbeing. It can also help to stop the problems happening again when they become adults.
Warning signs of depression and anxiety for parents:
Depression doesn’t just cause sadness or feeling blue, and anxiety doesn’t just make people worry. Young people can express depression and anxiety in many different ways. They might:
• Have trouble falling or staying asleep, or spend much of the day in bed
• Be tired, grumpy, irritable, tearful or upset most of the time
• Feel restless, keyed up or on edge
• Lose interest in things they used to enjoy, and have trouble starting and completing assignments or work
• Lose concentration and be forgetful and easily distracted
• Become withdrawn and lose friends
• Be worried and panicky about doing anything out of the ordinary
• Either refuse to eat or eat a lot
• Complain of feeling physically awful, with unexplained aches and pains, and does not want to go to school (Source: www.youthbeyondblue.com)
ASD and Asperger’s – support
An On-line cognitive behavior therapy program for anxious children and adolescents and their parents (13 week program).
A cognitive behavior therapy website teaches people to use ways of thinking which help prevent depression.
Alcohol and Drug misuse
Please contact the relevant Year Level Coordinator or the Wellbeing Team at BHHS if you have any questions or concerns about your child’s wellbeing.