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  • Writer's pictureLorna J Westley

VCE Monster in Your Home?

Has VCE turned your son/daughter into a moody, unmotivated, confused, anxious or stressed individual who grunts, glares, snaps and sulks in response to your attempts to communicate with him or her?

Years 11 and 12 can be rewarding and challenging years. Some students might thrive on the pressure and workload and do really well with little help from anyone. Those students obviously have the resources within themselves to get the work done and perform at a high level. But for others, VCE can become a really stressful experience where it’s really hard to maintain motivation, focus and concentration. Such students might start to doubt their ability and lack confidence which usually leads to a loss of enjoyment, disillusionment, tiredness and negative feelings towards being at school. It can even start to affect friendships and relationships with family at home. VCE students spend a lot of time at school and if they’re not happy there or feel that they’re not meeting expectations, it’s probably going to rub off in other areas of their life too.

From my experience of coaching Year 11 and 12 students during the last few years, there seems to be three main issues that distract students from performing at their best. Of course, there’s actually a lot more than just 3, but these are the 3 that I hear about the most often.

1. Not knowing what to do after school as a job or long-term career. People, especially adults, are always asking them this, so they feel pressured to have an answer. And more importantly; an answer that receives approval.

2. Not getting good results or worrying about whether their final score will be good enough. Students who feel that they are not meeting the expectations of themselves or others are going to be suffering huge amounts of stress.

3. A feeling of not coping with the pressure and workload. This is common amongst many Year 11 and 12 students and can cause severe detriment to their school results and personal health.

If your son or daughter is feeling like this some of the time or even most of the time, it’s okay and actually very normal for this final stage of their schooling and you can reassure them that there will be more of their friends and peers feeling like this than they realize. But it can sometimes be difficult for them to explain what they’re going through to you, the people who care about them; even though they know you want the best for them. You want to help them, but the truth is; you don’t know how! And let’s face it, these guys sometimes aren’t very keen to talk about their feelings either which makes it tricky for parents and teachers.

For some students, these issues might affect their performance level and produce lower than expected results. Others may be able to maintain good results but the constant worrying places huge strain on their emotional and mental well-being which in turn, can put their physical health at risk too.

Did you know that the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing and expecting different results? And yet so many students are showing up at school each day and doing the same thing as yesterday and the day before that and getting the same disappointing results day in day out – that’s insane! If their results aren’t what they want, or their mental, emotional or physical health is suffering; then they need to change their approach to what they are doing and they need to do it NOW before the final years at school turn into a stressful nightmare for the whole family.

It’s just a case of finding out what they’re thinking, doing and saying that’s not working for them, then teaching them some new ways (or strategies) that will serve them better and get them the results they want. Identifying and letting go of any unhelpful behaviours that are holding them back and discovering and adopting constructive behaviours that will empower and propel them forward.

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