Wellbeing Matters 14 June 2024

Being a young person can be very stressful; hormones are raging, and their brain is still developing. This can lead to impulsivity and difficulty regulating emotions. This process of the developing brain continues until their mid-20s.

To help them during this time of growth, it is important that parents and caregivers model healthy emotional regulation themselves. This means that despite whether you think a young person is being “annoying, slow, disrespectful, selfish, rude or lazy” that we respond in a calm and respectful way, taking the emotion out of our response. This does not mean that you tolerate poor or dangerous behaviours, it simply means that we calmly focus on what the young person is doing correctly rather than focussing on what they are doing wrong. Set up rules and boundaries when things are calm and own what your concern is; “I get worried when you are late, so I would like you to text me if this happens.”

Notice more often when your child comes home on time, tidies her room or unpacks the dishwasher. Young people have a strong “negative bias” so they will focus on your negative comments more intently; they need reassurance that mostly they are doing well. We know that as parents and carers we are also not perfect and generally don’t need reminding when we make mistakes or get frustrated.

You may have noticed an increase in your daughter’s anxiety levels leading up to or getting marks back, parent teacher interviews or other assessment tasks. Reassure your daughter that not all stress is bad; stress helps them to prepare for exams and to get out of bed each day. If stress starts to consistently disrupt normal daily pleasures, sleep or eating patterns for an extended period time, ie two weeks, it is probably a good time to seek some help and support.

Simple ways to reduce stress can be to make time for self-care and prioritise having fun together. Students frequently speak of simply being with their family when asked of an image that makes them feel safe and happy. You and your family are more important to daughter than you think.

Sometimes stress is external. For example, you may hear “my teachers/parents expect so much,” and other times it is internal, “if I don’t get a certain mark, I am not good enough.” Finding interests outside of academics can provide young people with a sense of self-efficacy, where they can learn, improve and achieve goals. Sports or hobbies are perfect to develop this skill; not many people can become accomplished in life without practice, hard work and setbacks. Developing new skills out of school helps young people realise that making mistakes is part of the process of learning and builds their resilience. In this way it also helps them tolerate academic stress as it arises.

Apart from the regular resources available, a new program has been designed to help young people manage anxiety and stress. The program called Momentum, and it is free of charge for young people residing in Australia. I highly recommend that if you daughter experiences any signs of anxiety, depression or you have any concern for their wellbeing that you investigate further.


Momentum offers tailored online treatment programs to help children and adolescents learn new ways to cope with feelings of anxiety and/or unhappiness. Momentum also offers help with sleep difficulties, as well as information on wellbeing and help-seeking, and tips and information about substance use for adolescents. Momentum has been designed in collaboration with young people, parents, clinicians and researchers. The program is free to use in Australia and can be worked through at your own pace and in the comfort of your own home.”

The latest from your local Northern Sydney Local Health District Youth Health Information:

For Parents/Carers

Wellbeing and Digital Technologies: eSafety Commissioner. An overview of strategies to protect, respond to and support your child online. This webinar will focus on the digital skills to protect and support young people’s mental health and wellbeing online. It’s suitable for parents and carers of children and young people in secondary school. Tuesday 4 June, 2pm-2.30pm. Free.

School Can’t Workshop: The Village Northern Beaches. A workshop for parents and carers who are living with teens struggling to attend school regularly and without distress. Saturday 15 June, 10am-3pm at Collaroy Swim Club Community Centre. Bookings essential. Cost $60.

Manly to Shelly Beach walk: Empowering Parents in Crisis. EPIC walks/coffee are all about connection for parents of teens in crisis. The group walk, talk, listen, laugh, cry and relax. Meet on the ocean side of The Pantry, The Promenade, North Steyne. Sunday 16 June, 9am-11am. Free.

Reducing Risks and Intervening Early,Matilda Centre. This webinar will cover: Understanding substance use trends in young people, discovering ways to keep young people safe at parties and effectively communicating with teens about substances. Wednesday 19 June, 7pm-8pm. Free.

Responding to Substance Use Concerns and Linking with Support: Sydney Drug and Education Counselling Centre. This webinar will cover: the impacts of substance use on young people and their mental health, responding to your child’s substance use and exploring the range of specialised support available. Wednesday 3 July, 7pm-8pm. Free.

Parent survey: Positive Choices. Positive Choices are looking for Australian parents and/or carers of teenagers to complete an online survey about their online evidence-based Australian drug education portal, Positive Choices (positivechoices.org.au). Your input will help provide them with relevant and trustworthy resources to better help you talk to your children about drugs and alcohol. The survey will take between 20-30 minutes and for participating, you’ll receive a $20 Prezzee gift voucher.


Body Kind Youth Survey: Butterfly Foundation. The Body Kind Youth Survey, proudly supported by the nib foundation, provides a nationwide snapshot of body image in a large sample of young people in Australia aged 12-18 years.

Bite Back App: Blackdog Institute. Bite Back is Black Dog Institute’s free, self-guided online wellbeing and resilience program for young people aged 13-16 years old.

The facts about vaping: Positive Choices. These factsheets and videos were co-designed with Aboriginal young people and developed by The Matilda Centre for Research in Mental Health and Substance Use.

If you have any concerns about your young person, please feel free to contact the college counsellors: Becky Salter, Emma Timmins or Jess Steyl: counsellor@brigidine.nsw.edu.au or Ph: 9988 6275.

For support out of hours:

Kids Helpline: For ages 5 – 25yrs. 1800 55 1800 available 24/7.  kidshelpline.com.au

Youth Beyond Blue: Specialist youth support for anxiety and depression. Ph: 1300 22 4636 (24 hours support).

Lifeline: Ph: 13 11 14 available 24/7

NSW Mental Health Line for advice, assessment, and referral on freecall 1800 011 511. The Mental Health Line is a 24-hour telephone service operating seven days a week across NSW and determines the appropriate service for referral. Your Mental Health helpline clinician will assess your situation and decide the best course of action to assist you.


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