Relationships are the basis of our lives – with our family, friends, colleagues, team mates, class mates. For young people at school, relationships are crucial for building a sense of belonging, forming friendships, developing social skills and engaging in school life. Positive relationships are the foundation to success at school.
We know that personal relationships change over time, especially during adolescence, which means they have a significant impact across the secondary school years.
Tensions amongst friends can come from peer pressure, arguments and changes in friendship groups (people leaving/entering groups). These pressures take place online and face to face. For some students, it is hard to form friendships, leading to isolation and loneliness.
Young people are encouraged to reach out to trusted adults when they are experiencing relationship difficulties. We don’t want to solve the problems for them. Rather, we listen and help them problem solve themselves – “what do you want to do?” Helping our young people to communicate effectively and listen; to stay calm and not get angry; to set boundaries and make appropriate compromises; to take a break from social media and develop good social skills will benefit them the most in the long-run.
There are many online youth resources, helpline and counselling services, such as Reach Out, Kids Helpline and Headspace to augment the work of families and schools in guiding our young people as they navigate adolescence. Together, we can raise healthy, strong and confident young people.