Parenting expert, Elizabeth O’Shea, says that the relationship parents build with their children in the pre-teen years will help get them through the more challenging teen years. Her point, of course, is that the teenage years will be easier to navigate if the relationship between parent and child is a strong one. Wise words from one of my favourite parenting experts.
I have another resource for parents that I would like to share. A wonderful book titled The Incredible Teenage Brain by Bettina Hohnen, Jane Gilmour, and Tara Murphy. Scientifically based, the premise is that if parents and educators understand teen brain development we can build a positive learning cycle and tap into the motivations of teens to steer them in the right direction at school, at home and in their friendships and relationships. This is groundbreaking stuff. Books of old treated teens as recalcitrants without much change from the views of Socrates who, writing more than 2000 years ago, said, ‘They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise.’ Oh dear. If you are parenting teens now or will be in the future, I wholeheartedly recommend this book. We all want our children to grow up to be self assured, resilient, hard working, and kind.
One of the many advantages of the Prep School system is that those in their first year of teenagerdom are our Senior pupils. Giving our Year 8s positions of responsibility encourages them to step up to the plate and embrace the positive values of St Christopher’s as they prepare for adulthood. We are able to guide them in a way that suits their developmental stage. Alongside this, we expect every single one of our Year 8s to be a role model to our younger pupils, and many of our Year 8s have additional responsibilities as House Captains, Sports Captains, Prefects, and Heads of School. All have the responsibility of being a Buddy to one of our youngest children, which is a significant one. I am always impressed with the gentleness and care our teenage pupils display around the little ones. They are able to demonstrate maturity and good decision making skills in a social context, another critical skill for teens.
Don’t forget that next Friday sees the official start of our festive season with Courtyard Carols on the Back Court. The event starts at 5pm, and we hope to see many of you there. Mulled wine and mince pies will be available thanks to our ever-dependable Parents’ Association. Next week also sees the Reception Nativity play and Year 4 presenting their adaptation of CS Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. It really is the most wonderful time of the year!
Ms Elizabeth Lyle, Head