Here are some top tips from our experts on using positivity to flourish, helping to develop positive body image, and how to manage academic pressure and test anxiety.
- Focus on strengths rather than weaknesses. Recognise your daughter's strengths and help her build on them.
- Tell your daughter when you see her using her strengths.
‘Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it’.
- Use process praise to help foster a growth mindset.
‘Great result, the extra time spent revising for the test helped’.
- Help your daughter see failure as a key part of life and as an opportunity to grow.
- Tell your daughter you are proud of her whenever you can.
By Graham Yates, deputy head pastoral.
- Educate at any opportunity about the importance of being healthy and the ways that we can do this. Make it part of everyday conversations rather than a lecture that your child will turn off too.
- Share how the media misconstrues what we see. Use videos of how people’s photographs change and are photoshopped to demonstrate the radical changes. Talk about magazine articles and that what we see is not real. Always striving for something that is unachievable will be impossible and just make us unhappy.
- Help your child embrace their journey of change by sharing your past mistakes. Accepting that diversity and difference is good can also be helpful.
- Promote the positive messages that make us feel better about ourselves. Immerse yourself in positive images and messages about how to feel great. Have a mantra that you follow. Do not make this about the way that you look.
- Don’t shy away from being photographed but instead take every opportunity to document your life with your child. Smile into the mirror rather than grimacing; if it helps, think about helping your child to succeed.
By Helen O'Connor, St Swithun's clinical psychologist
- Aristotle reminds us that we are what we repeatedly do. We must practise and fine tune the skills required of the subject and discipline. We must ‘prepare well’.
- Care ethics is a branch of moral philosophy which sees care as a skill and virtue. This care, includes ‘mature or self’ care which demands we look after ourselves. Good preparation includes good sleep and a healthy diet.
- We are the stories we are tell ourselves and ‘narrational beings’ said Alasdair McIntyre. Self talk is essential and students must talk to themselves in positive ways focusing on stories about previous exam success. But stories from others who triumphed after a bad result are also transformative and this sort of reframing is effective. Likewise, students must remember some test anxiety is natural and beneficial to performance.
- The Chinese philosopher Lau-Tzu said that a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. Getting started on one’s revision journey is essential and whilst this sounds obvious it does need to be a journey where one progresses and moves forward in terms of skills development. Learning facts and rewriting notes only gets one so far. Meaningful strategies and techniques which test the skills required is the obvious way to make progress.
- Sartre and Kafka knew the dangers of other people, and we must be mindful of the contagion effect of anxiety. It is important to surround oneself with positive people and to have a supportive team.
By Dr Elizabeth Mackintosh, head of academic enrichment.