Levels of diagnosis for behavioural and learning difficulties are incredibly high, often with 50% of kids on specialised learning plans. How can schools keep up with this demand?
Is the worry cycle contributing to this phenomenon in schools?
Family Systems thinking would say that searching for symptoms in a child, either behavioural or mental health symptoms, increases the chance they are found. Once they are found in children, they are then treated for the symptoms, and the scanning continues. This cycle can exacerbate existing symptoms or even cause new ones to be there.
A worry focus from teachers and parents can be one factor leading to increase in diagnoses in children in schools. What if teachers and parents responded to each symptom in a child without the worry? Without focusing on the issue, but instead on the whole child? Taking the intense focus off the child’s symptoms could provide them the breathing space needed, to be the difference between a diagnosis or not.
Our parenting programs help teach parents about the worry cycle and the benefits when parents focus on themselves in relationship to their child. This takes the focus off the child and can help relieve some pressure and reduce symptoms in kids. Our training teaches education and support staff about this approach and could be one way to help take the stress and pressure out of a school system.
It’s a fine line between understanding mental health and individual needs of a child, versus giving them the developmental space they need – Space that sits within clear limits, and boundaries of what parents and teachers are willing to allow.
See here to find out more about our schools’ packages, to train your staff in this approach, and deliver parenting programs to your parent community – That help them manage their worry a little better and be more confident in being a resource for their children.
Vicki Wilkins – Professional Programs Coordinator – Parent Hope Project
Listen to more – in our new podcast series: PARENTING THROUGH STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT – follow on your podcast app.
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