5 Top Ways To Help Students Who Self Harm At Christmas

10 December 2015

Christmas is generally a time for joy, giving, receiving and thinking of others. For some people however, Christmas brings about fear, trepidation and anxiety.

As schools are about to break up for the festive season, some pupils in particular may be filled with dread and the thought of having to take time out with their families; namely pupils who self harm. Some schools may already begin to see signs of structural attachment to the school or attachment to members of staff in the form of increased self harming as the end of term approaches and are looking for self harm help.

Self Harm Help

Courtesy of www.audiosparx.com

 

How Do You Manage The Situation?

Other than self harm training for teachers, there are some things that schools can do to help pupils to prepare for and do during the Christmas break.

These could include:

  1. Helping the pupil to Create An Action Plan.

The Action Plan could take any form that is likely to be the most beneficial for the pupil. For instance, an Action Plan that helps them to create a routine of things they will do over the break to keep themselves focused, busy, stimulated or just happy.  For example, going along with or making the most of the family visits; creating a routine for their day that they are likely to stick to; making things and being creative and possibly gifting it to others; socialising with friends; helping to cook or offer to cook during the festive season!

 

  • A Crisis Plan Of Action.  This is a Plan that can be created specifically in relation to the self injurious behaviour. It could include who they could reach out to in the midst of a crisis, and where they could get help and support from. This could be a particular family member, Samaritans (opened on Christmas Day!), or ChildLine.

 

  • Prevention Plan of Action.  This is a Plan that is focused on helping them to consider avoiding certain things, situations or people (where possible) that are likely to be a trigger for their self harming, or fall into situations that they may feel uncomfortable with. It also includes the action steps that they will take to prevent the above happening and who they could call on to support them in implementing the Plan.

2.   Doing One Thing Differently. 

Doing something differently can help to get people out of certain situations where they feel stuck or is a situation that is a stagnant status quo. In practice this could look like this – saying hello/greeting others that they wouldn’t normally speak to; styling their hair differently; a different form of exercise; trying a different cuisine that they wouldn’t normally eat. Doing one thing differently each week (or day), will help them to change the energy around them, the status quo and possibly their outlook on life.

Self Harm Help

Courtesy of Youtube – Self Harm Help

3.  Contribute. 

Find a way that they can give to others in a healthy way. Contribution and giving not only makes the recipient feel good but it also generates a feel good factor in the person giving. There are always charity organisations looking for more help at Christmas to help those in need. For instance, Salvation Army, Childrens’ Hospices, or Anthony Robbins Foundation/Basket Brigade which also operates in the UK and delivers food baskets/hampers at Christmas to families in need.

 

4. Help them to Reframe and to see a Different or wider Picture of Themselves.

In addition to self harm training courses, teachers can help pupils to see a different or wider picture of themselves.

This is where you could help them to challenge unhelpful or negative belief patterns about themselves and to help them identify a time in their life when they were being or doing the opposite of their limiting or negative thoughts. What is the opposite of that negative thought?

 

5. Continue Or Start A New Hobby

Getting and staying occupied by doing a hobby that is enjoyable and helps them to feel good about themselves and that is JUST for them!

 

Enlist their parents’ help in following through with the relevant Action Plan or ask them to share their plans with their parents, if and where possible.

 

As with anything new, reassure them that some things take time to get used to and that it is Very OK to make mistakes or mess up whilst getting used to their new Plan(s).  Taking one step at a time is the key to consistency.

It Doesn’t Have To Be That Way…  

6 November 2015

Mental health challenges in children and young people are on the increase and are posing huge problems for them, adults and the society as a whole. Families and schools alike, are now feeling the impact of this surge of mental health crisis. Something needs to give and changes must be made in order to safeguard children and young people’s future and as the next generation. And the change must start with us, adults!

Children want adults to take the lead and guide them even if they act totally contrary to this statement. They need guidance, including clear, consistent boundaries.

The child or pupil needs to know what they are supposed to do and wants guidance in order to be able to do it. Yes they are likely to react adversely at first when attempts to change their behaviour, routine, habits and patterns but that is partly due to the uncertainty of being thrown into unfamiliar territories of calmness, boundaries, assertion and discipline. It could also be due to a sense of confusion during the transition stages and lack of guidance. However, with consistent, firm, calm, gentle, loving, caring and reassuring action and guidance from the parent or teacher. The child or pupil may begin to see the benefits that the changes may bring. Trust is also a key issue for many children and young people.

In order to achieve any of the above, the teacher or parent must first know and understand what the problem is or underlying issues that needs to be fixed to bring about a change. The other key thing is that a more positive outcome is more likely if the parent or teacher first make changes within themselves in order to gain the results that they desire with and for the child or pupil. For instance, if you are someone who panics and/or show disgust at the sight of a self injury, it is really important that how you manage yourself and your emotions is changed, in order to gain any buy-in from the child or pupil.

When the man is right, the world will be right too.” Dennis Kimbro & Napoleon Hill

Children and young people respond to their environment. Fix the environment, and that will go along way to helping them to be in a more balanced emotional state, unless there are medical reasons which provide contra-indications.

Their behaviour is generally indicative of the underlying issues that they are attempting to grapple with or solve in some way.

 

Be The Change That You Want To See

Positive or new examples within the school environment might look like this:

ü      No labelling of any pupil

ü      Positive messages and focus reinforced at the start of each day for EVERY pupil

ü      Congruent verbal and non-verbal messages from staff/teachers and the school environment

ü      Lead by example

 

Positive or new examples within the home environment might look like this:

ü      Shared and reinforced boundaries, irrespective of the children and young people’s age

ü      Consistent habits/routines e.g. morning, home time, bedtime

ü      Consistent discipline

ü      Family fun

 

Positive or new examples within society might look like this:

Media see and treat people as OK (and a human being) irrespective of race, colour, creed, gender, sexuality, weight, size, etc.

“Be the change that you want to see”. Ghandi

 

So How Do You Do That?

As a parent or teacher, take control of the situation by taking control of you first and your emotions. If you want the children to be calm, you must first show and demonstrate calmness within. Shouting at them and telling them to calm down brings about the opposite affect!  Be calm and they naturally become calm. React and they will react. Respond consistently and they will begin to respond. Take the lead, or lead by example with consistent, firm, calm, gentle, loving, caring and reassuring action and guidance.

In Summary:

  • Ÿ         Anger and aggression begets anger and aggression!
  • Ÿ         Negative projections on children and young people results in negative reactions and behaviour on their part, towards you and others!
  • Ÿ         Model the response that you want to see
  • Ÿ         If you want calmness, be calm
  • Ÿ         If you want trust, demonstrate trust
  • Ÿ         If you want respect, demonstrate respect.

 

How teachers and parents manage their interaction with children and young people can go a long way in assisting children and young people to manage and regulate their own emotions. Given the gamut of challenges that young people face today, adults leading by example is only one aspect of helping children and young people to reduce their mental health challenges, but nevertheless a very important and significant aspect.

Sometimes as adults, we all need a little helping hand of support and/or guidance to uncover or discover the stumbling blocks that are getting in the way of being the person/teacher/parent that we want to be.

 

To find out more about our coaching or parents programmes, visit here: www.easytigerparentsystem.com

 

 

Mindfulness In Schools

11 October 2015

 

 

n this article we are focusing on the use of Mindfulness techniques in Schools. It is a strategy and technique that is growing in popularity and one that is scientifically proven to bring about benefits, in particular in relation to depression.

Recent research, however, contradicts the benefits of Mindfulness.

Controversial Research Regarding Mindfulness and Exams

 

Mindfulness in schools is becoming more and more popular today.

Mindfulness is the preferred terminology for some people instead of the word meditation and a word that young people are more likely to respond to than ‘meditation.’ It originates from Eastern Buddhist traditions and is popular today for managing anxiety, depression, stress relief as well as general mental and physical well-being.

Celebrities endorsing Mindfulness include Davina McCall, Angelina Jolie and Oprah Winfrey.

A recent research published in Psychological Science however, suggests that Mindfulness may not be suitable in preparation for exams.

 

Brent Wilson, a psychologist at the University of California, San Diego, said: “Our results highlight an unintended consequence of mindfulness meditation: memories may be less accurate….. When memories of imagined and real experiences too closely resemble each other, people can have difficulty determining which is which, and this can lead to falsely remembering imagined experiences as actual experiences.”

There is a mixed response to this research, which contrasts starkly with previous research on the benefits of Mindfulness.

 

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