When things go bad, it’s hard

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Best Weekend - - FRONT PAGE -

e is e e s er e ” So­cial me­dia can play a part in this vul­ner­a­bil­ity but all three ex­perts agree so­cial me­dia can be a force for good and not nec­es­sar­ily the evil many par­ents fear. “There is noth­ing in­her­ently evil about so­cial net­work­ing; just like in the real world, you can have pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive so­cial con­nec­tions,” Cann says. Carr-Gregg says so­cial me­dia can be a dou­ble-edged sword. “In­sta­gram is the bat­tle of the self­ies. It’s a gi­ant dig­i­tal colos­seum now, where kids ba­si­cally wage war. I think that can be in­cred­i­bly de­struc­tive, par­tic­u­larly if you have a frag­ile sense of self and de­fine your­self very much by how oth­ers see you. “But if it’s pos­i­tive, we know those pos­i­tive con­nec­tions through so­cial me­dia ac­tu­ally build re­silience and lower de­pres­sion and lower anx­i­ety. So there is this para­dox.” The role of friends be­comes cru­cial at 14 as teens start to pull away from their par­ents. “For the very first time you see your par­ents through adult eyes,” Car­rGregg says. “Most kids are in­cred­i­bly em­bar­rassed by them, which is im­por­tant. You want them to be em­bar­rassed be­cause a key de­vel­op­men­tal task for young peo­ple is to eman­ci­pate from their par­ents and noth­ing is go­ing to help you eman­ci­pate from your par­ents faster than think­ing that they are crush­ingly em­bar­rass­ing.” e says re­search shows the great­est pre­dic­tor of well­be­ing for kids is hav­ing a rich reper­toire of friends. “At 14, you’re learn­ing the abil­ity to ob­tain, main­tain and re­tain friend­ships, which is go­ing to be cru­cial to your well­be­ing for the rest of your life,” Carr-Gregg says. Disen­gage­ment from not only par­ents but school can be­come an is­sue for 14-year-olds as well, with many schools set­ting up pro­grams tar­geted specif­i­cally at this age group. Ascham School, in Syd­ney’s east­ern sub­urbs, for ex­am­ple, of­fers a one-term res­i­den­tial pro­gram to girls in year 9. Carr-Gregg agrees such pro­grams can re­mind teens of a few pos­i­tives. “At a time when they view their (From lef t) Luke van Ratin­gen, Amelia Wat­son, Piper Work­man and Josh van Ratin­gen. Pic­tures: Braden Fastier par­ents as lit­tle more than pond scum, it’s ac­tu­ally a good idea to make them ap­pre­ci­ate the par­ent by tak­ing them away from them and get­ting them to ex­pe­ri­ence what it’s like to live with a bunch of other peo­ple,” he says. Grose says the mythol­ogy around ado­les­cence is that teens don’t want or need their par­ents as much as they did when they were younger. “I think most peo­ple who have teenagers will un­der­stand it’s the op­po­site. You need to give them more time. They do have prob­lems,oblems, they they do want to talk throughh things things with you.” Cann says re­cent re­search in WA found 56 56 per cent of kids would like to spend more timee with their par­ents thann they cur­rently do. “The re­ally cru­cial thing for kids is to con­tinue to re­ceive warmth, for par­ents to con­tinue to in­vest in thatat re­la­tion­ship,” Cann says.ys. “The “The more they can do that the the more more they are in­vest­ing in their child’s emo­tional health.” YOU don’t have to win all the time. Learn to ne­go­ti­ate; it will make your life and your child’s life eas­ier. SET lim­its and bound­aries but choose your bat­tle­grounds. Only fight over things that mat­ter, such as safety, sleep, drugs, sex, al­co­hol, cur­fews, ex­er­cise, diet. DON’T sweat the small stuff. Ig­nore the flo­or­drobe. You can lit­er­ally stuff up the qual­ity of your own life as well as theirs by get­ting too caught up in that stuff. Just shut the door and walk away. DON’T be fright­ened of tech­nol­ogy. KNOW your child’s tem­per­a­ment. Some 14-year-olds re­quire min­i­mal su­per­vi­sion, some re­quire a truck­load. Ex­ams don’t ac­tu­ally mea­sure in­tel­li­gence. Money, de­spite what Kim Kar­dashian says, can’t buy hap­pi­ness.

Non­con­for­mity is good. There is some­thing won­der­ful about the ec­cen­tric in this world.

Be­ing able to re­solve dis­agree­ments am­i­ca­bly is re­ally im­por­tant (teach­ing con­flict res­o­lu­tion skills is vi­tal). It’s im­por­tant to apol­o­gise when you are wrong. Peo­ple are more im­por­tant than things. Do­ing noth­ing is not a waste of time. Knowl­edge doesn’t equal un­der­stand­ing. Fail­ure can be good. Don’t give up. Put your head down and work hard. Never wait for things to hap­pen; make them hap­pen.

Piper Work­man, 14, right, and Amelia elia Wat­son, 14, be­low.

Hav­ing more in­de­pen­dence is the stand­out pos­i­tive to be­ing 14, ac­cord­ing to friends Amelia and Piper. “I love that I have more in­de­pen­dence,” says Piper. “On the week­ends I hang out with my friends and we can go shop­ping and see movies and I c can get there my­self.” Amelia agrees:a “You get to ex­plorere new fr friend­ships, have more free­dom reedom and new op­por­tu­ni­ties. It’s a time when youyo start to gain real life ex­pe­ri­enc­ex­pe­ri­ence and learnle how to han­dle your­self and be ma­ture.”m But, as the girls are dis­cov­er­ing, with this new-found free­dom comes the needn to bal­ance re­spon­si­bil­ity with fun. “It can be re­ally stress­ful bal­anc­ing yo your so­cial life, school, fam­ily and your pers per­sonal space,” Amelia says. “When things go bad, it’s hard be­cause you’re go­ing through pu­berty and you have all these emo­tions you don’t un­der­stand.” For Piper, friend­ship groups are harder to nav­i­gate. “Friend­ship groups are be­com­ing quite tight, but there’s of­ten con­flict, which can lead to a change in the group dy­nam­ics.”

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