Wellness Corner: Summer Tips for Resiliency

Wednesday, May 20, 2020
Rock Pile 2020

Dear Mercersburg parents/guardians,

As we close the remainder of this school year, especially this particular unexpected virtual spring term, we can only say thank you for all you’ve contributed. Despite all the competing influences in the lives of teenagers, parents remain a child’s first teacher. Knowing how and when to access the information you need as they grow is important, and we intend to continue to partner with you. 

In the meantime, during the summer months, you might keep in mind the below elements to foster resilience. I imagine so many summer plans have been canceled and graduating seniors aren’t sure when they will be going to college. Some children find wide open space and time freeing for creativity; however, others may feel at loose ends, become sad or lonely. Be on the lookout for particularly withdrawn moods and don’t hesitate to ask your children about how they are feeling.  

Some of the big drivers of anxiety and depression stem from low structure, interrupted routines, and parent/child conflicts. Bright young people can be prone to worry about things, too, including their parents’ states of mind. If you notice anxiety increasing for your child, I suggest looking at the work of psychotherapist, Lynn Lyons.

NAIS (National Association of Independent Schools) offered a webinar about fostering resilience during the COVID-19 crisis. A few of the key takeaways for parents were to try to model resiliency so as to provide protective factors for wellness:

  1. Connection: (the most important one) having at least one strong connection with an adult, keeping promises
  2. Communication: providing frequent open and honest conversations, using “I” statements, practicing listening more, having clear rules about health and safety
  3. Authenticity: being genuine and transparent about your own feelings and concerns (this gives your child permission to do the same)
  4. Altruism: finding ways to give to others, even if it is sheltering at home to keep people safe
  5. Validation: noticing and acknowledging your child’s comments and actions, reflecting and normalizing feelings, being willing to put away devices when in conversation

Finally,  please see the photo at the side of our Rock Pile 2020 (on back campus near the big boulders). We started this pile weeks ago and have asked interested community members to add to it, signifying our Mercersburg connection and unity during this difficult time. We certainly look forward to when we can be together again on campus, and if you wish, please add to the growing rock pile. 

Sincerely,

Susan Rahauser, M.S. NCC, LPC
Director of Student Counseling Services