Monday, October 12, 2009


I hope you enjoy reading Saranda's story. I changed her name to protect her privacy although she does not live in Australia any more. I have tried to stay 'close to the truth' with her story as much as possible, relying on my observation notes from our conversations and notes from her diary I had a privilege to read / I mean the parts written in English as she liked to switch to Arabic often/.

From the time I met Saranda I have taught many other students from different backgrounds, of different age and different abilities. However they all have their own troubles and grievances to deal with, they all have been in different times in their lives in difficult situations and needed to learn how to deal with stress. I realized that children who have found their own way how to deal with stress and learnt eventually to overcome difficulties grew up to be strong and confident individuals, who have a great chance to suceed in life. I felt that my role is to listen to them, to acknowledge them as individuals in their own right, to give them support or advice if they need it, but I realized I have to be patient enough to let them grow and experience world in their own pace, to find their best way to deal with stress. SUPRISINGLY MANY CHILDREN FROM WAR RAVAGED OR POOR COUNTRIES COMING TO LIVE IN AUSTRALIA HAD ALREADY BETTER COPING SKILLS AND RESILIENCE TO DEAL WITH STRESS THAT OUR CHILDREN GROWING UP IN AUSTRALIA.

Saranda's story is horrific. How many of our children growing up in Australia will experience war in their lives? And yet we have more and more children diagnosed with adult like conditions such as depression, stress and anxiety and even in younger and younger age. I am lucky that I work in school which is one of the pilot school for KidsMatter /the early intervention to help children build relisience and coping skills to prevent serious mental health problems such as depression emerging during their teen years and adulthood/. However I wonder, what is happening to our children, Professor Sims said research showed at lest one in ten children in Australia has a diagnosable mental health problem, why?

Is our society and our parents too much responsive to our children's needs, too compassionate about our children's emotions that we stopped trusting them to learn to deal with everyday moderate stress independently?

Is our children's unhealthy stress caused by the demands of modern fast life and consumerism we all are slaves of?

Are our children suffering with obsessive compulsive disorder, phobias and worries products of modern overprotective parents?

Are they products of modern busy parents who had no time for their kids any more and prefer to pass their responsibility to 'more qualified' psychological sevices?


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