Meeting the social and emotional needs of boys

Social and emotional wellbeing

Meeting the social and emotional needs of boys is perhaps one of the most significant priorities for parents. It’s also a key focus for schools. Research has found that a boy’s sense of attachment or belonging to his school environment is a major protective factor against risk behaviours and can also enhance student achievement.

Trinity’s Pastoral Care guidelines focus on the fundamentals of good parenting — providing both care and discipline — enabling boys to grow into self-confident, trustworthy and resilient young men. Combined with an ongoing partnership between the School and home, your son will thrive in a consistent, caring and nurturing environment.

Today, boys experience a wide range of issues that can impact their wellbeing. Childhood fears are normal and are likely to change over time. The key is to acknowledge fears and help your child face them, rather than protecting them from the fears. We’ve outlined some common fears at different stages of a child’s growth as well as some practical tips to deal with childhood fears.

Mindfulness is a concept that is becoming increasingly popular with educators and employers. Encouraging boys to be mindful can lead to improved attention, memory processing and decision-making abilities; increased self-awareness, social awareness and self-confidence; and increased ability to self-regulate emotions.

The Trinity Education Support Services (TESS) department offers a wide range of support for boys, including those who need social and emotional support. The TESS Counselling department comprises psychologists who offer individual counselling and assessment for learning and mental health needs, small group-based programmes, parent information sessions, and assistance with life skills programmes and year group presentations.

Our Life Skills Programme is part of a whole School approach to health and wellbeing. In conjunction with the development of ethical, moral and religious values, its goal is to enhance boys’ capacity to be emotionally resilient and socially competent.

Boys and emotional skills

Emotional skills

Research has shown that emotional skills are crucial for children to become successful both socially and academically. The importance of emotional skills cannot be underestimated. There are five core skills that are widely recognised as critical emotional skills:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-management
  • Social awareness
  • Relationship skills
  • Responsible decision making.

Early emotional skills are tied to social, emotional, academic and professional competence later in life. A child’s emotional intelligence has a bearing on their decision-making skills, how they behave and ultimately, their happiness and wellbeing.

Boys and social skills

Social skills

Social skills are vital in helping children communicate and interact with each other, make and keep friends, manage relationships and thrive in a school environment. Boys can be easily influenced. Promoting positive friendships and knowing what to do when friendships turn toxic is critical to helping children grow into well-adjusted adults. 

Social development is also critical to the growth and wellbeing of young people. Social skills include both verbal and non-verbal communication. Here’s how you can help your son develop social skills. To ensure your child has a happy and fulfilling school life, practise conducting conversations, talk about emotions and teach your child to practise empathy.

Empathy is a critical leadership skill. To develop compassion and empathy:

  • Discuss current and global events
  • Problem-solve
  • Model appropriate behaviour
  • Promote mindfulness.

Mental health

Mental health difficulties affect approximately 14 percent of Australian children. Talking about mental health with children isn’t always easy, but it is important that boys understand:

  • what mental health is
  • how to maintain it, and
  • what to do if it goes wrong.

While experiencing social and emotional difficulties is a natural part of growing up, sometimes symptoms display for an extended period of time or begin to interfere with everyday life, indicating more serious mental health concerns. There are a number of signs that can indicate mental health issues

Children can experience a range of mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, concerns over body image and stress. Many children are likely to experience periods of low mood or anxiety. Sometimes, however, the symptoms are consistent, prolonged and impact a child’s ability to function in their everyday life. Here’s how you can recognise anxiety or depression in your child as well as some tips to help your child through these symptoms.

Building resilience in children

Resilience

Some children are naturally resilient, blessed with an easy-going temperament and a capacity to persevere in the face of a challenge. Increasingly, however, we are seeing children struggle when faced with seemingly small obstacles. It is possible to foster resilience in children of any age, to help them cope more easily with the inevitable challenges of life.

There are many reasons why resilience and independence are important for boys. As parents, it is natural to want to see our children do well. However, it’s equally important that we don’t wrap them in cotton wool.

At Trinity, we encourage our students to adopt a growth mindset, the ability to see how a situation can be improved through effort and application. Promoting positive self-talk for children also encourages resilience. There are a number of practices to help your son think positively, including fostering gratitude and developing self-awareness. 

Helping boys to develop resilience can make a significant difference in determining their levels of confidence and ability to deal with problems and setbacks. You can build boys up to develop resilience by:

  • Maintaining strong supportive relationships
  • Letting your child fail occasionally
  • Embracing independence
  • Keeping things in perspective
  • Promoting problem solving
  • Managing feelings.