Thursday 19 July 2018

Why this expert is warning parents against Leaving Cert holidays for their teens

'The almost obligatory summer holiday is a minefield for teenagers straight after the Leaving Cert as they can feel so overwhelmed after their exams.' Stock Image: AFP/Getty Images
'The almost obligatory summer holiday is a minefield for teenagers straight after the Leaving Cert as they can feel so overwhelmed after their exams.' Stock Image: AFP/Getty Images

Sarah Slater

A leading psychologist is urging parents to rethink allowing their Leaving Cert children to go on holidays with friends as it could cause them to feel anxious and depressed.

Many teenagers can feel tired and vulnerable after the exams and by allowing them to go abroad for a break without parents is "putting them at risk psychologically".

Niamh Hannan, a chartered psychologist who works with teenagers and adolescents at mindworks.ie, said: "The almost obligatory summer holiday is a minefield for teenagers straight after the Leaving Cert as they can feel so overwhelmed after their exams.

"They have been living in a pressure cooker situation for the past year or more. If they are prone to being anxious or suffer a bit with depression, the holiday could be a nightmare.

"They will be away without their parents' support and guidance at a time they may need it most as they may be feeling shaky, down, vulnerable or isolated. They need their parents to be their emotional coaches. Being thousands of kilometres away is not going to help them.

"It really would be a good idea for parents or guardians to renegotiate with their children to go away with friends at the end of the summer when their lives are more settled. Their plans to go to college, work or to repeat the Leaving Cert will be put in place by then."

Ms Hannan said it would be better to encourage students to relax, eat healthily, exercise and get involved in activities orientated towards wellbeing.

"Don't let them hang around doing nothing as that is when they can spiral into questioning everything they have done for the Leaving Cert and its consequences," she said.

Irish Independent

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