MySkills Australia

Best advice parents can give about leaving school

It’s normal to fear change.

Humans are wired to want stability, calm and security. During any life stages of transition such as going from school to uni life, school to work life, returning to work after parenting, divorce, it is totally normal to feel anxious. The most important thing our community can do is to openly acknowledge that it is an inevitable milestone of emotional upheaval and any related anxiety is by no means strange, uncommon or shameful.

Often school leavers and parents re-entering the workforce find themselves, out of necessity, in jobs that hold no personal interest for them, for the sake of a paycheck. They have limited job-seeking or industry-specific skills, so work-related confidence can easily lead them to an all-time low. Transitioning into the workforce presents multiple challenges beyond the most obvious objective of finding a job. Let’s not forget about all of the life administration stuff that comes with working life, such as bank accounts, superannuation, transportation, taxes and so on. All necessary evils which can be resolved relatively easily as long as you know how, but to many they can present instant stress. Parental expectations also often change when young people start earning their own money, and unexpected considerations regarding housing, rent, household expenses and domestic chores start to come into play. Parents returning to work and juggling family routines and household chores find the struggle just as real. Finding yourself thrust into the world with different societal expectations, diminished support systems and additional responsibilities is tough.

Everyone responds differently to change. Some people find it exciting and full of opportunities while others feel stressed and overwhelmed, or a combination of these things. Even changes that you’re looking forward to can cause some worries. Whatever your reaction is, it’s okay to feel this way. The uncertainty that big changes bring can be hard to deal with. Some common concerns that people experience with the transition into or back to the workforce can include:

  •         making friends in a new setting
  •         figuring out new workplace environments
  •         juggling commitments, such as work, family, friends and study
  •         meeting different expectations and obligations (e.g. meeting deadlines)
  •         adapting to new living arrangements (e.g. moving out of home)
  •         wondering if you have made the right decisions
  •         managing finances and financial pressures.

There are lots of things you can do to support yourself during these times. Learning some strategies can help you feel better prepared to cope with any worry or stress. These strategies include:

  •         learn about stress and your early warning signs. Stress is our body’s way of reacting to change – there are things you can do that can help you cope
  •         make a list of things you can do to support yourself, things that you enjoy and that help you de-stress
  •         notice your unhelpful thoughts. If your worries are getting out of control, try an app like Worry Time
  •         reach out to friends, family or professional help for support. Talking things through can help you feel supported
  •         accept that some things won’t go to plan, but can give us opportunities for growth
  •         Be kind to yourself. Giving yourself a hard time only makes things worse. 

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