In many respects, the personal attributes which are so important at the secondary level, are also important during the primary school years. The foundation of these personal attributes are laid during the early years. Happiness and success at secondary school are so much more attainable if students have developed these attributes to a reasonable level before reaching secondary school.
Here are 10 important personal attributes children need to maximise their happiness and success at secondary school…
Children who start secondary school with reasonable confidence, generally settle in more quickly. There are a lot of new subjects, teachers, assessment processes and day-to-day procedures to adjust to. Confident students are not as daunted as the worriers and the timid children. Some children arrive already concerned that the work at secondary school may be too difficult for them or that they might make awful mistakes or not make friends. These worries sap valuable energy that could be put into studies and having fun.
Building self-esteem is a long and gradual process but every taste of success helps children feel better about themselves. High self-esteem helps students make friends more easily because they are generally happier within themselves and are more outgoing.
In their journey through secondary school, children will invariably hit obstacles or rough patches. Having the ability to bounce back helps enormously. Allow your child to fall and ‘fail’ and show that this is okay. Show that what is important is the getting up and trying again.
Children who are positive about life are generally happier and therefore tend to make new friends more easily when they start secondary school. They also don’t give up when new work is challenging. A glass-half-full outlook is a wonderful advantage for young people at this important stage of their life and education.
Interpersonal skills and the ability to make new friends
Children who know how to start a conversation and generally get along with others are in a better position to adapt to the much larger number of new people they generally encounter at the secondary level.
Charm and manners
Children who are charming and who have wonderful manners are always going to be more popular – certainly with teachers and peers. They make friends more easily than children who barge in and put their foot in their mouth.
As children grow up and move through the secondary school years, they are going to mix with students and teachers who have different opinions and who come from different backgrounds. It’s important that children start learning to see things from another person’s perspective and learn to imagine how these people actually feel. Students with well-developed empathy generally get along better with new people they will meet in the secondary school. Another bonus is that their English work is also often better because they have a greater ability to see and understand events through the eyes of various literary characters.
Willingness to ask for help
There will be times during the secondary years when all children feel a little (or a lot) out of their depth. It’s very important that they don’t simply hope that things will improve and fall further and further behind. Having the confidence to ask for help can prevent enormous angst and help children address problems before they escalate. Approaching a teacher (and parents) as soon as problems arise is far better than doing this the day before a test or an assignment is due.
Self-reliance – ability to accept responsibility
As they approach secondary school, children need to be given opportunities to take greater responsibility for themselves and their actions. This is integral to growing up and being able to handle the new demands that will be a part of secondary school. Learning to accept responsibility is also a great confidence-builder.
At the secondary level it is important for students not to give up when things get tough. Students who are determined to do well, often do far better than students with a higher level of natural ability. Model determination. Tell your child not to give up.
Children can acquire all of these important attributes and then they can be polished during the secondary years. However, if a young person steps into secondary school without some grasp on each of these attributes, the going will be harder and less enjoyable for the young person and the whole family.
Future articles will cover each of these attributes in detail.