For children who present challenging behaviour in school, at home and in the community, there is a lack of fundamental education about how to relate to others and understand the world from a perspective other than their own point of view. Some schools are supporting young people from disadvantaged backgrounds or those who lack social skills or ways to regulate their feelings and have challenges beyond the average.
This means that small tensions can easily escalate and in school this takes away from precious teaching time. The impact this has on their longer term attainment is that they may be unable to meet their full potential and can at times hold back other pupils in the class with the distractions they create.
Children have a level of maturity but as they prepare for exams and higher education, teachers notice that many of them are stifled by a lack of self belief and self respect. Some appear to actively sabotage their opportunities because they have guilt about past behaviour or because they do not feel worthy of being successful. For these pupils, it is about developing a positive relationship with themselves to give them hope and prove that they do deserve to be the best they can be.
We know that the pupils that do better academically and who are most likely to go onto further education are those who have learned to interact with others well, manage their feelings in times of tension and who can avoid reacting negatively to stressful situations. In doing so, it creates the 'head space' required for their minds to focus properly on learning, to develop the skills they need to concentrate and make good life choices.
Our aim is to always get pupils taking their GCSEs or other forms of accreditation and knowing that they are doing so with a good attitude and with an expectation of success will help them to apply themselves to their studies and commit to learning all the more.
As a result of learning to respect themselves and others, these young people can become more positive contributors in their communities and within society as a whole.
Instead of creating costs from presenting anti-social behaviour in their communities, they can become better citizens who set a good example to new pupils who join their school in the future. Families will benefit too as parents who presently feel unable to cope will find that their child's attitude begins to change and is less provoking and conflict inducing. The impact of this alone is huge.
Parents under pressure are more prone to depression, ill health and other mental factors. By helping their child to have more control over anger and to increase their ability to communicate their feelings without elevating tension, it will change the family dynamics tremendously.
Whilst having self respect has an impact on self-esteem too, self respect is different in that it is not an evaluation of what you have or have achieved (where as self-esteem often involves a comparison or evaluation.) Self respect allows one to like themselves because of who they are not just what they can or cannot do.
Those with higher levels of self respect take better care of themselves. Their health and wellbeing is important to them. They make healthier choices that reduce the likelihood of creating damaging habits or that are destructive to their lives of the lives of others around them.
This has a positive impact on society as a whole, as it mean that these young people are more likely to work and invest in the local economy rather than struggling to achieve independence, suffering from poor mental and emotional health which is costly to local services.
By Gemma Bailey