Best of the Web: Supporting the big jump up to secondary school, and more

Maggie Dent's tips on helping kids starting secondary school, the latest survey on teens' attitudes to sexual health, and how a dog can enrich family life.

Our selection of thought-provoking and useful resources from around the web on educating and raising children, and supporting families.

Surviving the first week of high school

(Maggie Dent,

Making the move from primary to secondary school is a big and demanding step for young people. They go from the relative security of primary school – usually one teacher, one classroom, long-time friends – to a completely new learning and social environment.

Different classes, timetable, new people – there’s a lot of adjusting.

Popular parenting educator Maggie Dent has seen it in action many times, and offers this very useful guide for parents to support their child.

As Maggie notes, their development stage means they are already under heightened stress. So what worries them most? The list includes bullying, not making friends, getting changed in front of other students for PE, and being attacked on social media.

Maggie has some great ideas to help, including talking about how change impacts us all and it’s normal to feel anxious, sticking to a firm bedtime, and getting them to explain their first timetable.

You might also like Dr Andrew Fuller’s article for The Parents Website: Welcome to secondary school: A guide to thriving and surviving

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Survey reveals teens' attitudes to sexual health

(La Trobe University News)

More young people are sexually active than in previous years, while over the same period, the use of condoms has fallen.

These are the findings of the seventh National Survey of Australian Secondary Students and Sexual Health, a periodic survey of sexual health among school-aged young people in Australia that began in 1992.

Lead researcher at La Trobe University’s Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, Associate Professor Jennifer Power, noted that while more than half of young people felt positive about their sexual experiences, low rates of condom use and STI screening were concerning.

‘Overall, young Australians tell us that their sexual experiences have been positive, respectful and safe – and that they feel confident talking to their partners about sex and consent,’ Associate Professor Power said.

‘However, it is concerning that despite recognising the importance of condom use, regular condom use is low – and with high STI rates amongst young people in Australia, this is something we need to talk about more.’

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How adopting a dog can help your child with learning, compassion and confidence

(Kellie Scott, ABC Everyday)

The Brisbane family was going through a tough time, with one of their sons Felix experiencing a serious medical condition. How could they bring back some joy into family life?

The answer was Asterix, a poodle cross.

As Mum Claire explains, it had been a difficult time for the family, with few laughs or smiles.

‘Then we got the puppy and I remember Felix was lying on the floor laughing,’ says Claire. ‘It was the first time I’d heard him laughing in weeks.’

This article explores how pooch power can have a positive impact on family life, and help with a child’s development, teaching them responsibility and how to nurture.

It also includes important things to consider before getting a dog, including a breed that is good with children, living environments, and the need for appropriate interactions between children and dogs.

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