Edgemead High is here to offer support and assistance to all students and parents who need it.


Helping teens cope with DIVORCE

Thousands of children experience the stress of divorce each year. How they react depends on their age, personality, and the circumstances of the separation and divorce process.

Every divorce will affect the child involved — and many times the initial reaction is one of shock, sadness, frustration, anger, or worry. With the right guidance, many children of divorce can overcome the initial challenges and become flexible, tolerant young adults.

The most important things that both parents can do to help children through this difficult time are:

  • Keep visible conflict, heated discussions, and legal talk away from the children.
  • Minimize the disruptions to children’ daily routines.
  • Confine negativity and blame to private therapy sessions or conversations with friends outside the home.
  • Keep each parent involved in the children’ lives.

Many children — and parents — grieve the loss of the kind of family they had hoped for, and children especially miss the presence of both parents and the family life they had. That’s why it’s common and very natural for some children to hold out hope that their parents will someday get back together — even after the finality of divorce has been explained to them. Mourning the loss of a family is normal, but over time both you and your children will come to accept the new situation. So reassure them that it’s OK to wish that mom and dad will reunite, but also explain the finality of your decisions.

It is important to keep consistency  Consistency and routine can go a long way toward providing comfort and familiarity that can help your family during this major life change. When possible, minimize unpredictable schedules, transitions, or abrupt separations.

Especially during a divorce, children will benefit from one-on-one time with each parent. No matter how inconvenient, try to accommodate your ex-partner as you figure out visitation schedules.

Take care not to fight infront of the children – Although the occasional argument between parents is expected in any family, living in a battleground of continual hostility and unresolved conflict can place a heavy burden on a child. Screaming, fighting, arguing, or violence can make children feel worried and afraid.

Adjusting to a New Living Situation

Because divorce can be such a big change, adjustments in living arrangements should be handled gradually.

Several types of living situations should be considered:

  • one parent may have sole custody
  • joint custody in which both legal and physical custody are shared
  • joint custody where one parent has “tie-breaking” authority in certain medical or educational settings

Which one is right for your children? That’s a tough question and often the one that couples spend most time disagreeing on. Although some children can thrive spending half their time with each parent, others seem to need the stability of having one “home” and visiting with the other parent. Some parents choose to both remain in the same home — but this only works in the rarest of circumstances and in general should be avoided.

Whatever arrangement you choose; your child’s needs should come first. Avoid getting involved in a tug of war as a way to “win.” When deciding how to handle holidays, birthdays, and vacations, stay focused on what’s best for the children. It’s important for parents to resolve these issues themselves and not ask the children to choose.

During the preteen years, when children become more involved with activities apart from their parents, they may need different schedules to accommodate their changing priorities. Ideally, children benefit most from consistent support from both parents, but they may resist equal time-sharing if it interrupts school or their social lives. Be prepared for their thoughts on time-sharing, and try to be flexible.

Your child may refuse to share time with you and your spouse equally and may try to take sides. If this happens, as hard as it is, try not to take it personally. Maintain the visitation schedule and emphasize the importance of the involvement of both parents.

Parenting Under Pressure

As much as possible, both parents should work to keep routines and discipline the same in both households. Similar expectations about bedtimes, rules, and homework will reduce anxiety, especially in younger children.

Even though you can’t enforce the rules in your ex-partner’s home, stick to them in yours. Relaxing limits, especially during a time of change, tends to make children insecure and less likely to recognize your parental authority later. And buying things to replace love or letting children act out is not in their best interests, and you could struggle to reel them back in once the dust settles. Instead, you can lavish affection on them — children don’t get spoiled by too many hugs or comforting words.

So remember to:

  • Get help dealing with your own painful feelings about the divorce. If you’re able to adjust, your children will be more likely to do so, too.
  • Be patient with yourself and with your child. Emotional concerns, loss, and hurt following divorce take time to heal and this often happens in phases.
  • Recognize the signs of stress. Consult your children’ teachers, doctor, or a child therapist for guidance on how to handle specific problems you’re concerned about.

Changes of any kind are hard — know that you and your children can and will adjust to this one. Finding your inner strength and getting help to learn new coping skills are hard work, but can make a big difference to helping your family get through this difficult time.

Nurturing your teen’s mental health

Nurturing your teen’s mental health

Mental health affects the way people think, feel and act. Taking care of our mental health is just as important as having a healthy body. As a parent, you play an important role in your teen’s mental health.

Here are a few basic things you can do at home to promote good mental health:


Relationships with family and friends play a big role in your teen’s life. Basic activities and rituals such as eating dinner together, going for a walk or just chatting on your way to school could help create a healthier relationship with your child. It’s also important to get to know your teen’s friends and to assess whether their influence is positive or negative. Trust your gut and be observant of your child’s mood when around certain groups or individuals.


We know life is stressful and busy, but setting aside as little as 10 minutes a day to focus on and listen to your teen could make a significant impact on his/her mental health and self-esteem. What this means in practice is making eye contact, leaving the chores, putting the phone down and just being present on their level.


Help and encourage your teen to push through frustrating and difficult situations at school and life. Instead of allowing them to give up or complain about a situation or rushing in to ‘rescue’ them, help them to come up with ways to solve the issues, seek acceptable alternative outcomes and give them skills to resolve conflicts.


Show unconditional love and acceptance. Respect their feelings. Show an interest in their lives. Praise them when they do well and recognise their efforts even when things do not work out as they had hoped.


Be aware of your child’s media use; both the content and the amount of time spent. Be careful about discussing serious family issues—such as finances, marital problems, or illness—around your teen. Be a role model by taking care of your own mental health. Lastly remember to make time for things you enjoy as a family.

Pause, take a deep breath and be mindful of your thoughts, actions and words. Best wishes for the term ahead- may it be a healthy one in mind, body and spirit. 

Tips to get teens motivated for the new school year

Tips to get teens motivated for the new school year.

It can be challenging to discover motivation after more than a month of summer holidaying. Spirits will definitely be dampened and focusing will prove to be difficult as we struggle to switch from holiday mode to real-life mode.

Here are a few helpful tips to help ease your teen into the new school year:

  • Pull your children away from the screen and take them on an exciting learning adventure – Using outings as opportunities to show them how the lessons they are taking can be implemented in their future.

  • Take note of their interests and hobbies – Motivation for the new schooling year could be generated by linking these hobbies to subjects they will be learning at school this year.

  • Talk to them about the world of work – They might not be interested in the specific subjects now, but the skills they learn in each subject will help them in their studies and job opportunities to come.

  • Let them know it is okay to make mistakes –  If we use failures and mistakes as learning opportunities, we often come out the other end better people.

Lastly, believe in them and encourage them to use the opportunities given to them to learn and grow. Encourage them to get involved in the school’s life. Encourage them to interact with different people, get out of their comfort zones. Let them speak their mind and stand up for what they believed in. Above all, encourage them to foster friendships where they are respected and valued for who they are… quirks and all 

National Benchmark Tests

The following content has been adapted from EduOne.


NBT 2019

Writing the NBTs is a necessary requirement for most South African universities so it is best to check which tests you need to complete before writing.  Registration for the NBTs opened on 1 April 2019.  

The National Benchmark Tests: What do you need to know?

If you’re considering applying to a South African university and you’ve had a look at their admission requirements, chances are you’ve come across the National Benchmark Test (NBT). Here’s everything you need to know about the NBTs and why you have to write them.

The National Benchmark Tests are a set of tests that measure your academic readiness for university. They complement and support, rather than replace or duplicate, your National Senior Certificate results.

Who uses the National Benchmark Test and why?

A number of universities in South Africa use the NBTs to help interpret your National Senior Certificate results.

Universities use the NBT results in different ways:

  • Some use them to help make decisions about your access to university. This means that your NBT results, in combination with your NSC results, are used to determine whether you are ready for academic study.
  • They use them for placement within the university. This means that the results are used to decide whether you will need extra academic support after you have been admitted to university.
  • To help develop curricula within their university.

What do I need to know about writing the NBT?

We’re sure there’re lots you’d like to know about the NBTs but have a look at some of the key points you need to remember.

  • There are two tests – the Academic and Quantitative Literacy (AQL)test and the Mathematics (MAT) test. And that’s all you need to know 
  • The university faculty to which you are applying will determine which test you have to write, so check with them. Generally, the MAT test is reserved for those who wish to apply to courses that require Mathematics, such as Engineering and the Sciences.
  • There are no past papers or special study materials to prepare for the tests. The NBT assesses your prior knowledge – what you know and what you are able to do. Go to the NBT website to find out what is covered in the tests.
  • The duration of the tests is three hours each.
  • Even if you’re applying to more than one university, you need only write the tests once. The tests consist of multiple-choice questions.
  • You should write the test in time to meet the university admission deadlines. If you are applying to more than one university, make sure you write in time to meet the earliest deadline.

 How do I register?

  • You must register online to write the tests and pay upfront. Go to the NBT website to register.
  • The costs of the tests for the 2020 admission cycle are:
    • R100 for AQL only
    • R200 for AQL and MAT
  • Even if you’re applying to more than one university, you need only write the tests once.
Parent DEPRESSION info sheet

Parent’s Guide to Teen Depression

Recognizing the Signs of Depression in Teens and How You Can Help

Teenagers face a host of pressures, from the changes of puberty to questions about who they are and where they fit in. With all this turmoil and uncertainty, it isn’t always easy to differentiate between depression and normal teenage growing pains. But teen depression goes beyond moodiness. It’s a serious health problem that impacts every aspect of a teen’s life. Fortunately, it’s treatable and parents can help. Your support can go a long way toward getting your teenager back on track.

What you can do

  1. Watch for red flags, including irritability and anger
  2. Set aside quality time each day to talk face to face
  3. Focus on listening, not lecturing
  4. Encourage your teen to spend time with friends
  5. Make sure he or she is getting plenty of sleep and exercise
  6. Learn more by reading the related articles

What are the signs and symptoms of depression in teens?

Unlike adults, who have the ability to seek assistance on their own, teenagers rely on parents, teachers, or other caregivers to recognize their suffering and get them the help they need. So if you have an adolescent in your life, it’s important to learn what teen depression looks like and what to do if you spot the warning signs.

While it might seem that recognizing depression is easy, the signs aren’t always obvious. For one, teens with depression don’t necessarily appear sad. Irritability, anger, and agitation may be the most prominent symptoms.

Signs and symptoms of depression in teens

  1. Sadness or hopelessness
  2. Irritability, anger, or hostility
  3. Tearfulness or frequent crying
  4. Withdrawal from friends and family
  5. Loss of interest in activities
  6. Poor school performance
  7. Changes in eating and sleeping habits
  1. Restlessness and agitation
  2. Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
  3. Lack of enthusiasm and motivation
  4. Fatigue or lack of energy
  5. Difficulty concentrating
  6. Unexplained aches and pains
  7. Thoughts of death or suicide

Is it depression or teenage “growing pains”?

A certain amount of moodiness and acting out is par for the course with teens. But persistent changes in personality, mood, or behavior are red flags of a deeper problem. If you’re unsure if your child is depressed or just “being a teenager,” consider how long the symptoms have been going on, how severe they are, and how different your child is acting from his or her usual self. Hormones and stress can explain the occasional bout of teenage angst—but not continuous and unrelenting unhappiness lethargy, or irritability.

Suicide warning signs in teenagers

Seriously depressed teens often think about, speak of, or make “attention-getting” attempts at suicide. But an alarming and increasing number of teenage suicide attempts are successful, so suicidal thoughts or behaviors should always be taken very seriously.

For the overwhelming majority of suicidal teens, depression or another psychological disorder plays a primary role. In depressed teens who also abuse alcohol or drugs, the risk of suicide is even greater. Because of the very real danger of suicide, teenagers who are depressed should be watched closely for any signs of suicidal thoughts or behavior.

Suicide warning signs to watch for

  1. Talking or joking about committing suicide
  2. Saying things like, “I’d be better off dead,” “I wish I could disappear forever,” or “There’s no way out.”
  3. Speaking positively about death or romanticizing dying (“If I died, people might love me more”)
  4. Writing stories and poems about death, dying, or suicide
  5. Engaging in reckless behavior or having a lot of accidents resulting in injury
  6. Giving away prized possessions
  7. Saying goodbye to friends and family as if for the last time
  8. Seeking out weapons, pills, or other ways to kill themselves

Tips for communicating with a depressed teen

Focus on listening, not lecturing. Resist any urge to criticize or pass judgment once your teenager begins to talk. The important thing is that your child is communicating. You’ll do the best by simply letting your teen know that you’re there for them, fully and unconditionally.

Be gentle but persistent. Don’t give up if they shut you out at first. Talking about depression can be very tough for teens. Even if they want to, they may have a hard time expressing what they’re feeling. Be respectful of your child’s comfort level while still emphasizing your concern and willingness to listen.

Acknowledge their feelings. Don’t try to talk your teen out of depression, even if their feelings or concerns appear silly or irrational to you. Well-meaning attempts to explain why “things aren’t that bad” will just come across as if you don’t take their emotions seriously. To make them feel understood and supported, simply acknowledging the pain and sadness they are experiencing can go a long way in making them feel understood and supported.

Trust your gut. If your teen claims nothing is wrong but has no explanation for what is causing the depressed behavior, you should trust your instincts. If your teen won’t open up to you, consider turning to a trusted third party: a school counselor, favorite teacher, or mental health professional. The important thing is to get them talking to someone.

Encourage social connection

Depressed teens tend to withdraw from their friends and the activities they used to enjoy. But isolation only makes depression worse, so do what you can to help your teen reconnect.

Make face time a priority. Set aside time each day to talk—time when you’re focused totally on your teen (no distractions or multi-tasking). The simple act of connecting face to face can play a big role in reducing your teen’s depression.

Combat social isolation. Do what you can to keep your teen connected to others. Encourage them to go out with friends or invite friends over. Participate in activities that involve other families and give your child an opportunity to meet and connect with other kids.

Get your teen involved. Suggest activities—such as sports, after-school clubs, or an art, dance, or music class—that take advantage of your teen’s interests and talents. While your teen may lack motivation and interest at first, as they reengage with the world, they should start to feel better and regain their enthusiasm.

Promote volunteerism. Doing things for others is a powerful antidepressant and self-esteem booster. Help your teen find a cause they’re interested in and that gives them a sense of purpose. If you volunteer with them, it can also be a good bonding experience.

Make physical health a priority

Physical and mental health are inextricably connected. Depression is exacerbated by inactivity, inadequate sleep, and poor nutrition. Unfortunately, teens are known for their unhealthy habits: staying up late, eating junk food, and spending hours up hours on their phones and devices. But as a parent, you can combat these behaviors by establishing a healthy, supportive home environment.

Get your teen moving! Exercise is absolutely essential to mental health, so get your teen active—whatever it takes. Ideally, teens should be getting at least an hour of physical activity a day, but it needn’t be boring or miserable. Think outside the box: walking the dog, dancing, shooting hoops, going for a hike, riding bikes, skateboarding—as long as they’re moving, it’s beneficial.

Set limits on screen time. Teens often go online to escape their problems, but excessive computer use only increases their isolation, making them more depressed. When screen time goes up, physical activity and face time with friends goes down. Both are a recipe for worsening symptoms.

Provide nutritious, balanced meals. Make sure your teen is getting the nutrition they need for optimum brain health and mood support: things like healthy fatsquality protein, and fresh produce. Eating a lot of sugary, starchy foods—the quick “pick me up” of many depressed teens—is not going to make the body or brain happy.

Encourage plenty of sleep. Teens need more sleep than adults to function optimally—up to 9-10 hours per night. Make sure your teen isn’t staying up until all hours at the expense of much-need, mood-supporting rest.

Know when to seek professional help

Support and healthy lifestyle changes can make a world of difference for depressed teens, but it’s not always enough. When depression is severe, don’t hesitate to seek professional help from a psychologist or psychiatrist. A mental health professional with advanced training and a strong background treating teens is the best bet for your child’s care.

Involve your child in treatment choices

When choosing a specialist or pursuing treatment options, always get your teen’s input. If you want your teen to be motivated and engaged in their treatment, don’t ignore their preferences or make unilateral decisions. No one therapist is a miracle worker, and no one treatment works for everyone. If your child feels uncomfortable or is just not ’connecting’ with the psychologist or psychiatrist, seek out a better fit.

Explore your options

Expect a discussion with the specialist you’ve chosen about depression treatment options for your son or daughter. Talk therapy is often a good initial treatment for mild to moderate cases of depression. Over the course of therapy, your teen’s depression may resolve. If it doesn’t, medication may be warranted.

Unfortunately, some parents feel pushed into choosing antidepressant medication over other treatments that may be cost-prohibitive or time-intensive. However, unless your child is acting out dangerously or at risk for suicide (in which case medication and/or constant observation may be necessary), you have time to carefully weigh your options before committing to any one treatment. In all cases, antidepressants are most effective when part of a broader treatment plan.

Medication comes with risks

Antidepressants also come with risks and side effects of their own, including a number of safety concerns specific to children and young adults. They are also known to increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in some teenagers and young adults. Teens with bipolar disorder, a family history of bipolar disorder, or a history of previous suicide attempts are particularly vulnerable.

The risk of suicide is highest during the first two months of antidepressant treatment. Teenagers on antidepressants should be closely monitored for any sign that the depression is getting worse.

Teens on antidepressants: Red flags to watch out for

Call a doctor if you notice…

  • New or more thoughts of suicide
  • Suicidal gestures or attempts
  • New or worse depression
  • New or worse anxiety
  • Agitation or restlessness
  • Panic attacks
  • Difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
  • New or worse irritability
  • Aggressive, angry, or violent behavior
  • Acting on dangerous impulses
  • Hyperactive speech or behavior (mania)
  • Other unusual changes in behavior

Take care of yourself (and the rest of the family)

As a parent dealing with teen depression, you may find yourself focusing all your energy and attention on your depressed child. Meanwhile, you may be neglecting your own needs and the needs of other family members. However, it’s extremely important that you continue to take care of yourself during this difficult time.

Above all, this means reaching out for much needed support. You can’t do everything on your own. Trying is only a recipe for burnout. As the saying goes: “It takes a village.” Enlist the help of family and friends. Having your own support system in place will help you stay healthy and positive as you work to help your teen.

Don’t bottle up your emotions. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed, frustrated, helpless, or angry. Reach out to friends, join a support group, or see a therapist of your own. Talking about how you’re feeling will help defuse the intensity.

Look after your health. The stress of your teen’s depression can affect your own moods and emotions, so support your health and well-being by eating right, getting enough sleep, and making time for things you enjoy.

Be open with the family. Don’t tiptoe around the issue of teen depression in an attempt to “protect” the other children. Kids know when something is wrong. When left in the dark, their imaginations will often jump to far worse conclusions. Be open about what is going on and invite your children to ask questions and share their feelings.

Remember the siblings. Depression in one child can cause stress or anxiety in other family members, so make sure “healthy” children are not ignored. Siblings may need special individual attention or professional help of their own to handle their feelings about the situation.

Avoid the blame game. It can be easy to blame yourself or another family member for your teen’s depression, but it only adds to an already stressful situation. Furthermore, depression is normally caused by a number of factors, so it’s unlikely—except in the case of abuse or neglect—that any loved one is “responsible.”

Reporting Rape- WCED


If you have been raped or sexually assaulted, you can report this to the police. It is your choice whether to report, but if you do not report then your case will not be investigated or prosecuted. Police are not allowed to refuse to investigate your case if you report it. However, if there is too little evidence after an investigation by the police, a prosecutor may decide not to prosecute your case.

There is no time limit for reporting a rape case, while other sexual offences have a 20-year time limit. However, if you do not report quite soon after the rape happened then physical evidence may be lost and any witnesses may be difficult to find, which will make successful prosecution more difficult. Also, when you report, the police will take you to hospital where you will be given medication to prevent HIV/Aids. It is important to take this medication as soon as possible after being raped.

If you are a child, or reporting on behalf of a child, the case is dealt with in a different manner.



Call the Police 

You can report rape by going to the closest police station. You can also report rape by telephoning the closest police station. If you report by phone, the police will send a police van to fetch you. However, because the police van may not be available immediately, you may have to wait a long time to be fetched. If you are badly hurt, you should call an ambulance directly or the emergency number instead.

Usually, you are supposed to report rape at the police station closest to where the rape happened (which might be far away from where you live). However, if you have gone to another police station, the police are not allowed to send you away. They must do the first steps of the investigation, including opening a case docket and the medical examination, and give the case to the correct police station afterwards.

At the police station, you can ask to speak to a woman police official. However, a woman may not always be available. You do not have to give all the details of what happened in the charge office when reporting the rape. After you have said that you want to report a rape, you should be taken to a private space such as an office, or to the trauma room, which is a more comfortable room that often also has trained volunteers to help you. Most police stations have trauma rooms that are supposed to be open all the time, even on weekends and at night.


Making a Statement 

You need only give a brief statement of what happened and have the rape recorded in the occurrence book (a book in which all crimes are recorded) at the police station, before being taken to have a medical examination. You should try to give a detailed description of the rapist and where you last saw him immediately so that the police can try to arrest him as soon as possible.

You only need to give a detailed statement of what happened during the rape after the medical examination, usually a day or so later, when you have had some time. The detailed statement will be given to a detective (investigating officer) who will be the only police person to know about the details of the case.

Police Station:

  • Bothasig – 021 559 9400
  • Milnerton – 021 528 3800
  • FCS Milerton (Family Crisis and Sexual Offenses) – 021 528 3037   /     082 821 3447
  • Tableview – 021 521 3300
  • Goodwood – 021 592 4430
School refusal

When a child refuses to go to school, parents often experience a variety of emotions ranging from frustration to panic. Fear and frustration over a child’s seemingly oppositional behaviour, and concern for a child’s future are all valid concerns.

School refusal is usually a symptom of an underlying problem. Here are the most common reasons teens refuse to go to school:

1. Depression

Children with depression often complain of physical health problems, like stomach aches, nausea and headaches. They may simply say they don’t feel well enough to go to school. Sometimes, it takes a long time to rule out physical health problems and to gain a diagnosis of depression.

Teens with depression often appear more irritable than sad, which can cause their behaviour to be viewed as oppositional. Parents may think they have a troubled teen on their hands, rather than one with a mental health problem. But children with depression simply lack the energy and motivation to go to school.

2. Separation Anxiety

Sometimes, a child’s refusal to go to school has less to do with school and more to do with the fear of being separated from a primary caregiver. Separation anxiety is normal among preschool-age children, but sometimes, it can extend into the school years. Treatment from a mental health professional can help reduce a child’s distress.

3. Learning Disabilities

Learning disabilities are often at the root of school refusal. While some children feel frustrated and confused about why they struggle academically, others fear their peers will think they’re “stupid.” Unfortunately, learning disabilities often go undiagnosed for years. If you suspect your child may have a learning disability, educational testing can provide a clear picture of the problem.

4. Sleep Disorders

Children and teens with sleep disorders are often too exhausted to get out of bed in the morning. Despite a parent’s best efforts, a sleep-deprived child may not be able to wake up enough to get ready for school. Teens are often up late at night playing games or chatting on their phones. Make sure your teen gets 7-9 hours of sleep during the night.

5. Social Phobia

For children with social phobia, interacting with peers, giving a presentation in front of the class, or break time can be terrifying. Social phobia can get worse over time, and without appropriate treatment, kids may be at risk of ongoing mental health problems.

6. Panic Disorder

Panic attacks cause children’s anxiety to skyrocket out of the blue. Children with panic disorder are often terrified that a panic attack will occur while they’re at school, or in any other public place. They often only feel safe when they’re at home.

7. Poor Academic Performance

There are many reasons kids struggle academically and even gifted kids may have poor grades. But, repeatedly failing classes can de-motivate students to the point that they despise school. If your child struggles academically, seek help from the school and appropriate professionals so you can support your child’s academic success.

8. Bullying

The shame and fear associated with bullying leads many children to avoid school altogether. While some kids fear for their lives, others can’t bear the humiliation and isolation. If your child is being bullied, notify the school administration and insist that steps be taken to protect your child.

9. Family Problems

Lots of different types of family problems can interfere with a child’s willingness to go to school. Family-related illness, substance abuse, domestic violence, or divorce are just a few examples. A child may feel it’s his job to protect a family member or he may have adult-like responsibilities that interfere with school.

Talk to the school and a mental health care provider as soon as possible. They can assist you and provide support to your child. Parents often wait until it has gone too far. Allowing your teen to stay out of school once in a while, can easily turn into a habit and then a norm… making it extremely difficult for them to return to school again.

Setting Healthy Boundaries

Setting Healthy Boundaries

A healthy relationship requires the space to be yourself, to maintain your personal integrity. Most people will respect your boundaries when you explain what they are and will expect that you will do the same for them; it’s a two-way street.

For many of us our earliest experiences have been positive enough to allow us to adapt a trusting attitude when it comes to others. Some people, however, who have a great deal of difficulty with trust as a result of instability, inconsistency, invasion of boundaries, and even actual threat of harm or alienation at some point in their lives, may be more vulnerable, more open to boundary violations. Many in this situation may have “shaky” self-esteem, may fear the loss of a relationship (without even understanding how limiting or damaging it is to them), and/or have guilt about making someone angry or unhappy if they don’t engage. 

How do you know if your boundaries are being crossed? Generally, there are a few broad categories that comprise boundary violations: verbal, psychological, emotional, and physical:

  • Verbal violations include not allowing you to speak or be heard, raising their voice and/or screaming at you, saying things that are derogatory or inflammatory about your integrity and character, gossiping about you.
  • Psychological and emotional boundary violations include preying upon your sense of self and self-esteem, using what you’ve told them in confidence against you, lying to you, criticizing, demeaning, judging, or manipulating you, making fun of you, your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs, trying to make you feel guilty or responsible for them or a situation, making demands of your time and energy, shaming or embarrassing you.
  • Physical violations include moving into your personal space, touching you without permission, being inappropriate or too familiar, especially sexually, (including sexual references and overtures), violating your privacy (cell phone, computer, social media contacts), damaging or destroying your personal property, threatening you with physical harm.


Know yourself: Get to know yourself as best you can. This means that you need to learn what’s really important to you, what you really value apart from anyone else.

Take responsibility: This means to become aware, to develop the capacity for active conscious involvement, to know what needs to be done for yourself. By setting your own boundaries, you’re telling others how you want and expect to be treated; in other words, you are setting your limits about who can come into your space and what you expect of others once they’re there— how you want to be spoken to, touched, and treated psychologically and emotionally. Whatever you say goes, no matter what others may think, feel, or believe

Develop a healthy respect for yourself: All of your experiences, including the mistakes you’ve made help to shape your character—who you are. No one beside you, no matter how persuasive they may be, can define you or try to control who you are. When you respect yourself, all of who you are, you should expect that others will treat you with respect. If they don’t, that’s a clear sign not to engage.

Heed the warning signs: Stay away from anyone who has his or her own agenda and thinks nothing of pushing the limit, of invading your space for their own end. This is not a hard thing to recognize since there’s usually not much subtlety involved. In fact, the more you resist their attempts to engage you in a way that’s best for them, the more obvious, desperate, insulting, and shrill they may become as they try to up the ante.

You are in charge of your choices: You have the right to change your mind or your direction at any time. You don’t need to feel that you owe anyone anything more than you want to give with your free and conscious heart. Anyone who mistreats you, is disrespectful of your wishes, refuses to hear you, and has no intention of changing is trouble with a capital T. Be ready to walk away without fear or guilt, and don’t look back.

Stress Management


Stress is your body’s way of responding to any kind of demand, change or threat. When you sense danger (whether it’s real or imagined, the body’s defences kick into high gear in a rapid, automatic process known as the “fight-or-flight” Reaction. (Abnormal Child Psychology: Third Edition, Mash & Wolfe, 2005).

The most stressful life events:


  1. Death
  2. Divorce
  3. Well-being of child
  4. Imprisonment
  5. Finances
  6. Personal injury or illness
  7. Marriage
  8. Dismissal from work
  9. Work
  10. Retirement

Children/ Teens:

  1. Death
  2. Unplanned pregnancy/abortion
  3. Divorce of parents
  4. Acquiring a visible deformity or injury
  5. Academic performance
  6. Jail sentence of a parent
  7. Relocating/ change of schools
  8. Well-being of family member or friend
  9. Change in acceptance by peers
  10. Thoughts about future

Stress develops because of these external and internal factors. It challenges your physical health and your emotional and psychological well-being. Therefore, it is important to look out for warning signs when you are going through any kind of life change or challenge.


Stress is your body’s way of responding to any kind of demand, change or threat. When you sense danger (whether it’s real or imagined, the body’s defences kick into high gear in a rapid, automatic process known as the “fight-or-flight” Reaction. (Abnormal Child Psychology: Third Edition, Mash & Wolfe, 2005).

The most stressful life events:


  1. Death
  2. Divorce
  3. Well-being of child
  4. Imprisonment
  5. Finances
  6. Personal injury or illness
  7. Marriage
  8. Dismissal from work
  9. Work
  10. Retirement

Children/ Teens:

  1. Death
  2. Unplanned pregnancy/abortion
  3. Divorce of parents
  4. Acquiring a visible deformity or injury
  5. Academic performance
  6. Jail sentence of a parent
  7. Relocating/ change of schools
  8. Well-being of family member or friend
  9. Change in acceptance by peers
  10. Thoughts about future

Stress develops because of these external and internal factors. It challenges your physical health and your emotional and psychological well-being. Therefore, it is important to look out for warning signs when you are going through any kind of life change or challenge.

Do a free online stress test by following the following links:


How is stress different from fear, panic and anxiety?

Fear – Is an immediate alarm reaction to current danger or thread. For example, when you see a snake when going on a hike or burglar when you are home alone. In any scary situation like this, your body assesses the danger you are in and goes into an automatic fight, flight and freeze mode.

Panic – Is a fight, flight or freeze response that unexpectedly occur in the absence of any obvious threat. For example worrying if your mom will remember to pick you up from school even though she always remember, or fearing you will fail a test even though you studied really hard.

Panic Attack – Panic attacks involve sudden feelings of terror that strike without warning. These episodes can occur at any time, even during sleep. People experiencing a panic attack may believe they are having a heart attack or they are dying or going crazy. The fear and terror that a person experiences during a panic attack are not in proportion to the true situation and may be unrelated to what is happening around them.

If you are experiencing 4 or more of these symptoms, intensely and all at the same time, you could be having a panic attack.

  • “racing” heart
  • Feeling weak, faint, or dizzy
  • Tingling or numbness in hands and fingers
  • Sense of terror, or impending doom or death
  • Feeling sweaty

Panic attacks are generally brief, lasting less than 10 minutes, although some of the symptoms may persist for a longer time. People who have had one panic attack are at greater risk for having subsequent panic attacks. If the attacks occur repeatedly, and there is worry about having more episodes, a person is considered to have a condition known as panic disorder.

Anxiety – A state of mood characterised by strong negative emotion and bodily symptoms of tension in which you anticipate future danger or misfortune.

We all have normal worries and fears from time to time. There are also some fears and anxieties that are normal for our developmental stage. But when your worries and fears are stealing you of your joy and everyday functioning, it might be a disorder and in such a case medical treatment and therapy should looked into.

For more on  anxiety go to the following link the

When is fear or anxiety a problem?

Fear is a very normal part of growing up. It is a sign that your child is starting to understand the world and the way it works, and that they are trying to make sense of what it means for them. With time and experience, they will come to figure out for themselves that the things that seem scary aren’t so scary after all. Over time, they will also realise that they have an incredible capacity to cope.

Fears can certainly cause a lot of cause distress, not only for the kids and teens who have the fears,but also for the people who care about them. It’s important to remember that fears at certain ages are completely appropriate and in no way are a sign of abnormality. 

The truth is, there really is no such thing as an abnormal fear, but some kids and teens will have fears that are more intense and intrusive. Even fears that seem quite odd at first, will make sense in some way.

For example, a child who does not want to be separated from you is likely to be thinking the same thing we all think about the people we love – what if something happens to you while you are away from them? A child who is scared of balloons would have probably experienced that jarring, terrifying panic that comes with the boom. It’s an awful feeling. Although we know it passes within moments, for a child who is still getting used to the world, the threat of that panicked feeling can be overwhelming. It can be enough to teach them that balloons pretend to be fun, but they’ll turn fierce without warning and the first thing you’ll know is the boom. #not-fun-you-guys

Worry becomes a problem when it causes a problem. If it’s a problem for your child or teen, then it’s a problem. When the fear seems to direct most of your child’s behaviour or the day to day life of the family (sleep, family outings, routines, going to school, friendships), it’s likely the fear has become too pushy and it’s time to pull things back.


1. Ambulance 10177  
2. N1 Hospital 021 590 4444  
3. Bothasig Police 021 559 9400  
4. Milnerton Police 021 528 3800  
5. Life Line 086 133 2332  
6. Child Line 0800 055 555  
7. Safe Schools 0800 45 46 47  
8. Crime Stop 086 001 0111  
10. Hope House 021 522 9228 counselling
11 FAMSA 021 447 0170 counselling
12. AKESO clinic 086 143 5787  
13. Substance Abuse 080 012 1314 021 447 8026
14. SANCA 021 919 9557 Substance abuse
15. Eating Disorders 021 938 4571  
16. Rape Crisis 021 447 9762 021 447 1467
17 Karl Bremer- Thuthuzela Care Centre 021 447 1467  
18. Bothasig Clinic 021 558 5010  
19. SADAG 011 783 1474 depression
20. Anxiety & Depression 021 763 4500  
21. Love Life 0800 121 900 sexual health
22. Suicide Emergency 0800 567 567  

Drug and rehabilitation clinics:

  • Cape Town Drug Counseling Centre – 021 447 8026
  • 24/7 Drug Helpline – 080 043 5748
  • Crescent Clinic Kenilworth – 021 762 7666
  • Durbanville Treatment Centre – 021 975 4927
  • RAMOT – 021 939 2033



Career guidance

Elizabeth Smit

021 460 3399


021 650 2497

Appointments on Saturdays


Centre for Student Recruitment & Career Advice

021 808 4709 / 021 808 2371