Tatler Experts’ Corner addresses how we can best prepare the next generation for their future, exploring key themes such as mental wellbeing, family dynamics and conflict.
Our founder, Jessica, spoke to Tatler and shared advice for parents on the struggles that children from affluent families may face, and how parents can support their children in becoming self-sufficient and happy. To read the article in full, click here: https://www.tatler.com/article/privileged-children-are-unhappy
Tatler Experts’ Corner
Tsitsi Mutendi speaks on the everyday issues that affect Family Businesses and Family Enterprises. Focusing on the essential conversations such as Family Governance, Succession Planning and the intricacies that affect transitioning between generations, having multigenerational families, and managing wealth and the impact of wealth.
Our Founder, Jessica, spoke to Tsitsi on the education of next-gen, discussing whether it should happen earlier and why.
Beginning university can be an overwhelming time for anyone, but especially for those families who are moving to the UK from abroad for their education. With so many factors to consider, from deciding which universities to apply for, to finding the ideal accommodation, it is important to ensure you are getting the right support.
Adolescence is a long developmental journey: it is exciting and challenging for both parents and teens – Parents are expected to provide protection, comfort, and guidance and to promote their children’s healthy independence; teens are expected to develop a greater capacity to rely on themselves, rather than excessively on their parents so that they can make decisions independently and follow through.
Our Founder, Jessica, spoke to Qineticare on how adolescent individuation plays out and how to facilitate healthy individuation. To watch the webinar in full, click here: https://qineticare.com/webinar-videos/
Individuation is a natural, life-long process in which a person develops their self-identity as an individual. While they maintain their attachment and connections with others, they increasingly differentiate themselves from their environment. Adolescence is a crucial timeframe for individuation as teenagers prepare for their transition into adulthood. They learn to take over the tasks of self-esteem regulation and self-definition, previously provided by caregivers, and become increasingly independent from their parents. Often, this can be a challenging time for all family members. As adolescents explore and form their own distinct identity, they will often test boundaries, directly challenge family values, demand more privacy and experiment with behaviours, friend groups and values. This can be likened to teenagers researching themselves and learning via trial-and-error which interests, ideas and friends feel authentic to them.
Teenagers often want to spend less time with their family and share less of their lives than they previously did, while also questioning or directly challenging parents’ ideological and moral standpoints, from religious and political stances to family rules and attitudes towards fashion, drugs or relationships. Friends are hugely influential as adolescents seek to establish a healthy level of dependence on their parents. Healthy peer groups offer the opportunity for an individuating teen to “try on” their experimental identities before settling on a more stable, adult self. While these shifts, experimental behaviours and even acts of rebellion can be hurtful and hard to understand, accepting and providing a space for individuation is an important duty as a parent.
After adolescence, successfully individuated young adults will have developed an autonomous sense of self, harmonious with the commitments and dynamics of familial and social units. However, sometimes family dynamics can prevent individuation from happening. In the short term, this may be seen as desirable by parents because their children will seem to remain closer to them and be more likely to share parents’ values, opinions, and goals, however it can be detrimental in the longer term. When individuation is delayed until an adolescent has left the family home, it is often more extreme, sometimes resulting in dangerous, damaging or illegal behaviours. When young adults have no clear sense of their identity, goals and values, they may struggle to plan for the future and with finding success and satisfaction as they navigate higher education and employment. They may have a distrust in their ability to make decisions and a fear of making mistakes. The patters of co-dependency they have formed with their parents can carry through into their personal and romantic relationships, causing long-term marital and family dysfunction.
So what can parents do to support their child and facilitate this vital process of individuation? One area to focus on, as it is a major source of conflict, is how they choose to communicate. When self-esteem and identity are fragile, even well-intended questions can be perceived as criticism, so it is important to be mindful. While they may disapprove of certain behaviours, parents should also make clear what they respect and admire about their children’s new independence and the people they are becoming. Adolescence is a good time to connect by sharing your own failures in life with your children and to open up discussions that allow teenagers to explore their values. Finally, it can be helpful to let adolescents dictate, within reason, how much contact they would like and how much privacy they need. However, it is vital to make sure that your child knows that you are interested and available should they need you, and that you will support them as they navigate their own identity.
Tatler HNW Guide
We are delighted that our Founder, Jessica, has been invited as a founding member of the Tatler Magazine High Net Worth Guide: A Bespoke Hub of Private Client Advisers.
Jessica is a Consulting Psychologist and the CEO and Founder of Dallington Associates. Her expertise is in mentoring next-gen young adults, helping them to become the happy, competent and fulfilled people they want to be.
Now fondly referred to by some of her clients as their very own Mary Poppins, Jessica has built a highly qualified and experienced team at Dallington, offering practical, educational and psychological support to young people. Her personal and professional experience uniquely positions her to be able to understand the challenges of transition from the perspectives of both the parent and child. Many of her clients are grateful for her ability to bridge the generational communication gap. Dallington also offers a unique curriculum, focused on the next generation.
Leaders and experts from key fields deliver unrivalled insight into specific areas including boardroom engagement, family office management, art curation, and an economics course with a focus on family wealth and philanthropy. An avid believer in contributing to her community, Jessica is a mother, Trustee of the Cassandra Learning Centre, a charity supporting victims of domestic abuse, and a Governor of the Mossbourne Victoria Park Academy.
Tatler HNW Guide
Moving Back In
Beginning university is a formative time, not only for students who are adjusting to their newfound independence and living away from home for the first time, but also for their parents who are coming to terms with their new distanced relationship with their child. Whilst university students will be away from home for long periods of time, university holidays are also long, so parents will find their adolescents returning home for extended periods of time. During this time, parenting takes a new form that is less about being a parent and more about forming a mutual partnership with their adolescent. For many parents, this transition can be challenging.
Below are some tips on how to live with your returning university student.
Respect boundaries: When university students return home, it’s possible that they will distance themselves from their parents. Parents who have previously had a close relationship with their children when they were younger may feel hurt if they sense their child pulling away. While it is natural for parents to feel this way, it is important to remember that adolescents need to distance themselves in order to be able to define their own identity, learn how to make their own decisions and stand on their own two feet.
Show confidence: After long periods of time with little contact with their adolescent, many parents may find it hard to resist probing about their child’s personal life, university work and future plans when they have the opportunity. Whilst this is coming from a good place, some adolescents may not welcome this. Adolescents will appreciate it if they feel that their parents have faith in their ability to take responsibility for their own life and are treating them as adults. Adolescents may be willing to share more if asked less. Over-involved parenting can be damaging in the long-term as adolescents need to prepare to enter the ‘real world’ by themselves.
Be sensitive: Parents may find their adolescents behaviour challenging and hard to understand on return home. Although this may be frustrating, it’s important to remember that beginning university can be a stressful and overwhelming time for students. Pressure to perform well academically, maintain a healthy social life, and adapt to the new responsibilities that come with living independently can get on top of students. Parents need to ensure that their child knows that they can come to them should they need support.
Set expectations: Whilst old rules such as setting curfews will not be appropriate anymore, it is a good idea to establish a level of respect when your adolescent returns home to avoid unnecessary confusion or conflict. For example, if you expect your adolescent to do their own washing and eat dinner with the family, ensure that they are aware of this. It may be tempting to pick up where you left off, cleaning up after your adolescent and cooking every meal, but remember that they are fully capable of handling these tasks on their own now. While it is perfectly reasonable to have set house rules, it’s also important to recognise that returning university students are now living separate lives with different sets of rules to those they had before going to university. Parents cannot expect to make drastic changes to their adolescents’ life and freedom when they return home.
Author: Lily Dottore, Executive Assistant
Moving Back In
Budgeting at Uni
When starting your new life as a university student, budgeting may understandably not present as the most exciting exercise on your task list, however it is a crucial one, especially if this is the first time you have had to manage your own money. Understanding the value of and reasons behind budgeting, beyond the obvious reason of saving money, can help serve as a motivation.
Why set a budget?
To learn the value of money: As you are studying to build your future, grasping an understanding of money as a finite resource is a key part of this. This can complement academia nicely by generating motivation for your early career moves, and informing your goal setting for the future.
To gain a sense of autonomy: Being in charge of your own spending is an empowering feeling. Not only is budgeting about restricting your spending, it also means you can choose when and how you do spend your money.
For self-esteem: As with mastering any activity, once you have built the confidence in your ability to spend and manage your money, a very adult trait, this will contribute positively to how you feel in yourself as you transition into adulthood.
To achieve your goals: It is likely that you will be confronted with the expectation to cover longer-term wants within your allocated budget. Resisting feeling cash-rich in the present and understanding what you must save to achieve your longer-term goals and larger purchases is one of the many practical advantages of budgeting.
To build credit: Harmless things such as bills bouncing back or forgetting to pay invoices on time can impact your credit score. While this may seem harmless as a first or second-year student, the consequences will hit later on when you try to rent a flat or buy anything on a finance package for the first time. Setting your budget with regular reminders of due dates or enabling direct debits for your bills, will help eliminate these moments.
In the lead-up to the beginning academic year, many universities have announced that they will be using a combination of in-person and online learning for the autumn term and potentially beyond. As students continue to adjust to this new approach to education, we encourage you to take part in both options as long as it is possible and safe to do so. Both virtual and face-to-face instruction offer unique benefits, but also disadvantages. While combining them may initially be challenging, it provides the opportunity to truly make the most of each while also taking advantage of the other.
More young people than ever are beginning to develop an awareness of their general health and wellbeing, eating healthily and exercising. In addition, they are becoming aware of the impact of alcohol and recreational drugs on their bodies and minds.
Alcohol and recreational drugs are often viewed as a part of university life, a way of letting go and having fun, a reward for studying hard, giving students a sense of belonging. Students may have a fear of missing out if they are not drinking, smoking or experimenting with drugs.
However, many students are beginning to question the potential impact of participating in taking alcohol or recreational drugs, and realising that there are many consequences, a major one being on their health. Hangovers, which create a chemical interference in the brain, make any form of concentration much more difficult and can induce a wide range of physical and emotional ill-effects such as lethargy and anxiety.
Binge drinking is something that appears to have become synonymous with University life in western countries. As teenagers leave home for the first time, drinking and taking drugs seem to be part of the course, offering relief from hectic class schedules, exams and deadlines. Students celebrate success and failure with a party.
Unfortunately – and avoidably – some students go on to develop an addiction and mental health issues. Patterns of behaviour that develop in these formative years can stay long after university and become ways of coping for later life, so the development of alternative strategies and healthier ways of coping is essential and to be encouraged.
Staying sober may feel like an impossible task when feeling the need to belong and to have fun, however many universities have begun to offer provisions for this, such as recovery programmes, NA and AA meetings, sober housing etc. In addition to taking advantage of available support, it can help to explore the many ways to have fun and be social whilst remaining sober.
Here are a few tips to stay sober and look after your health and wellbeing:
Check out recovery programmes
If you have any concerns at all concerning sobriety, join a university recovery programme and attend meetings. It can incredibly helpful to know that you have a community of others who are also committed to staying sober. There are often also options for sober housing.
Engage in fun
Unis offer a wide variety of entertainment, and there is far more on offer than just bars. Examples include coffee shops, art galleries, music nights, comedy clubs, movies, and bowling etc.
Try out sober bars and parties
A social get-together can be focused around good games, good food and healthy non-alcoholic beverages. Food crawls can be a fun option instead of pub-crawls. Host your own sober party.
Join a team or club
There are a huge variety of interest-based groups, from physical activity and sports to subject matters from social justice to environmentalism.
Develop support mechanisms
Try developing your own strategies in order to keep you sober, such as thinking of assertive ways to turn down a drink, having the support of another sober friend when you go out, and having an exit plan if you feel like leaving. Knowing that you have a way out of situations you feel uncomfortable in can help you feel confident in your sobriety.
General coping strategies
It is important to develop coping strategies other than drinking or taking drugs to deal with stress. Ideas to reduce stress include mindfulness and meditation, journaling or taking up yoga. Explore to find other healthy coping strategies that work well for you.
Developing alternative ways of coping
Listen to your physical needs and to your emotions. The healthier you are, the more capable you will be of making good decisions and staying away from alcohol and drugs. Develop alternative ways of coping with difficult feelings and ensure you always have general support from trusted family or friends.
In conclusion, sobriety can be the healthy way forward, a way of looking after the self fully, keeping a clear head, staying on track with your goals and yet still not missing out on the fun. Give the strategies and resources mentioned above a try, it may not as hard as you might think, in fact overall they may make life a lot easier!
Author: Christina Mardell-Walsh, Head of Student Wellbeing
Sobriety at University
Making an Altar
How often do you feel like escaping? Just getting away from it all? It is possible to create your own little sanctuary, a corner of the world that is just for you. While the term altar is often connected to religious settings, it really means any space that is sacred.
Making an altar is a way of creating such a sanctuary and it can be created even in a tiny space. Sacred spaces make us feel comfortable, welcomed, supported, and loved. They are vital containers of positive intention and action.
An expressive space for memories, intention and purpose, an altar is a lovely opportunity to focus our attention on what we are grateful for and what we want to manifest, and to define our sources of inspiration. With life moving as fast as it does, it can be all too easy to lose sight of our hopes, dreams, passions, and all the love and beauty that surrounds us.
Remembering and meditating on this within the framework of an altar, we remember what is important to us and invite ourselves to turn inwards and explore our inner skies with clear intentions. Making your own devotional altar in the home is a wonderful creative process, like a living diary of where we have been and what we have experienced, a physical reflection of what matters to us the most and where we are at in our lives and relationships. Read more
Making an Altar
Doing Things Badly
In today’s fast-paced world, it can sometimes feel like being productive at all times is the only way to keep up. We may feel the need to streamline our lives, multi-tasking, optimising, and making the most out of every minute of our day. While there is of course nothing wrong with aiming for success in areas of our lives where we feel it matters, such as in academics or our careers, feeling the need to be productive and perform well at all times can be stressful.
This can make it difficult to enjoy or even engage in any activity that we do not perceive ourselves to be good at, or that does not seem to have any immediate gratification. However, it is important to remember that not everything we do needs to be productive. Acknowledging that we cannot and -more importantly- need not perform well on every activity we take part in allows us to truly enjoy and get the most out of these. Read more
Doing Things Badly
Mindfulness has seen a surge in popularity in the past few decades. A number of scientific papers have drawn our attention to its benefits, which include dealing with stress, improving productivity, improving our wellbeing, and even boosting our physical health. University can be a stressful time for students who are trying to balance their studies, social life and often the pressure of being away from home and loved ones for the first time. Mindfulness practices have been suggested to help students by boosting levels of attention and concentration and reducing anxiety.
Despite the recent buzz, as a concept, mindfulness has actually been around for thousands of years as part of Zen Buddhist traditions and as an element of yoga. In its most basic form, mindfulness is ‘knowing directly what is going on inside and outside ourselves, moment by moment’, says Professor Mark Williams, former director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre.
The benefits of mindfulness are compelling, but is our obsession with filling every minute of the day with purposeful activity becoming problematic? While we aim to be consciously aware of the world around us, do you sometimes just switch on autopilot? Is it okay to just be ‘mindless’? Read more
The current COVID-19 pandemic has caused a great deal of uncertainty in all aspects of our lives. For students, whose studies have been impacted in the current term, there is continuing ambiguity on the nature of studying in the coming academic year. Those completing their courses this summer are graduating into a very different world than they had anticipated, and many may be facing uncertainty about further studies or career opportunities with their original plans in limbo.
Uncertainty can be very difficult to deal with. When we know what is coming, we are able to prepare for it. Not being able to do so can be a great source of anxiety. Coming to terms with uncertainty means acknowledging our inability to control certain things,
If anything, the current situation has shown just how dependent -and even fragile- many of the things we take for granted are…the ability to travel, and see our friends, or even move in public without being acutely aware of our proximity to others. Having to acknowledge, for some of us perhaps for the first time in our lives, that there is an innate uncertainty in everything can be an intimidating thought. Read more
Kindness Matters: Mental Health Awareness Week 2020
Mental Health Awareness Week has chosen kindness as its theme this year, largely as a response and acknowledgement of the widespread kindness we are witnessing on a global-scale during the Covid-19 pandemic.
An Efficient Way of Boosting Wellbeing
Kindness, as a quality, has been researched and demonstrated to be linked to countless benefits; improving our mood, buffering against stress, even bolstering our immune system and heart health.
Most often kindness can be conceptualised as acts of service that are driven by warm, genuine feelings towards others. What really gives kindness its competitive edge, beyond other qualities, is how reciprocal these benefits for wellbeing can be. Simply put, kindness is contagious. It is one of the primary vehicles to strengthening our social connections. Read more
1. Our business is knowledge – knowledge is information acquired through experience or education.
2. With knowledge comes understanding and the ability to make better choices.
3. Everything is relative but don’t forget the wider perspective.
4. It’s always about the student. It’s never about us.
5. We call our clients ‘students’ because that is what they are. Regardless of whether or not they are in formal education, they are students of themselves.
6. Change is not progress, but progress requires change.
7. The path of progress is not always smooth, but it is the commitment to the progress that counts.
8. We are unapologetically relatable and real.
9. We will always do right by our students and tell them what they need to hear, even if it isn’t always what they want to hear.
10. Physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development are all important and connected.
These are our principles. We encourage our students to create their own.
Emotions During Lockdown
What are emotions? Why are we currently experiencing so many conflicting emotions? And how can we develop emotional agility?
Speaking at the Stonehage Fleming Next Generation WTF 2020 Conference, Jessica explains the common misconceptions around emotions, why lockdown feels similar to grief, and how we can be more compassionate with ourselves.
Should we be worried by the apparent surge in user screen time globally?
Yes and No. Despite the potential for overuse, screen time is currently providing many of us with an extremely helpful link to other people. It allows us to connect with friends and family we may not be able to see in the current circumstances and also to continue our studies or work, which can help maintain a sense of purpose during an uncertain time. Loneliness can be a big problem when self-isolating, in fact, 31% of those who self-quarantined during the SARS outbreak suffered from depression in the aftermath of it, so it is vital to maintain social connections and friendships during this time.
However, if screen time is not monitored and being used (consciously or not) to further isolate and disconnect, the mental health repercussions could be dire. Some of the key symptoms of overuse are sleep deprivation, depression and anxiety, affective responses, a lack of focus and motivation, and negative self-image. Read more
Lockdown Screen Time
Philosophy for Living
At Dallington, we encourage all our students to design their own unique philosophy for living.
We say living instead of life because this is a process that will evolve and change as they do. The commitment to the process of building a philosophy is far more important than the finished outcome.
Why is this so important? There are some challenges in life that can be avoided, like not being late by setting an alarm, or filling up your car with petrol when you are on the road so you don’t break down, but there are bigger challenges that we cannot avoid or have control over.
Having a personal philosophy is like having your own personal WAZE or GPS built in. It’s a compass and a comfort. Ultimately, it can increase your happiness by ensuring your endeavours are aimed at an output that you have designed.
What is resilience? How may we get reacquainted with our inner resilience? Why do we need to get comfortable with, and celebrate the importance of failure?
As part of Dallington’s Spring 2020 Curriculum, Farah, Head of Student Care and Development, held a workshop for our students on building resilience. It addressed understanding why we can gain more from our failures than our successes, and how we can train ourselves to welcome, rather than shy away from, criticism. Through exploring the key traits of resilience, actionable strategies were provided for students to reflect on. Read more
How to Build Resilience
It is far easier to be busy and distracted than it is to be bored – but it’s worth getting bored because that’s where our creativity lives. When we are bored our minds turn to a seeking state, but unfortunately, we are so used to external stimulation that we have forgotten how to tap into our internal neural stimulation.
Training yourself to not just tolerate, but to embrace boredom is also the best way of getting in touch with the authentic you. As such, the creative ideas that come from this state are also authentic.
If we cannot tolerate boredom, and distract ourselves by watching tv or scrolling through Instagram, we end up unconsciously regurgitating other people’s ideas.
This isn’t helped by digital and social media companies who spend millions every year on working out how to keep you online for as long as possible. They exploit the same neuropathways that other addictive activities do to drive and maintain your engagement with their apps.
In addition to this, for some of us, it may be daunting to be bored, because our minds will go to places we are not comfortable with and, bring up memories or emotions that we are not ready to deal with – but it doesn’t mean they’re not there.
By practicing the art of boredom, we are giving ourselves the chance to know ourselves a bit better. Yes, there is the risk that something bubbles up we weren’t expecting, but we also run the risk of creating something wonderful.
Author: Jessica McGawley, Principal and Founder
It is more important than ever to look after and boost our immune system.
Stress makes our immune system function at a suboptimal level because it triggers the production of cortisol, the main stress hormone and one of the biggest immunosuppressants. Meditation combats stress: as we create more internal space, we calm the nervous system, it is no longer in fight or flight mode, it is at peace. Therefore, anxiety is reduced and a sense of calm is induced in the mind.
For our students, this can be especially helpful during times of stress…
such as exam periods and waiting on application results. Reducing anxiety through meditation can help us perform at our best while maintaining our mental health. Meditation de-excites the nervous system and allows the body to rest and heal itself. Other health benefits include blood pressure reduction and reduced heart rate.
Visualizations can help us reprogram old fight-or-flight stress reactions…
and move into a “stay and play” mindset. When we were children, we always used our imaginations in our creative play, as adults we often forget how to do this. Visualization encourages this playful aspect of the self. Read more
This report provides a snapshot of global high net worth (HNW) and ultra-high net worth education trends and assesses where the UK fits in. A survey and in-depth interviews with HNW advisers inform the report. The publication includes insight into the connection between property and education choices, a review of current visas available for students coming to the UK, a guide to university choices and a look at special educational considerations in educating the next generation of wealthy families.
Preparing for University – Achieving Peace of Mind
In September 2017, the Obamas helped their eldest daughter, Malia, move to Harvard to begin her university career. Upon leaving her dorm, Barack likened the experience to “open-heart surgery”, reminding us that the transition from school to University is a significant one for both the student and parent.
The final years of formal education arguably have the greatest impact on our futures, but they also mark one of the periods of greatest change in our lives. The move from living at home or at boarding school to the independence of university is a big one and not to be sniffed at. It means changes for your child, changes for you, and changes for your relationship.
This time of transition can be an emotional one and it’s natural to feel some concern as to how your child will integrate into a new academic environment, let alone a new city, country, and culture. This is a hugely exciting time for a student, but it can also be daunting. Read more
Preparing for University – Achieving Peace of Mind
Beware the Dopamine Loop
Speaking at the Stonehage Fleming Next-Gen course in London, Jessica asks students “As our digital world becomes more entwined with our reality, are we in control of it, or is it in control of us?”
At Dallington, we run private or group presentations and workshops for both parents and students to help develop an understanding of the impact digital engagement and social media interaction have on our personal health and wellbeing. We help our students reflect on their digital habits and give them practical tools and methods to help maintain a balanced approach to social media and screen time.
Beware the Dopamine Loop