The Thistle - An E-Newsletter of Scotch College, Perth, Western Australia

Focusing on the Strengths in our Boys

As the psychologist in the Junior School and one of the psychologists in the Senior School, it is enjoyable to witness the similarities and differences between the boys in their respective sub schools. A commonality between some of the boys is the desire to 'compete and compare'. It is natural to compare ourselves to those around us. Comparing ourselves to others can sometimes be beneficial as it can lead us to try new things and grow our skillset. However, when we compare ourselves to others too often, it can become problematic. We know that if boys solely focus on others around them and not on their own strengths, it can contribute to them developing mental health issues. Many boys who suffer from anxiety and depression, continually compare themselves to others. When this is explored further, it is suggested that boys are putting too much of their energy into focusing on their peers strengths and are unconsciously minimising their own. As they continue to focus on their peers a cycle can occur. Within the cycle, boys focus on their peers strengths, unconsciously ignore their own and then begin to magnify the traits that they consider to be their weaknesses.


In an effort to break the cycle and assist your son in not always comparing himself, there are a few things that we can do to assist him.

  • Acknowledge that your son is frustrated with the situation.
  • Discuss with your son how he can improve and build upon his strengths.
  • Remind your son that it is impossible to excel at everything.
  • Encourage your son to praise his peers for their strengths.
  • Remind your son that he excels in his own way.
  • Praise your son for things he does well, whilst he is doing them.

Mr Jon Marginis
Psychologist in the Senior and Junior School