Is All That Stress Necessary? It’s Time To Rethink Some Things…

For many teens, adulthood seems like an oasis compared to the life they are living as high school students right now. They put in the same number of hours, yet have many more hours of homework ahead of them when they get home. Getting home may vary by four additional hours if they are involved in a sport or other performing arts. The mental and physical exhaustion is real and it is relentless. Students are constantly reminded how important grades are, how getting into a “good” college will make or break their lives. Some of this pressure is self-imposed, but mostly it comes from home. Parents are keenly aware of the increasingly high-tech economy and how this will require their students to have superior skills if they expect to land a good job. So, if it seems like your student is under intense pressure, you’re right !!
Conversations with students who complain about feeling pressure from home say they are not able to enjoy their high school years due to the fear instilled in them from as early as 4th grade to “do good in school, grades matter, you’ll never get a good job/get accepted good college, or be someone”. This chronic pressure has an overwhelmingly negative affect on the mental health of students across the nation. While some of the concerns are justified, other times the focus is too far ahead and not keeping their student’s life in balance NOW. Watching for signs of stress is the first step in helping your student.
Are they: irritable, depressed, or exhausted? If so, schoolwork may suffer. If this is consistent it’s time to insist they give up one or more activities. To demand your C student to start pulling A’s junior year is not only unreasonable but may very well set them up for failure and discouragement. A better way to measure progress is in small steps. Understanding a concept 1st, then offer encouragement to get a B on a quiz and move up from there. If it falls short, reevaluate whether or not the bar was set too high and adjust. Never demand your student to produce a better grade, but encourage them to be lifelong learners for the sake of learning, not just the grade.
But first…Have a wonderfully relaxed and stress-free summer everyone!!

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