One third of students in a long term research study were found to have moderate to severe symptoms of stress. Signs of stress included feeling worthless, being nervous, thinking things were hopeless, and being so depressed that nothing could cheer them up. Older students were also worried about student debt and the job market.
One third! And the number is rising! This is a big problem.
Stress has long term consequences on a student’s ability to learn and may even effect his or her health and well being. Stressed out and unhappy students can withdraw and this causes difficulty with family relationships.
It is too easy to say kids are stressed because the list of things he or she is expected to do and to learn keeps on growing. The real reason is not about what others expect but that students not not have the skills to solve the problems that are causing the stress. We need to prepare children by giving them the skills they need to cope with the challenges they are facing.
Who can do this? Schools try but they have limits to what they can achieve. Parents must help. Parents are the ones who can ensure children develop the self confidence and self esteem to know they can handle challenges, to see failures as learning opportunities, and to maintain a good attitude about the future and ward off depression. These are some of the basic skills that all children need.
The problem is no one is helping parents help children develop these skills. Parents are left on their own, trying to do the best they can. I know, I have work with many parents who are desperate to know what they can do to support their child’s situation.
Before we start to condemn students for spending too much time on social media, teachers for expecting students to do too much, and parents from neglecting to provide children with the support they need we should provide parents with the ways and means of stress proofing children.
Only then will students have the skills they need to handle the challenges that face them on a daily basis.
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