Pressure. For children and teenagers, it’s everywhere at the moment.
Pressure at home. Pressure at school. Pressure from friends. Pressure from parents.
Pressure is something that tends to be overlooked, but it plays a major role in an adolescent’s general wellbeing. The pressure is beginning to build right now, in the approach to the exam season.
Be it SATS, GCSEs or other examinations on the agenda, young people all over the UK are entering a stressful period in their lives. Be it in Year Six, Years Nine, Ten or Eleven, demands are being made and not all cope well.
The pressure might come from parents, or it might come from peers. It could come from the school and from those in its employ, or it might have an internal origin. Young people put immense pressure on themselves to succeed and the fear of failure to meet such great expectations can be crushing. Stress is the root cause of many of the issues we encounter at this time of year and exams are often at its heart.
You want what’s best for your children – most parents do – but our approach as adults, however well-intentioned, may not always help. It depends on the circumstances and the child. You might offer an incentive, but for some this just cranks the pressure up further.
Children may face competition from contemporaries determined to get ahead in the race for life chances (even at this age), whilst schools – mindful of issues such as funding and league tables – often fan the stress flames, albeit inadvertently. However, it’s the internal pressure – to impress and to please, to maximise opportunities in life and to live up to expectations – that is often the greatest. This is something that we – as parents, as mental health professionals and, in general, as adults – must recognise and remember at all times, for our own approach to this difficult time must be tailored to take such things into account.
Don’t forget that children and teenagers have a great deal going on. In addition to approaching exams, there are the issues of normal adolescence to face. Young people get tired and struggle to cope with all the demands that are being placed on them. Think about it: it’s understandable.
Regular desires – to see friends, to have fun – are still there. Managing time, like managing expectations, can be a complicated business when you’re being pulled in several directions.
Stress is inevitable and necessary. Learning to manage it is important in any child’s development. What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger. But for some at times the balance can tip over into causing damage.
It’s something to bear in mind during the coming weeks and months because this is always a difficult period and not everyone can be expected to cope.
Pressure is everywhere and pressure leads to problems.
Concerned about YOUR child? Give our experienced team a call on 01661 852325.