Academic Pressure for teenagers today is an insurmountable, necessary evil. To beat fierce competition and surpass mediocrity to reach new levels of excellence is an everyday hurdle. A hurdle that needs to be conquered, in the course of which they build a strong foundation for their future. A future which is relatively hazy, and depends primarily on their academic prowess and grades. To be able to get into a reputed university and choose a field of study that they have a natural aptitude and passion for is a goal that every teenager sets for themselves. Understandably, they suffer from anxiety, fatigue and emotional drain to cope with a constant pressure of proving their mettle.
The American Psychological Association released a report that, according to Erlanger A. Turner, PhD states that American teenagers suffer from elevated stress levels, higher than what is deemed healthy. It reads 5.8 on a 10-point scale, where 3.9 is an acceptable number. As one might infer, the pressures at school is the most important cause of stress for American teens – an imminent problem that parents and teachers should take note of.
Teens around the world deal with varied levels of stress at school. As a parent, you can help your teen manage the stress that school places on them by helping them to keep it all in perspective and to relax when the pressure gets extortionate. Here are some tips to help you as parents to alleviate the stress your teenage child is subjected to.
1. Healthy Living and Exercise
As a parent, you can model a healthy lifestyle for your teen. This includes eating well, going to sleep early and getting a full night’s rest, and regular exercising. Encourage your teen to join a sports team. Do physical family activities, such as taking a walk daily or going for a hike together. Rock climbing, swimming or riding a bike can be recreational and therapeutic at the same time. Exercise is known to be a great stress reliever, and if it’s part of your teen’s daily routine, it can help him cope with and overcome the stress related with school.
When it comes to food, cut down on refined sugars and processed foods. Whole foods that are rich in nutrients also help your teen’s body to deal with stress and keep it replenished for everyday activities. Let your teen plan a meal for a night during the week, and then prepare it as a family.
2. Focus on Strengths
Dr. Turner suggests that teens concentrate better when they’re naturally interested or curious about something. This curiosity piques interest and engages them organically, to subconsciously do this activity again and spend more time improving and learning from their mistakes. Doing what they enjoy automatically brings happiness and satisfaction to wipe away any stress they might be facing. For example, if your teen is artistic, enrol them in an art class, perhaps photography or sculpting. They could tutor another student in a subject they’re good at, volunteer at your family’s place of worship. It’s important for students to remember that the sum total of their person is not their grades at school and that you value them for their contributions to the world outside the classroom.
3. Do Things They Like
Encourage your teenage child to do things he likes doing. Support him in his hobbies and secret ambitions and help nurture a side that is otherwise overshadowed with generic subjects like Chemistry or Physics. Encourage a hobby that is productive, personal and a safe haven for your child to escape the stress he faces in school and keep him attuned to his ideologies and demeanor. Voluntary engagement in something that brings him peace will help keep him centered and inculcate a routine which will prove very helpful in the future as well. It is also a great way to relax and unwind when he would otherwise feel overwhelmed and incapable of coping.