These past five years have been pretty interesting. Trump is president, there are mass shootings, untimely deaths, we are all in quarantine because of a global pandemic and to top it off, us students still have to deal with school. On a normal basis school is stressful because there is so much going on, and we can’t always get the help we need from our parents so it’s no surprise that a main source of stress, anxiety, and depression in teens comes from school. This is important because it can be properly addressed but because parents are unaware, more and more teens face this issue. It might seem that teens only think about school when we're there, but it actually continues when we’re at home and doing other things. This is very important to understand, especially during transition times like beginning a new grade, or even something small like the end of an academic quarter. Something that would help relieve our stress is having people check in on how we’re doing, not how our grades are, or if we have any work to do, but how we’re feeling, and if they can do anything to help us.
“All aspects of school are hard for me, the school work stresses me out a lot because they give too much and they expect us to do all of it in such a short amount of time. Then social life there’s so much drama, arguments, physical fights, fake friends, rude people, lies, like all of it is just crazy.” said Siobhan Clinton, a seventh grader at the Lyndon Pilot School.
One of the most important things in eighth grade is applying to high schools, and we are told that the high school you go to affects what college you get into and the college you go to affects what job you get, and the job you get affects your whole life. Because it’s such an important decision, you have to make sure that you consider all of your options and get as much information as possible. Most schools have open houses, and my mom signed me up for every single one that she saw. That meant that for several days I missed most of my morning classes and I had a lot of make up work. I even missed half of a math interim because of an open house and the open houses that were after school meant that I missed some of my extracurriculars.
It was really stressful because I had to try to keep up with my schoolwork, extracurriculars and think about what school I wanted to go to while applying for more schools. Even with all of that craziness going on, my mom thought that I should start going on college tours too, even though college is five years away, and I’m not even in high school yet. According to a poll done by NPR and the Harvard School of Public Health, 40% of parents said that their teen experienced a lot of stress from school. With all of the major decisions that teens have to make, it's not surprising that they found most of the stress was from academics and not social issues or bullying.
A lot of parents tell their kids to just try their best and they’ll succeed, but that's not enough. Sometimes we need help doing our best, and they need to understand that we can be independent and do things on our own, but we also need help with some things. “It stresses me out a lot because they give us too much homework and there's already a lot of things I need to do.” said Clinton. If we are having trouble getting things done, parents should help us by creating systems. According to Mary Alvord, a public education coordinator for the American Psychological Association, when we are struggling to get our work done, parents should help us plan the week so we can decide what is most important to work on. That allows us to focus because basic time management skills will reduce stress, and help us do our best. When I go to summer camps there is a set schedule and it's easy to be productive and still enjoy myself. It would be very helpful if there was something like that at home.
“Middle School comes with a lot of drama but I just don't tell them because I'm afraid of their reactions” said Idalia Rios, an eighth grader from the Lyndon Pilot School when talking about her ability to share her social life with her parents.I think that a lot of teens can relate to being afraid of their parents' reactions if we share information with them. They don't understand that we mature faster because of the internet based society we grew up in and that our phones have most of our lives on it. Also, what other people think about us does matter. They don’t let us express ourselves and then get surprised if we keep things from them. They think that us wanting privacy means that we have something to hide, but we really just want to feel trusted and capable of doing things. Clinton said it best “I don't think they understand that we have lives outside of school and we have other important things in our lives.”
All of these things along with academic stress creates a very unpleasant and stressful environment for us. It would be really beneficial if we could share aspects of our lives with our parents without having to worry that they will overreact or judge. We would really appreciate it if parents had open ears and admitted that they don’t always know everything. They definitely know more than us, but it's hard to open up to someone who has a know it all mindset. If we feel comfortable to share things with you, then try to react in the best way possible so we don't get scared off and we can work towards building an open relationship.