Today, teens get a lot of ‘future’ pressure from parents and older adults to be a certain way and succeed in the ways they see best, which can result in considerable undue stress.
The expected norm is that you have to do well in school while taking part in extracurricular activities to secure admission to a choice school or prestigious university.
This pressure can make a youth feel as though they aren’t doing enough, aren’t good enough, and ultimately can lead to them giving up overall.
Personally, my parents have always pushed me to do my best. Once, I had a B in an English class and my dad told me English wasn’t that hard and I needed to do better. His comment made me feel really down on myself because regardless of the class or the grade I had, my parents weren’t present there to know how difficult or easy it might be.
That added stress made me lose motivation and ambition because their expectations were always so high and seemed unachievable. The stress isn’t always just correlated to academics, it’s can also be athletic stress. Parents tell their kids they must do good in school while still being great at a sport. The added stress parents put on their kids to do one or both can ultimately result in students getting so overwhelmed that they quit trying and think less of themselves.
A thought spiral often seen among students goes a little something like this-
‘If I fail my test today, that’s worth half my grade and if I get a bad grade, I’ll fail the class and if I fail the class, it goes on my transcripts and colleges won’t accept me, and if that happens, I won’t be able to get a great job that pays well and if I don’t have a job, I will be nothing.’
This perception of a perfect, successful outcome creates a feeling of obligation to other people and themselves, So, not only have they disappointed themselves, they disappointed everyone around them, or so it feels.
Tensions run high when you’re a teen, especially in high school. Many say it’s the start to the rest of your life, but that isn’t necessarily true. Although the four years of high school helps you prepare for your future, it doesn’t always determine your life course.
Some helpful tips to keep in mind are:
Do your best
Take one day at a time
Stress less, your own happiness matters
Chase your own dreams
Remember, there isn’t just one choice
Support is available
For me, I had to let go of the idea of achieving perfection. Regardless of how I did things, even if I thought it was my best work, some people may not agree and that’s okay, too.
If I get to the point of giving up, I have to think of why it’s important I’m doing what I’m doing, the true purpose.
Contributed by NAMI Arapahoe/Douglas Counties 2019 Seeds of Hope Scholarship winner, Chloe Johnson