Are Your Teens Stressed? Want To Know Why?
May 23, 2007 10:35am CST
Are Your Kids Stressed? Do You Want To Know Why? Do you feel like or believe your teenagers are stressed? Would you like to know why? I was fortunate enough to be invited to a “pow wow”. Now mind you, my youngest is 34 years old. The pow wow is a group of teens that range from ages 13 to 20. They are all students. Some of them have part-time jobs after school. Some of them are involved in after school events. Some have relationships and most of them attend church. The group sat in a large circle with adults gathered in the background only as supervision. The adults were not allowed to participate in group discussions, however, were allowed to ask questions at the end of the discussion time. When the spokesman of the pow wow asked us adults if we had any questions to present before the group, I raised my hand like a child in school, eager to ask the teacher the question. I was the only adult who had their hand raised. “Can anyone tell me why teens seem so stressed these days?” The question brought glances from other adults as each teenager raised their hand to answer. “That’s a very good question.” The spokesman of the group started to answer as the other teens lowered their hands. “We have discussed this issue among us at length but you are the first one to ask us how we feel.” “We are expected by everyone we know to perform like monkeys – no matter what we do. Our pastors tell us we will never grow old because the world is going to end soon. If it doesn’t end, we are told it will be difficult to survive if we don’t do certain things. Teachers push us to make good grades and tells us if we don’t we will never be able to enter college, let a lone have a descent job. For those of us who have jobs now, we are expected to work for very low pay with no respect and we are asked to do jobs that adults should be doing. Those of us who are involved in extra curricular activities at school, coaches push us to our limits making us feel we have to win or face complete shame. Our very own parents support the pastors, teachers, coaches and employers while yelling at us for staying up late while we do our homework or chat with our friends.” He continued, “ We aren’t allowed to just be kids anymore. We are expected to become adults as soon as we can. We are expected to grow up way too fast, to stand up and meet the challenges that are shoved in our faces day to day. “ “While our moms and dads are working to pay off debt, we rarely have quality time with anyone in our family. Even the younger ones are told to occupy their time until mom and dad get home from work.” “We are usually sent off in the mornings with little or no breakfast. If we get to come home before midnight we come home to an empty house. The only time we get any free time is when we are online trying to keep up with our friends, and you ask us why we are so stressed?” I was stunned. I felt like I had been scolded. A hush fell over the group of adults and they said nothing. Since the group had concluded, several of the teens came up to me and thanked me for asking the question. It was the first time an adult had shown any interest in the group.
• United States
23 May 07
not that i should be getting any awards, but i talk to my children. i ask them how they are doing, how they are feeling. i ask how is school and not just as an after thought once they say hello. we sit and talk. as much as i made a choice to work, i also made the same choice to make sure i get home in time enough to cook dinner. to be able to be there when they may need help with homework. home in time enough to make sure everyone is in bed and to say good nite, i love you. i know right now my son has a big test coming up right before he graduates. i know that he as studied his butt off and is still nerves. i know that he wants to take time off before he starts college to work. i know that he is has plans DJ some parties this summer to bring in some extra money for himself. i know that he wants a girlfriend but wants someone smart, funny, and pretty. and he is frustrated that he can't find that girl. i don't just talk to my children, i listen and hear them when they talk to me. again, i am not looking for any pats on the back here. i am doing what i am suppose to do, and that is just being a mother.