Thursday, November 02, 2006

Generation ‘Stress’
By Carrie Spinney

Student stress is becoming a major problem these days with the youth of our generation. Parents are demanding more, school systems are demanding more, and in turn, the youths are demanding more of themselves.

The stress starts with preschool. Parents scramble to enroll their children in the most competitive program available, even at costs of $20,000+ per year, if it means better chances for their academic future. According to the New York Times, after the few children are enrolled in the program, the parents keep the children enrolled for as long as possible, sometimes waiting until the children are pushing seven to put them in kindergarten.

This is an outrage. Children at such a young age should not be concerned with competing against their fellow youth to win in the school game. It is unhealthy and could lead to awful consequences.

The older generation should begin taking some responsibility for the stress of our youths. At the same time, when the child is becoming the golden member of our society, our society is treating them like slaves.

As a nanny of many years, I have carted child after child to Spanish class on Monday, Soccer on Tuesday, Ballet on Wednesday, Math on Thursday, and Art on Friday. And then the weekend entails practicing these endeavors, and on the side, remember, the child should be a social genius.

After years of putting children through this mess, it is no wonder the University of Florida Counseling Center has began extensive studies on the issue of student stress. According to them, the competition for grades, the need to perform, relationships, career choice, and many other aspects of the college environment cause stress.

UFCC says that stress can come from many sources including their environment which includes noise, traffic and crowding, and the weather; physiological-examples include illness, injuries, hormonal fluctuations, and inadequate sleep or nutrition; their thoughts- negative self-talk, catastrophizing, and perfectionism; social stressors-examples include financial problems, work demands, social events, and losing a loved one.

These are all issues that students face on daily basis, but hardly get credit for, because the generation above them remembers school in an idyllic way, forgetting the added stress this generation faces. More students than ever are competing for the prestigious schools to get their degrees. And no longer will one degree suffice. Now it is essential for a good job that a student receives their advanced degree.

According to UFCC, the older generation should ensure that the younger generations learn to understand their role in stress situations. When they can target their stresses, they can more effectively rid them.

Students can learn to develop a balanced life-style and effective personal organization through learning specific relaxation techniques. Through these techniques, the students can gain perspective on problems by discussing them. Students should clarify their values and develop a sense of spirituality that is theirs and not their parents.

Keep in mind, not all stress is bad, but the stress that has been placed on the youth of our generation is cruel and unneeded. Over-stress can cause the physical problems of illnesses, ulcers, difficulty sleeping, fatigue, and headaches; or the emotional problems of irritability, depression, anger; or the cognitive symptoms of forgetfulness or difficulty concentrating.

As a call to the older and wiser generation, please stop the bombardment of duties on our youth that might in the end, cause a major crash and ruin of a generation.

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