Young people and stress

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Young people and stress

Postby ammonite » Wed Apr 24, 2013 10:47 am

I saw the news headline today and it so happened that I was having an earlier conversation about a 11 yr old having a nervous breakdown. I would like to share some brief thoughts with other parents here.

NUS first yr student hung himself on campus.

http://sg.news.yahoo.com/nus-scholar-fo ... 29134.html

Of course we cannot know for sure what the trigger point was for each individual. It could be stress from school, stress from relationship, stress from personal expectations etc. Bottomline is, it is important to be able to take failure in stride, and see the bigger picture. Often, it is the bright quiet ones who cannot cope well with accumulating stress (source could be of any kind). Sometimes as expectations build up based on their past successes, they become nervous about having to keep it up.

For children who get everything and succeed in everything, the fall from grace,or the fear of falling from grace, can be especially heartbreaking. Rejection too can be painful. But no one can be on top all the time. No one can be the best all the time. The occasional fall is inevitable. Is your child prepared?

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Re: Young people and stress

Postby Harlequin » Wed Apr 24, 2013 11:07 am

It's so sad to see the young and bright taking such short cut to quit the world.

God bless his soul. RIP.

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Re: Young people and stress

Postby Imp75 » Wed Apr 24, 2013 11:45 am

which is worse - young but can't take stress or young but no drive to do better

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Re: Young people and stress

Postby janet88 » Wed Apr 24, 2013 12:11 pm

When intelligent kids are successful...high flyer from PSLE to Uni, it is very hard to face rejection (maybe BGR) or some stress factors, which may not be in their area of control. It will not always be a bed of roses. To stay on top all the time is stressful and also tiring.

This tragic case is painful.

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Re: Young people and stress

Postby ammonite » Wed Apr 24, 2013 11:02 pm

Imp75 wrote:which is worse - young but can't take stress or young but no drive to do better


No drive to do better is a very loaded description, especially for the young.
The reasons why people appear to have no drive to do better can be very diverse. For some the external world holds no attraction. For others, they do not have the tools. For still others, they decided they can never win and so opt out of the race.

Find out the reason behind, before deciding which is better or worse if you can quantify it.

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Re: Young people and stress

Postby Fresco » Thu Apr 25, 2013 1:23 am

It is really not easy being a growing up child in this competitive, challenging and stressful world. The state of our young people today is such that most do not have a sparkle in their eyes anymore. They now live in a world that applauds violence, hostility, competitiveness, criticism, insecurity, ridicule and shame. It demands success at all cost. Whatever happens to peace, security, acceptance, encouragement, confidence, honesty and love?

I believe parents are the greatest culprits in diminishing the sparkle in our children's eyes. All parents have expectations for their children to do well. For some, there is no place for coming in second, only first. The desire to excel and set new benchmarks has become an obsession for these young in order to gain approval from their parents. In their quests for success, they have become over-achieving but emotionally deprived individuals. They are under constant pressure to deliver and live up to their parents' and teachers' expectations so much so that failure cannot be tolerated. Of course failure is part and parcel of life and when it does come knocking, parents often overreact and give our children guilt trips. That explains why kids don't share their failures with their parents. They choose to hide them or tell lies.

It is precisely that parents become so hard on their kids when they fail that triggers the fear of failure in them. The young become risk averse and stressed when put among high performers. The fear of not attaining the best of the best is eating into them. When it becomes too much to handle, these poor kids sink into depression. The sparkle in their eyes and their love of life diminish.

As parents, we should help our children cope with failure by first changing our own mind sets. It has to begin with ourselves. We deal too much with the negatives and are more concerned with finding fault with our children than addressing their needs. Our response to our children's failures really matters. How well our children cope with failures is a true reflection of how we parents react to their failures.

After all, it is not about whether you have failed but how content you are with your failure.

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Re: Young people and stress

Postby ammonite » Thu Apr 25, 2013 9:06 am

Fresco wrote:It is really not easy being a growing up child in this competitive, challenging and stressful world. The state of our young people today is such that most do not have a sparkle in their eyes anymore. They now live in a world that applauds violence, hostility, competitiveness, criticism, insecurity, ridicule and shame. It demands success at all cost. Whatever happens to peace, security, acceptance, encouragement, confidence, honesty and love?


Adding on to Fresco's point, I would like to share this excellent post by one of my favourite bloggers, Monica Lim.

Life Isn't Fair. What do We Do?
http://hedgehogcomms.blogspot.sg/


Here's a hypothetical situation:

3 students have to do a group project together. They agree on what each person has to contribute. However, what ensues is this:

Student A doesn't do her part and disappears throughout duration of project, appearing in time only to put her name on project.

Student B doesn't really know what's going on, puts in a half-hearted effort that anyone can see is badly done.

Student C does her part and being a conscientious student, chases the others who don't respond. She now has the dilemma of wondering whether to take on Student A and Student B's share of the work, or just let the whole group flunk.

This is actually a very common scenario, I hear it from parents all the time (especially parents of kids like Student C). As we all know, the world is made up of all kinds of people, so I'm not too surprised that this happens in schools.

What I'm astonished about though, is how frequently, if the group eventually scores a bad grade, the teacher will tell Student C that it was her fault, that she should have made sure the other two handed in the work. The reasoning behind this logic is "that's what happens in real life, you have to make sure the work gets done. Real life isn't fair, get used to it."

I have a big issue with people who love to spout the "life isn't fair" cliche, as I often find that they're the ones perpetuating the belief. I have an even bigger issue when that person is a teacher. We all know life isn't fair, no argument there. And it's also true that when kids grow up and become adults in the working world, these are the challenges they will face.

However, the role of teachers is not to give our kids a dose of reality by reinforcing all that is bad about life and about people. For example, we know facing failure builds resilience but that doesn't mean we set our kids up for failure. I saw this quote the other day that really shouted out to me:

“It’s not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. It’s our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.”
~ L.R.Knost

There's a gulf of difference between preparing kids for real life and training them for it. The trouble is these days, we have become so obsessed with making sure that our kids are able to survive in the competitive landscape, that the focus of education has shifted from educating to training. The former teaches you to be a better, more knowledgeable version of yourself. The latter gives you skills to survive, to come up on top. If your goal is the latter, it means that you only play to win, usually at the expense of someone else. Winner takes all.

That's where I feel many teachers and parents trip up. I've heard anecdotal stories of parents who teach their kids how to get ahead by thinking only for Numero Uno. If you have to lie on an application form, hide books, shove to get to the front, prey on the kindness of others, by all means, as long as you can get away with it. After all, that's what life is like. It's a dog-eat-dog world. It's called being street-smart. Life isn't fair.

The problem with this approach is that if everybody does this, nobody wins and society sucks big time. Out of all the excuses, the lamest justification I always hear: "Everyone's doing it. We have no choice!" That's right, another fantastic lesson we're teaching our kids - how to assign blame so we don't have to be responsible for our actions.

Back to project above - what did the students learn? Student A learns that you can do nothing and get away with it. Student B learns that it's ok not to try to try harder cos you can always ride on somebody's coattails. Saddest of all, Student C learns that it really doesn't pay to be conscientious. In fact, she's probably considered naive and stupid.

As parents and teachers, we need to understand that our role is to groom human beings who can make society better, not take advantage of it. If kids don't learn about doing the right thing, how will they know this as adults? The kind of messages we're sending to our kids is directly related to the kind of society we're creating. We can't really complain about the moral decay of society if we're teaching children that they survive better if they leave their ethics at the front door.

We need to go back to basics and walk the talk. Reinforce actions that demonstrate the age-old values of diligence, honesty, compassion and responsibility. Show them that you can and should be kind in an unkind world.

Life is unfair. All the more we should try to make a difference.


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Re: Young people and stress

Postby dolphinsiah » Thu Apr 25, 2013 9:38 am

True...life is not fair....

And it is important in how parents and educator groom our next generation to have a positive mentality.

My younger child , is often bully by her team mates....
She is always the one handling all the group projects....
None of her team mates bother to help.... :slapshead:
Even her teachers also agree she is too kind hearted...

But luckily she has a positive mind.....
Often I feel heartache for her ,when I see that she is doing all the project work alone...

Her reply to me....."Don't worry Mom .I am learning more than my friends".... :xedfingers:

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Re: Young people and stress

Postby ammonite » Thu Apr 25, 2013 9:41 am

dolphinsiah wrote:Her reply to me....."Don't worry Mom .I am learning more than my friends".... :xedfingers:


What a wonderful and positive girl you have!! :rahrah:

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Re: Young people and stress

Postby insider » Thu Apr 25, 2013 9:49 am

Children Suicide is one of my pet threads.

During Ching Ming I met my nephew.

He told me his classmate, 18 years old, 'flew down' from his 30-storey flat in Queenstown (they stay in same block), after failing a final paper.

Always wondering about during those seconds from the 30-storey to the landing, what were the child's last thoughts of his short 18 years of life on earth??

This case not reported in the newspaper...

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