Do you remember being a child? Do you remember what it was like going through elementary school? How many things were you really worried about? Now, compare that to where you are today. What is different? What has changed in your life? What person have you become? Have your choices influenced your life in a positive or negative way? No matter what your answer is to these questions, they have shaped the person you are right at this moment.
As I have been studying the effects of stress in youth, I have come to a conclusion that stress causes failure in many categories of peoples lives but also it has contributed to many successes in our world today. Stress in youth comes from many resources: Family, Friends, Schools, Peers, Other Adults, Communities and Media. The result of stress in youth varies from child to child. One main focus on researching children and stress is where the stress is coming from. Affluent youth has different stress factors than youth who come from middle to lower class. Affluent youth seems to have more stress to succeed in school, extracurricular activities and eventually their careers. Likewise, children that come from a family of poverty, stress comes from different places. Possible factors could be not know where they are sleeping for the night, if they get to eat that day or the dangers of the community around them.
Affluent youth has a high risk for suicide due to stress. Studies done out in California have showed that the pressure that comes from being successful ultimately could have horrible endings. Stress builds on children. The pressure from of succeeding, receiving good grades and getting into top colleges from parents could push their kid away even though they have good intentions for their children. It is important for parents to spend time with their kids at night. Even if you have a busy day of work, it has been shown that eating dinner together at night reduces stress within affluent children. Because many times parents give kids all they have asked for, but forget that spending time with them is just as important. They give them unlimited amounts of money, and less supervision, which creates a gap and room for error in a child’s life such as the use of drugs and alcohol to help cope with the stress they have throughout the day to succeed.
On the other hand, children that come from poverty have different kinds of stress. Many are unsure where their day will take them. Some children do not have a relationship with their parents due to drugs, alcohol or violence. If a child does not have a stable home environment, they can end up in jail, apart of a gang, or on the street. Even though some of these things are hard to imagine, once a child finds themselves in these situations it is hard to get out. Dropping out of school and living their life day-to-day causes stress to provide for them but also it can be for many others such as siblings.
How do we make this world a better place for future generations? It isn’t always simple or easy, but it is very doable. First, parents need to look out for their children. Pay attention to them, give them the attention and relationship they need, and never turn the head when there is a tough situation. Attention and relationships are what children thrive for every day. When a parent can give them these things in a positive way, it is one step to help children become more successful. I see many friends and peers struggle from stress. Ultimately, the person must recognize their situation. A little help here and there can really put someone back on the right track.
Although this is just a preview of the problems that kids have from stress, it is important for parents, schools, and communities to take a closer look at what they are putting their kids through.
Not everyone is the same, nor are we perfect. Let’s leave room for individuals to grow, but also, give them the support the need. Not everyone is wealthy and not everyone can provide for others, but emotions and relationship go a lot farther than materials things.
I challenge parents and families to spend more time together. I also challenge them to maybe show a little more emotion than normal. We want kids to thrive off the ones they look up to the most.
Let's see what impact we can start making. Let's improve.