The Unsuspecting Puppeteers of Teenage Stress

Stress. It’s something that millions of teenagers face on the daily, whether it be from the demand of academics or from the rigorous routine of extracurriculars. There is no guide on exactly how to handle stress, and clearly there are no directions for how to escape from it. Especially in high school, stress is notorious for being one of the top factors that affects a student’s ability to function, think, and even go to sleep at night.

However, there’s one other factor that contributes to a young teenager’s life — parents. While many parents have good intentions when supporting their child’s success for a better future, studies have shown that an additional 15% of American teenagers face stress from parental pressure, along with the 45% of American teens that face stress from academic studies.

A corresponding question to the topic at hand is, “When does parental pressure become too much for teens?” Students are already challenged enough with the continuous schedule of keeping up with test and homework due dates, social problems, and extracurriculars. Bitter tensions and anxiety derived from home can severely worsen a teenager’s mental health and ability to engage in daily activities. Although parents may not realize it, the unintentional stress that they give to their kids can be detrimental to the developing brain of young teens.

When it comes to parental stress, even the simplest things can affect a teenager’s day. Strict rules that a teenager may think are not necessary can lead to conflicts between the teen and the parent if promises are broken, while yelling and disapproving words can distance a child from their parents. Of course, from a student’s perspective, there is a constant hunger to live up to parents’ expectations, which can sometimes drive students over the edge. Constant dictation of rules and principles can further resentment and rebellion towards parents and authoritarian figures, causing agitation for both the child and the parent.

It’s no surprise that stress finds a way into various different situations that a teenager encounters on the daily, whether it’s social problems relating to friends, improving time management skills to handle academic requirements, or focusing on sports and recreational activities. It’s certainly more than enough to handle for an average student, and often enough, mood changes and the ability to focus can be affected as school pushes a more demanding schedule on a young teen. Plus, parental stress plays a huge role in a teen’s life that is often underestimated and ignored. Undoubtedly, the stress that kids face from parents should not be overlooked, but rather, become more acknowledged in order to make steps in improving both the lives of the teen and the parent.

Janice Yoon
staff writer

Graphic: Alison Kirk

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