As I read last week’s blog Education week and Mental Health week: I see the connection, I feel Paula’s struggles with her young daughter and the stress she has about school.
This reminds me of a documentary I recently watched with a group of about 25 other parents. It was called Race to Nowhere. Here’s the trailer:
After we watched the film, each of us introduced ourselves, stated the ages of our kids and our key parenting concerns. It was actually reassuring to hear that I was not alone with my thoughts. We were all worried about the many stressors kids face today, including school and over scheduling them with extra-curricular activities. We were all there looking for answers on what is best & how to manage this.
One key message that really hit home for me was when the people in the film talked about how hard it is for students to maintain their A averages as they move through school. It gets harder and harder as they enter high school. And unfortunately some students associate their self-worth and identity with their grade point average. This can be disastrous as school gets tougher and the grades start to go down, so does their self-esteem… causing stress, anxiety and depression. This scared me to the core as my son is not satisfied unless it’s an A!
Being a public health nurse working with the school years program, I am aware that most depressive symptoms start at approximately age 12 and peak between the ages of 15 and 17. Research shows that one in five Ontarians under the age of 17 has a mental health disorder causing significant distress and impairing day to day functioning. (Read more about our Halton kids survey results in the Our Kids Network Report Card)
So that evening, as the sun was shining, the conversation flowed at the dinner table. We are no longer running off to hockey and actually have time to eat and chat together. We had a heart to heart with the kids. My husband and I reassured our son that as he enters grade 7 next year, it will be harder to keep getting As… And that’s o.k.!
What are some of the stresses you are seeing in your kids as they transition to the teen years? Share with us the strategies that have helped…
Read Cynthia’s Bio…
For more tips and hints about preparing for an emergency, or to share your experience, there are many ways you can talk to one of us directly:
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- Call the HaltonParents line for parenting information or to speak directly to a Public Health Nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) Simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000.