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Tribune Article - HS Kids are stressed out! Time for culture change?

MassDaD68MassDaD68 1524 replies24 threads Senior Member
Hello CC,

I came across this article today about HS kids being stressed out from all the pressure to succeed.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/anxietyhigh/ct-teen-anxiety-part-one-tl-1116-20171120-story.html

To me, life is all about balance. Sure you need to try hard but there also needs to be a limit.

Thoughts?
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Replies to: Tribune Article - HS Kids are stressed out! Time for culture change?

  • sahmkcsahmkc 589 replies19 threads Member
    I think that colleges & high schools across the country need to sit-up and take notice. The intense pressure on these kids to succeed is crippling our children with anxiety and increases in suicide is a real issue. Sure there are some kids who can take multiple AP's at a time, but they are a minority. There are so many kids taking these classes that should not be in them or at lest should not be taking multiple AP's at a time. My son will have taken 11 AP's and 1 DC by the end of his senior year. Among his friends who are some of the brightest kids in our school, he has the least number of AP's. We offer 24 AP's at our school our valedictorian will have taken 15-16. Our school pushes kids into these classes - even to the point of waving prerequisite classes and allowing Freshman to take 2 AP's.

    My DD is a freshman mentor and she has to receive suicide prevention training. At this training, the counselor became irate because she did not think the kids were taking it serious enough and told them in her 22 years of being a GC, she has never seen it so bad. She said they really needed to listen and watch for the signs, because kids are attempting suicide at alarming rates. I was speaking with the school nurse and she said that the increase of kids on health plans for anxiety is astounding. She said I would not believe the numbers.

    It's a really disturbing trend. My DD who is an above average student feels terrible about herself because she will only have 3 AP's and 4 DC classes at the end of her junior year - 7 college level classes since Freshman year and that makes her "stupid". That's crazy. We have had to work really hard with her to understand that she is going to be fine - and that her "lack of AP's" (6 or 7 depending on senior enrollment) will not keep her from going to college. I can't believe I have to have these conversations.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 80114 replies720 threads Senior Member
    It is probably a trickle-down effect of the growing perception that one has to achieve to an elite level to have any upward SES mobility, and that those who do not achieve to an elite level are more likely to see downward SES mobility.

    That may be especially true for those growing up in the upper edge of upper middle class (the ones complaining about being "middle class but get no financial aid"), where there is plenty of room to move down, but moving up looks like it means scaling the wall to enter the plutocrat class.
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  • TheGFGTheGFG 6007 replies213 threads Senior Member
    The competition for jobs is now global. Recently my niece and nephew from South America visited us and expressed that they feel that they don't just have to be among the best in their country, but rather among the best in the world in order to land a good job. These are not materialistic or hyper-ambitious young people and they hail from a country I'd consider far more laid back than here. Also, they are multi-lingual and have had the benefit of some university in Germany. Nonetheless, they feel very anxious about their future job prospects. Their stress was palpable.
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  • TheGFGTheGFG 6007 replies213 threads Senior Member
    Lovely thought, but the ship sailed on that already. We now live in a world where during class teachers require students to use their cell phones or tablets to access the internet for research purposes (which is highly irritating after they've charged tax payers so much money to buy laptops and other equipment for the schools). It's called BYOD.
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  • Dad2020Dad2020 99 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Is the "prestige: university worth it? I do understand the phone thing. You used to see kids playing in the streets after school 30 years ago too.
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  • intparentintparent 36291 replies644 threads Senior Member
    edited November 2017
    This discussion has been going on for several years (at least the 10 years since I first joined CC). I think a lot of it comes from certain school districts and private schools that set the culture, and parents themselves. I think one of the best decision a parent can make these days is to NOT place their kids in a school devoted to the rat race. My kids went to a small school that limited the number of APs for kids and made sure they had time for ECs and academics. No cut policies for all teams. More collaborative than competitive. They both did fine in the college process (one did exceptionally well), and are doing work they like post-college.

    Your kids don't HAVE to go to competitive high schools. And even if they do, a student can choose to just focus on APs in their area of interest and a few meaningful ECs and do fine in getting into college and life. Why is getting into a tippy top college even important? I don't think it is. You as a parent need to decide what message and environment you want your kids in.
    edited November 2017
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  • sahmkcsahmkc 589 replies19 threads Member
    @intparent The school my DS & DD go to is our public school. I don't really have a choice to send them someplace not competitive. The pressure comes from the GC's & other students. I forced DS to replace an AP with a regular class last year because his schedule ended up with 3 of 4 classes (we have 4 classes each semester instead 7 classes all year) being AP in one semester plus Math Analysis. I knew he could not handle this. He caught crap from other kids for replacing the AP. My kids will be going to solid schools and not applying to any prestige school. I think there will be disappointment among DS's friends who are the ones killing themselves to get into prestige schools. @Dad2020 - no in my opinion it is not worth it. This is why I have vetoed schedules proposed by my kid's GC. My DS has a very time consuming EC, so that's why the 70 hours - he has many friends in the EC that probably put in 75 -80 hours a week due to their more rigorous course load.

    I would like to think that my voice as a parent is heard more than my children's peers, but I think we all know that peer pressure is a huge issue. The number of times I have explained that DH & I went state U's that were nowhere near prestigious and that it didn't seem to hurt our chances for success might be in the 100's.
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  • TheGFGTheGFG 6007 replies213 threads Senior Member
    edited November 2017
    Yes, and every time this topic is discussed there are folks who blithely believe 1) concerned parents can just up and move with no problem at all when in fact employment and financial or housing realities make that difficult or impossible 2) that the neighboring districts we're supposed to move to are going to be less competitive when actually this sort of thing can vary very little from town to town since it's more of a regional phenomenon 3) that parents will be listened to and not dismissed when they attempt to address the excessive homework situation with the school 4) that good public universities in said regions are much less competitive than top privates so all one has to do is settle for those perfectly good schools, when in reality some public universities require near Ivy level stats in STEM programs like pharmacy, engineering, biology, and chemistry (due to all the pre-meds) so we don't actually have the state flagship as a fallback for kids who opt out of all the AP's and grade hunting.
    edited November 2017
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  • intparentintparent 36291 replies644 threads Senior Member
    We sucked it up and paid for a private school. We also looked at moving to other school districts.
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  • TheGFGTheGFG 6007 replies213 threads Senior Member
    No amount of sucking it up could provide our family with enough money to pay for the pricey private schools around here. Please don't assume everyone can just do that. One private school told us, "Sorry, but we just can't give you as much financial aid as you need."
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  • sahmkcsahmkc 589 replies19 threads Member
    Let's see that would be either a more competitive test -in private school or a Catholic School. We are not Catholic and I certainly wouldn't want a more competitive school at 20K a year. Our school district is well regarded and that's why we moved into it - by the time my kids were in HS (and I realized that the highly regarded meant highly competitive) they had spent their entire schooling in this district and I'm pretty sure moving would have been a crushing blow for them socially not to mention a huge loss on our house as we bought at the top of the housing market and the market has not fully recovered in our area. I think it's pretty judgmental to tell people to suck it up and pay for private school. Many people just don't have that option. How about maybe there should be reasonable policy change in school districts that limit AP/DC classes?
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  • momofthreeboysmomofthreeboys 16643 replies66 threads Senior Member
    edited November 2017
    I think it starts with the parents. The parents have the ability to veto just about anything related to their lives. I have smart kids who weren’t stressed out, went to college and two have graduated found jobs and one has bought a house in their twenties still..all without stress and minimal anxiety.They took APs, did sports took the college prep tests twice...totally normal stuff around here. But we made sure they didn’t over extend.

    I have a third who reached high and can heap stress onto himself very easily plus he was and still is abit of a grade grubber even as a college senior now and we often had to say no and reign him in and we still have to tell him to take a chill when he gets wound up. He would have been a train wreck if we didn’t pull him out of the express lane now and then.

    It isn’t the neighbors or the schools in my mind...it is the parents. I have seen train wrecked kids and it is pretty sad.
    edited November 2017
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  • Dad2020Dad2020 99 replies1 threads Junior Member
    The suburban Chicago area that article was written is near where I live. Generally affluent areas. My daughter's school district while good is not as highly rated as the ones in the article. In this specific instance I do think the problems start with the parents then snowballs through the school. I think the schools could help more but to me that's why parents are Living there.
    Even on here people are freaking out over the ACT crashing lately like the scores are life or death.

    As to the posts on here as said earlier its not feasible for everyone to move or send their kids to private school. IN my case I could probably afford to do possibly send my daughter to private school but I figure by graduation the 10-12 AP classes wouldn't happen somewhere else. And is not the case of forcing her to its just how it's working out. While my daughter has not had friends from school questioning her schedule too much, except wondering why she is taking AP stats instead of Calc 3 I do remember kids at her district magnet school comparing MAP Scores. although that happened because as I found out at an open house parents doing the same thing.

    While I believe parents can control most things in regards to schooling I'm not sure everything can be controlled. The poster above mentioned about how things were without stress or anxiety for her. Just my opinion it may be good parenting but I also believe it may have been a little luck. No kid is exactly the same as another.
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  • barronsbarrons 23076 replies1955 threads Senior Member
    edited November 2017
    My friend's kids went to Stanford, Duke, Princeton, Vandy, UVa etc from a small VA city public HS. So I have a pretty good idea. Nobody spent that amount of time on school work. diminishing returns is a thing. http://www.j-archive.com/showplayer.php?player_id=539
    edited November 2017
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  • i012575i012575 423 replies41 threads Member
    Related article in The Atlantic on what the stress of high school life leads to. These schools are close to where I work and I guess the issue is exacerbated due to the high achieving parents and their expectations.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/12/the-silicon-valley-suicides/413140/
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  • sensation723sensation723 569 replies1 threads Member
    College cost okay a part number in this as well. Scholarships are becoming more competitive. Lots of people can't afford college without some type of aid.
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