Q. What do you think are the biggest things causing teens so much stress and anxiety right now?
A. I would say that the biggest things causing teens stress and anxiety right now are school and the social atmosphere. Teens are told that getting into college and the importance of going to a good college is so important in todays’ job atmosphere. It feels as if our self-worth is tied to what schools will want you -- because of how good you are at testing or academics. We are told that it's necessary to be well rounded, to be good at school, and load up on extra-curriculars while also maintaining healthy relationships with family and friends – all the while also taking care of ourselves. There have been many times where my friends have said they don’t feel I care about them because I don’t often make plans and many mornings where I have panic attacks because I only slept two hours a night. On top of all of this, the ever present social media gives students who are already struggling, the impression that you can indeed maintain a perfectly balanced social and academic life. This just causes students to try to work harder for that idealized life. It’s easy to believe that people aren’t struggling with their own stress and anxiety when only part of their story is shown.
A. School. High School students especially are very stressed out with the next stage in their lives. We are trying to accomplish perfection for the goal of college and thinking always about the future.
A. The thought and prospect of college. The competition for college is crazy leading to extreme stress and anxiety because the expectations are extremely high.
A. I think that some of the main stressors for teens today is school and grades – students are constantly pushed to get good grades and do homework and what is lost is actually understanding and getting an education – this needs to change.
A. Each and every day I am surrounded by teens similar and different to me at school. However, we all find common ground where we experience our most stress… school brings about the majority of stress and anxiety. Balancing homework, tests, sports, clubs and just the thought of the future puts a lot on teens shoulders.
A. The pressure of college, grades and keeping up with an active social life.
A. I definitely think that school is the biggest factor in teen stress and anxiety. There’s a lot more competition academically so students are turning to unhealthy coping methods like drugs and alcohol.
A. Social relationships and school work.
A. School and expectations from Parents about school.
A. School. The endless amount of homework is just too much especially when it seems like the information learned or “memorized” is not really going to prepare us for the real world we are living in today.
Q. What do you think are the signs and signals we should be looking for to alert us when teens are overly stressed?
A. When teens are stressed I would say a good indicator is silence. Occasionally when I’m quiet my parents try to talk more/ask more questions to try to make me feel better, but I would just prefer for my parents to ask if I’d like to talk or if something is wrong. In addition, if I am being quiet, occasionally my parents will think I’m being rude or take my silence personally when in reality, I am thinking about everything I have going on. When we’re stressed, it’s unnecessary for parents to criticize their children for work undone, amount of sleep, etc. If parents are stressed about it, the child has most likely been stressing out about that same thing even more, and for a longer period of time. If I’m stressed, I do not need to be told that they could do things better, because parents don’t truly know what we their teens go through. If I am stressed I would rather have my parents ask me if somethings’ wrong, empathize with me, and even ask what they can do to help, because every teen needs something different. If you want to know how to truly help, sit down with your child and talk to him/her about what they need when they’re stressed.
A. When a student can’t sleep, or there eating patterns change. When a student who has typically been successful starts to fall behind.
A. Personally, if I am overly stressed, I tend to keep to myself. I don’t feel motivated to see people or talk to them.
A. Staying up all night (lack of sleep) and not eating.
A. Lack of enthusiasm or humor. Constantly having an attitude and complaining all the time.
A. Lots of sadness and crying. And then another extreme is if we are always seeming to be “fine” and “on the go”, but we’re not really "fine" or "OK".
A. When we are not acting like we usually act. Clearly overly worried and/or irritated.
A. Signs you should be looking for are us alone saying that we are stressed! Our generation has no problem voicing our opinions, but not one listens, cares or puts anything into action.
Q. What do you need or NOT need from your Parents when you are stressed?
A. I really just need their love and support.
A. I need comforting. To say it will all work out and that they will be there to help sort out my life.
A. I need them to understand where I stand. I would like them to try to put themselves in my shoes.
A. Not to hover over me, but to help remind me of things to keep me on track.
A. I need a little space every once in a while…. and understanding, not more pressure.
A. I don’t need a lecture. Teens need unconditional support.
A. I need encouragement that everything will be OK. And, to not yell at us for every little thing.
A. Not believing or expecting that I can do it “all” Or that I will do everything you think I should do.
A. Time and space... but also to talk and listen to me sometimes.
A. I need my parents to understand that I can’t always do the things the way they want me to do right when they ask me to, because I’m either studying or doing homework.
Q. What do you need or NOT need from your school OR community when you are stressed?
A. I need less homework.
A. In my school, I would like teachers to be more understanding. Sometimes it is hard to not assign so much work, but I would like teachers to some degree, to be understanding of the situations of their students. One way might be to offer out homework passes at the beginning of a quarter/trimester, when they don’t do their homework, they can turn in the pass and at the end of quarter/trimester if they have all their passes then maybe they get an extra credit point. One of my teachers had a 48-hour policy. So, if a student didn’t want to take a test, all they needed to do was notify the teacher 48 hours in advance with no explanation required, and this was accepted at the teacher’s discretion. In general, I think we need more guidance counselors who are more available to really talk to us and not just handle our scheduling needs.
A. Mental health days. Teachers understanding that sometimes we just need a second or more each day to get to be ourselves.
A. I need them to provide leniency and to try to understand where I come from. Sometimes extra time with homework is the biggest help.
A. Better balancing of standardized tests and all that we have going on with school.
Q. We know that vapes and marijuana use (especially with vapes) are getting out of control. Schools are trying to address it, but it’s still a big issue. Why do you think teens are engaging in this and just what can we do about it?
A. Most teens don’t know or believe the problems and risks that come with vaping.
A. I think teens are engaging in this because they think it is a consequence-less version of smoking. I think that most teens just don’t know that vapes and marijuana are dangerous. When I was in elementary school, a group from the local high school came to give a presentation about the dangers of smoking and made us promise we would never smoke. I still remember it and think about it all the time. I think that talking to kids at an even earlier age could be productive and educating people that vaping is marketed and promoted as un-harmful, when it is harmful. In addition, the “The truth” campaign is a respected, reputable and well-known campaign that ends smoking. I think that reaching out to them to address vaping couldn’t hurt. And, I think that parents need to talk to their children in an honest and open way about using vapes and marijuana.
A. Teens are vaping because all of their friends are. Also, it’s just a natural thing for teens to want to push their limits.
A. Some kids think it won’t affect them. It relieves stress and that it’s cool. Some people who have started thinking it will be fine, are now extremely addicted and just can’t stop.
A. It’s a way for teens to deal with stress. But it has also become a trend that mostly everyone is doing at school and at parties.
A. I think teens are trying to escape the pressure and stress. Many use vapes and marijuana because they want to be “cool”. We really need to raise awareness of the dangers.
A. They want some relief from the stress and pressure they feel every day.
A. I think it’s mainly a social thing and people want to belong.
A. Teens are doing this mainly due to stress. I feel the only way to address this is through the education system. We need to educate the educators and the public about prevention, the impact of drugs on youth and better ways to cope.
Q. What about underage drinking? What are your thoughts on this? Are you aware that it’s happening? Is it prevalent? What should we do about it?
A. Yes, it definitely goes on. People are drinking because they think it’s cool and they don’t know the consequences.
A. A lot of people are drinking and vaping. People don’t think any of this is wrong.
A. Underage drinking is prevalent. I don’t drink simply because I’ve seen the harmful effects both short term and long term. I think that students see the short-term harms (hangover, poor decision making etc.) but think that the benefits of supposedly having fun outweigh those consequences. Students are warned about long term effects (MIP, DUI, alcoholism) but I don’t think they believe any of those things will happen to them because people tend to distance themselves from serious and especially gradual consequences. I think in order to do something about drinking, parenting styles and overall our culture surrounding drinking needs to change. Parents need to display responsible drinking habits in front of their kids and stress the importance of responsible drinking. I think in our culture we have to portray drunkenness less as fun and more so as messy or socially unpleasant to deter people.
A. I think that underage drinking is a pretty prevalent problem, but we are beginning to understand why it’s harmful.
A. Underage drinking – yes, its prevalent, but should be taken at a different approach. Show an impactful message because teens will tend to do the opposite of what they are told not to do.
Q. How do you cope with stress? And how do you handle the peer pressure?
A. I read, watch movies with happy themes and endings. As far as peer pressure, I really think about the consequences.
A. I use a planner to stay organized. I drink tea. I don’t suffer from peer pressure because I surround myself with people who make good choices. I have my own values which guide me from what I know is right VS wrong.
A. I cope with stress by writing in a journal. I also have an artistic outlet. I talk to my friends. But, my best advice to handle peer pressure is to be proactive by surrounding yourself with peers/friends who love you for being yourself. If someone is constantly worried about what their friends think, then it’s more likely that you’ll end up doing something to please them. By finding friends who you can be yourself around, you don’t have to pretend. Subsequently you’ll find that you don’t care much about the opinions of people who don’t appreciate you for being yourself. You care only about the opinions of people who don’t want you to change and don’t pressure you to change, and don’t care about people who try to pressure you into situations you don’t feel comfortable with.
A. I hang with my friends and surround myself with good people.
A. I try not to get overly stressed and I remind myself that I am in control of myself, not my peers.
A. I just like to and try to relax; I watch Netflix and I exercise.
A. I cope with stress by hanging with and ranting with my friends.
Q. What else is on your mind/concerning you/you’d like to see done/you wish was different/understood?
A. I think more teens need to be encouraged and to know that there are safe people and places that they can turn to for help when they are struggling or are overly concerned about something.
A. I think all teens should learn and understand the statistics and hard-core facts about drugs. That school and the pressures today are so much harder and different than they were for our teachers and parents. We need you to acknowledge that and to transform around it.
A. I would like for bullying to stop. And, I would like for people to actually listen and help you get through the situation.
A. Please encourage teens to get help and to not deny what they are feeling or going through when they have a problem. It’s not about being “cool” or fitting in the majority of the time, it’s more about our stress from school and academic pressure that is placed on us.