Saturday, December 13, 2014

YAB Teens are Talking About Stress and Anxiety

As teens today we are dealing with stress, anxiety and making choices in a whole new way… sometimes it feels like the whole world is watching and judging.  It’s never been a more important time to connect, empathize and support each other. 

In this Q&A, see just how teens feel, what stresses us out, and how we try deal with our stress and anxiety in a healthy way.

Q.  What causes you the most stress or anxiety in your life right now?  Why?

Teens Answer:

  • Thinking about college is the most stressful thing in my life right now, along with taking classes and getting good grades, needed for college.
  • Managing and planning out my identity.  I have met so many new and different people that I feel stressed out and question who my real friends are.  I often ask myself, “Do their values match mine?”
  • Right now, since I’m a senior, the whole college application process and seeing where I get in and figuring out what I might be interested in doing with my life… is all very anxiety provoking.  There are so many big decisions to be made and it’s finally time to make them!  Yikes!
  • Right now, the most stress and anxiety for me is caused by college.  I’m a senior and the whole application process took up my first semester of school.  Now I’m waiting to hear back from some of my top choice schools.  It makes me sooo nervous!  It can be tough focusing on high school right now when college is so close.
  • Right now I am most stressed out by my family.  I have been completely uprooted my last year of high school and my parents have put too much pressure on me to be a responsible adult.  It’s hard for me to enjoy my senior year with all this change and adjusting.
  • School causes the most stress for me because there is so much pressure and it has such an impact on the future.  I also just get bombarded with so much work that causes more stress. 
  • School causes the most stress in my life right now because there’s a lot of pressure put on doing well during junior year.  I also have a lot of work to make up from being sick, so that causes most of my anxiety.
  • School definitely causes me the most anxiety.  I can say from experience that you can lose a lot of sleep from the amount of pressure teachers and parents put on you.  The week before finals couldn’t sleep and wasn’t really eating very much, just from my test anxiety.
  • School, grades, getting into college (U of M or Cornell).  I know that if I do well in school by getting straight A’s, then I’ll get into a good college and have a nice career and live a nice life.  However, if I slip up and don’t do well right now and don’t get into a good college and get a good career that my life won’t turn out the way I want. 

Q.  Do you feel you have outlets or a way to deal with the stresses in your life?  If you do, what are they, what do you do, how do you cope?

Teens Answer:

  • To deal with the stress, I use physical activity and music.
  • I manage my stress by writing and taking time for myself, by myself.  I have been trying to be more conscientious and get into self-care.  I watch TV, write and work out.
  • I definitely have great outlets in my life.  If I’m feeling anxious about decisions that are important, I talk it over with my parents or close friends, which definitely takes the pressure off.  I also am very into playing music which is a great thing to go to after facing life’s daily stressors.
  • The best outlet I have is exercise.  I belong to a health club and I enjoy working out.  Whenever I have a particularly rough day, I find that I have my best work-outs, I always feel better after my time spent at the gym.
  • My outlets is always hanging out with my friends or eating.  They both take my mind off of whatever is bothering me.  I try to each healthy though.
  • I don’t really feel that I have an outlet.  I just try to get through it the best I can.
  • I have my ways to deal with stress in my life.  I read and I run.
  • I listen to music when I’m stressed, or I try and take a nap right when I get home from school.  I have also found that taking a showering and spending time by myself helps too.
  • Mostly I just listen to music, talk to my friends, and watch Netflix.  When I’m really stressed, a long day with Netflix is a way to escape everything else.  Sometimes I start at 9:00 AM and finish in the afternoon.

Q. Do you think other teens feel the same stress and anxiety that you do?  How do you think they cope with everything?

 Teens Answer:

  • I think lots of teens feel stress and anxiety about their future because most of it is dependent upon how we do in high school.  But, not all know how to cope and turn to things like drugs, alcohol and violence.
  • Yes.  High school and going to college is a huge transition, where a lot of information, new responsibilities and decisions are being thrown at you. It’s really difficult to manage those things because they are just difficult choices.  BUT, you are not alone.  We all go through it.  I know I am not alone in coping with all of this and that helps.
  • Definitely if not all then most teens do.  I think people find outlets in sports and music, like me.  But some might try to take the “load-off” by letting go after a long week and they party. 
  • I definitely think that all of us teens are in this together.  It is an extremely stressful and confusing time. Unfortunately, some teens resort to bad decisions – like drugs and/or alcohol – to cope with everything.  Others have positive outlets, like journaling, music or exercise.
  • I do think other teens feel similar levels of stress, but for different reasons.  I think that most teens either eat, don’t eat or party to cope with their stress.
  • Yes, I think ALL teens are stressed and I think everyone copes with it differently.
  • I think other teens feel the same stress that I do.  I think some don’t really have ways to cope, but they could try by playing sports, music, or hanging out with friends.
  • I know others feel the same, but how they cope is different for everyone.
  • Yes.  Every teenager worries about school; ACT, SAT, grades, college and their future.  They probably do what I do, maybe… workout.  Others may decide to partake in drugs or drinking. 

Q. Do you think parents are aware of what’s happening when there are parties with drinking and drug use?

Teens Answer:

  • I think a lot of the time parents are completely oblivious to the drinking and drug use because they see what they want to – until their child has gotten into trouble with school or the law.
  • I think that parents have some idea that there may or may not be concerned about, but just like us students, we need to help facilitate their emotions (all of their emotions) into action.
  • I think that some parents do know and let it happen OR turn a blind eye where others may be completely oblivious.
  • Honestly, I have found that many parents are aware that teens drink at parties, especially as wet older.  Compared to freshman year, many more kids are “open” with their parents about alcohol, and it seems like many of them do not find to be a problem.
  • I think some parents are not aware.   Many others are, but they feel that it is a natural for kids our age to drink and act out.
  • I think some parents know about what goes on at parties but I also think kids are getting more clever with finding out ways to work around it.

Q. Do you think schools are able to help with your stress?  Do your parents help or make things worse (without knowing it)? 

Teens Answer:

  • Schools try to help with stress, but society in general makes it impossible to be stress free because of the job field that is becoming more competitive.  Because of this, schools try to prepare students but also make it much more stressful.  My parents do make things more stressful even though I know they are not trying to.
  • The counseling resources at school are used, but there is a stigma in using those resources.  The do need an outside resource and using our voices are important for balance.  Parents are trying to help, but it is difficult to help when they don’t fully understand or accept what the stresses and realities for us are.
  • I know my school has programs and people to talk to, to help deal with stress, but many kids just don’t about them.  My parents definitely help lessen my stress because they know I put enough on myself (as most of my peers do).
  • I do not think the school is a place where most teens find relief from stress.  I do think that sports through the school can provide an outlet from academic stress, but at the same time, they create their own stress and pressure.  This could be something we could and should work on.
  • I’m not sure if schools are able to help.  I think it is important for students to know they’re not alone, which I think schools can communicate, but I have a difficult time trusting schools with my privacy.  I think parents try to help, but many times, they don’t take their kids seriously.
  • Schools could help by putting less pressure on students.  Parents help because they are knowledgeable and give good advice.  It’s also good to talk to them when your stressed and let it out.
  • I don’t think schools are able to help me with my stress since generally school is the cause of my stress.  My parents unknowingly make it worse by constantly asking me about whether or not I am getting things done.
  • I don’t think schools care too much about our stress.  We try and tell our teachers that we are stressed and they just blame us, saying it’s because we don’t know how to study, or we are spending too much time on our phones.

Q.  How do you think we can better help teens cope with their stress and anxiety?
Teens Answer:

  • I think schools should make coping with stress part of their curriculum in health class.
  • Try shifting the perspective from the individual, taking away the blame… to the community.  Stress and anxiety is affecting the whole community.  Everyone has the power and ability to make a change.
  • Give us a place where there are no expectations on top of what is already expected of us.  Unconditional love and support helps always and helps us move in the right direction.
  • Everyone needs to understand that being a teenager is very stressful, especially in today’s society.  It is important that we don’t suffocate teens – we just need to let them know that we are there for them, and provide them with positive outlet options to cope with their stress.
  • I think teens need to be made aware that there are helps out there for them in dealing with stress and anxiety.  But mostly, I think teens need to be taught better time management and the importance of good health.
  • It would help to have more time to relax.  During the week, there is hardly any downtime.
  • It would help to put less pressure on teens to do well in school.  Ask teens about what they need help with, and keep asking.
  • I think telling teens that “Getting a B isn’t the end of the world”, And, if teachers and parents will stop asking “What are you going to do for the rest of your life?”  And, trying to help those that are stressed about grades will help a lot. 

Q. What is your primary influence to be drug-free, and why?

Teens Answer:

  • My family, my friends and my future.
  • My goals.  I always keep my goals in mind and I don’t want anything related to drugs or alcohol to negatively affect my future.
  • My future – because I do not want one decision to affect my career and college experience.  Poor decisions may follow you for the rest of your life.



Friday, October 17, 2014

YAB Teens are talking about parties.

Homecoming season, halloween and holiday parties are in full swing.  What really goes on, how teens handle the pressure, and how schools, the community and parents can help.

Q.  What is the teen party scene like right now?  Are there a lot of parties?  Are they big or smaller gatherings?  What’s the general trend?

Teens Answer:

  • Usually parties are held in the basement at someone’s house.  Sometimes parents are home, sometimes not.  Normally there are around 20 people to a party.
  • The party scene right now seems like smaller situations at one person’s house – usually in the basement.  Halloween, homecoming and holiday parties are all going to be happening.
  • Parties at my school tend to run once or twice p month.  Usually the person will step up and use their house to throw a “banger”.  Anywhere from 50-hundreds of kids could show up. 
  • There are a fair amount of parties.  They are usually smaller, no more than 30 people.
  • There are a few big parties every once in a while, but when people party I think it tends to be smaller groups.
Q. what typically happens at parties?  Is there more drinking?  Is there other drug use?
Teens Answer:

  • There is usually alcohol present.  Smoking marijuana or cigarettes happens but it’s kept to a minimum.
  • Usually there is more drinking at parties.  However it is not uncommon to find marijuana or cigarettes as well.
  • At most parties there is usually drinking.  There is also some smoking -- weed, cigarettes and usually hookah.
  • Usually alcohol and marijuana are present.  There is also music and dancing as well.
  • Drinking or smoking at parties usually depends on your friend group.  Most groups don’t.
  • I’ve never heard of drug us at bigger parties.  I think that tends to happen in smaller groups.  A lot of people drink at parties.
  • There is generally more drinking.  And then in some smaller situations, more hookah and some smoking.
Q. Do you feel pressured if there is drinking and drug use going on?  How does it make you feel in the moment?  And please tell us how you cope with it?
Teens Answer:

  • There is not much pressure.  You can usually just say that you have to drive and most people will understand.  Sometimes in the moment it can look fun but in the end, I know that there are consequences.
  • If I find there is drinking or drugs going on at a party I usually decide to leave.  Drinking can be pressuring and you have to be able to be strong and make the right decision.
  • I don’t feel pressured because you can always say you are the designated driver.  In the moment it usually feels harder to make the right decision because it looks fun and you don’t want to be “left out”.   But, you also know the consequences.
  • Pressure is somewhat common and a person just has to stand up and say they do not want to -- so a peer would back-off.
  • Peer pressure doesn’t apply to me, if I know I shouldn’t be doing something.
  • I don’t really feel pressured, but I do worry for other kids’ (who are drinking or doing drugs) future.
  • I don’t feel pressured to drink.  Personally I don’t like to see people drinking.  It’s not necessary because you can still have fun without drinking.  I would leave the party if there was drinking.
  • I don’t feel pressured, but I’m sure other people do that are not as set on not drinking. 
Q. Do you think parents are aware of what’s happening when there are parties with drinking and drug use?
Teens Answer:

  • Some parents may be aware.  It depends on the situation and how close the student is to their parents.
  • Most parents don’t know about drinking or drugs happening at parties.  But, a surprising amount do know, and some even condone it.
  • Some parents know what is happening and are okay with it.  Other seem to be oblivious.  Some are indifferent.
  • Parents talk amongst themselves and are aware there is smoking and drinking, but they don’t seem to know what to do or how to stop it.
  • I don’t think most parents are aware.
  • I think parents are definitely aware, but some just don’t care.
  • I think some parents know about what goes on at parties but I also think kids are getting more clever with finding out ways to work around it.
Q. What do you think could be done by the schools, parents or the community about parties?
Teens Answer:

  • Parents should be more open to discussing the facts/consequences of drinking and smoking with their students.  They need to let their kids know that in any emergency situation, it is OK to call them.
  • They need to be educating the teens on the consequences of making bad choices.  Some kids are under the impression that they’re invincible, which just isn’t true.
  • They can let teens know that there are other options instead of parties and being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and that there are still many teens who don’t make those choices.
  • I don’t think schools could do much but parents could be more strict and aware of what goes on in order to stop it.
  • Students need to know what can possibly happen and more importantly, they need to care.  So, show them what might happen if they drink or do drugs.
  • Schools can inform kids by continuing to stress the negative effects.
  • Schools could set stricter rules related to parties and enforce them more.
Q. What is your influence to be drug-free?
Teens Answer:

  • My future!
  • My family, my friends and my future.
  • I’ve seen how it has impacted others’ lives in negative ways.  I know the physical consequences and legal consequences as well, and it just isn’t worth it.  My future, college, sports, family and church community, are all my influences to be drug-free.
  • I stay drug-free in order to not get in trouble with my parents and to stay healthy.
  • I have a cousin that sadly got addicted to drugs as a teenager and is now struggling to hold a job.  I want to be able to help people.
  • My goals.  I always keep my goals in mind and I don’t want anything related to drugs or alcohol to negatively affect my future.
  • I really do not like the effects on the body.  You have no self-control and cannot control what is going on.
  • My future – because I do not want one decision to affect my career and college experience.  Poor decisions may follow you for the rest of your life.