Tuesday, 14 July 2015

The Pressures On Today's Young People

As part of my Over To You theme, I was asked the following by @bekb65:

What is your opinion on the amount of pressure on children, young adults and parents in today's society?
 
Random Musings: The Pressures On Today's Young People
 
 
 
I hear a lot of people saying how easy kids of this generation have it - being driven to and from school, having more games consoles than they would know what to do with, mobile phones, iPads etc to name but a few. And of course, there's this whole thing about building children's self esteem to the point where everyone's a winner, even when they aren't!
Keeping all that in mind I still think young people today have it hard. Certainly harder than my generation ever did (I'm in my 30s).
I think now more than ever, kids are under a lot of pressure to perform well at school, with the re-introduction of exams for 11 year olds, and children as young as 5 having homework. There is a constant pressure to perform and do well - even if a child's parents aren't pushy, in my experience, a child still doesn't want to let their parents down. They also don't want to fall too far behind their peers, but they also don't want to stand out as too clever and become a target for jealous bullies.
I also think that kids aren't stupid - they know most of the awards handed out just so everyone gets one are made up - they know which ones have any sort of meaning and which don't.
With technology comes more pressure for teenagers. In the past a teenager who was bullied at school left for the day and got at least a few hours reprieve. Now the bullies continue to harass them in their down time on social networks. This is even more humiliating for kids because it's so public, and of course everyone will have an opinion on it adding to the whispers etc when they do go back to school.
Also, there's the added pressure to keep up with the latest trends. When I was a kid this was fairly limited - clothes, trainers etc. Now they have to be seen to have the latest technology too. It's a sad fact that teenagers without the latest all singing all dancing labels and technology are again at risk of being bullied (bear in mind a lot of the time these bullies need no real reason to choose a victim).
This all adds up to a lot of pressure on these kids, which in turn leads to extra pressure for parents. A lot of parents don't feel like their child has to have the latest iPhone (and a lot of parents simply can't afford to buy them, especially if they have more than one child), but at the same time, they don't want their kid to be the only one who doesn't have one and possibly make them a target. This can all lead to tension in the home.
Parents are under so much pressure to make sure their child has everything they need both physically and emotionally and all these extra demands just add to it.
And all of that is without factoring in the things every generation faces - hormones, puberty, boy/girlfriends, underage sex, pregnancy, stds, peer pressure, drugs, drinking, sexuality, and finding who they really are.
I for one, wouldn't want to swap a ride to school for all those added pressures young people today face!
 
What do you think?
 
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83 comments:

  1. I so agree with you on this -.when I was young I think the biggest pressure was what pair of trainers I had or whether I was wearing Kickers for school. Now it's all about whether you've got an expensive iPad or a playstation in your room. Things have changed so drastically over the years it's quite scary! I mean, nowadays even parents have the pressures of things like outdoing each other in the birthday party stakes! It's no wonder our children feel the pressure. #mmwbh

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    1. It's all a competition now, everyone trying to outdo each other. I really do feel for young people today :)

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  2. Great post as a teacher I have seen the pressure that education is having on increasingly young children. Now living in Holland I see how their more relaxed system suits my boys and they have the happiest kids in the world. This is no coincidence! #MMWBH

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    1. Totally agree! I think if the system was a bit more relaxed here and children were allowed to learn at their own pace, they would have a much better experience and consequently would be more likely to absorb information :)

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  3. I agree. I think there are so much pressures. School being one where they are constantly being measured. There is no trust that they will all learn in their own way. Great thoughts here. Thanks #MMWBH

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    1. Exactly, if kids were allowed to learn at their own pace in their own way, they would absorb the information so much better :)

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  4. What a great answer to my question! I also think that there is too much pressure being put on the younger members of our society. The internet certainly does seem to add to those pressures. Testing children for the sake of testing them is very sad and causes more issues than people realise. X

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    1. I agree about testing children for the sake of it - a lot of the tests are more to measure the teacher/school's performance than theirs, yet it's the kids that feel stressed out about it :)

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  5. Too much testing and too many electronics. But every generation has the thing that makes us older people day, "These kids today..." Things change, but they stay the same...

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    1. Yes true - every generation ends up falling into that trap at some point, even though we always swore we wouldn't say it lol :)

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  6. I agree totally. The pressure is far too much for little Ones.
    We have now started Home Schooling for numerous reasons, and it's the best thing we ever did.
    Our child is much happier and still learning the same as he would be at school although in a much more relaxed environment. :)

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    1. Good on you - there are a lot of benefits to home schooling including not measuring themselves against other kids academically :)

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  7. Yes, I agree Debbie. I'm so thankful that smartphones and wifi didn't exist when I went through school. Cyber bullying is a whole new world and it causes so much stress for young people, it's very worrying as a parent! Visiting from #alittlebitofeverything

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    1. It's so easy to bully someone anonymously these days as well, making it even harder for the kid being bullied to put a stop to it!

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    2. That's so true! #AnythingGoes x

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  8. I think as time goes on, new pressures come about, including newer and deadlier drugs, other peer pressures, and all sorts of other stuff. I think it gets worse and worse. Bullying for instance is looked at differently now that it was when I was a kid. Surely someday it will get better.

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    1. I think bullying has always been a problem, but in recent years, the extent of it and the lengths the bullies will go to seems to have gotten a lot worse. I hope it does get better, something seriously needs to change! Thanks for commenting :)

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  9. I agree! I think youngsters are under a lot of pressure nowadays, but I also think they have a lot more opportunities now than ever before too. I think as long as parents are as supportive as we can be then that can help to relieve the pressure. Thanks for linking up to the #BinkyLinky

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    1. That's true, they do have a lot more opportunities too. It's really important that parents and other adults in their lives offer support where possible. Thanks for hosting :)

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    2. I also think children are more street wise nowadays. When I was growing up I was kept in a 'protective bubble' by my parents and that's something I'd never allow to happen with my children. Obviously I'd protect them from harm etc, but I feel it's important they understand the world they're growing up in. #anythinggoes

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    3. I totally agree. It must be tempting to try and shield children from all the bad things in the world, but once they reach a certain age, I think it's important to teach them that these things do happen, because if not, it makes it that much harder for them to cope when they discover them, which inevitably they will.

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  10. I agree with you! I think that with each new generation, there are more pressures than the previous generation faced. The bullies, for one thing, have gotten so much worse than when I was in high school in the 90's. Back then, I didn't need to think about or care about what the bullies thought of me because I could just ignore them (and I did that successfully). Now, though, because of the internet, it's so much harder for kids to just ignore the bullies.

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    1. Exactly! And it's very easy for kids to set up fake profiles to hide behind, so they can't even be confronted.

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  11. I'm with you, at least when we were younger we had time to shut down, with the technology today there is never a down moment for our kids. And I think that they are pressured to do things so much sooner than we were when we were kids. Great points. We need to cut our kids some slack and support them.

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    1. Yes, there's also a lot of pressure to be grown up before your actually old enough to be grown up. We definitely need to be more supportive to kids today :)

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  12. Totally agree. As a secondary school teacher, I see a lot of parents putting far too much pressure on their kids to perform oustandingly in exams and not taking into account their child's own abilities.

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    1. And of course the child doesn't want to feel like they let their parents down which just to adds to the pressure. Not every kid can be an academic superstar, each kid is talented in their own way and I think it's up to parents to nurture that talent instead of pressuring kids on something they aren't as good at.

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  13. Completely agree. I feel very sorry for the children of today with all the pressures they face and long for the old days!!! #bigfatlinky

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    1. Me too! I always said I wouldn't say the whole 'back in my day thing' but of course I do lol. Thanks for hosting

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  14. I agree. There's less freedom and more pressures generally, plus the whole online thing. Excellent post as always

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    1. Thank you :) I sure wouldn't like to be a teenager right now!

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  15. I really agree with you on this! I feel very strongly about it and we are trying to life-proof our kids and arm them with the skills to negotiate their way through, without having everything handed to them on a plate. Our eldest is only 8, so still young. Great post!

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    1. It's important finding the balance of making them earn things but not pushing too hard. Sounds liked you've got it nailed, starting early so they know what to expect as they get older. Thank you :)

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  16. Absolutely spot on !
    These are the pressures of our times as you beautifully put in this post.
    I guess we can all plod on and hope to get it as right as we possibly can.

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    1. Thank you :) I agree - parents can only do their bests, and as long as kids know they are loved regardless of any outside issues, I think that's a good step :)

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  17. I sort of agree with you. I think kids these days have it a lot easier in some things, but harder in others. I suppose it was the same when I was younger (I am in my 30's too) - harder in some areas and easier in others. This is always going to happen in any generation. I really hate the bullying factor these days though. It's awful. #momsterslink

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    1. I think the things that are supposed to make kids lives easier in theory (better technology, wider availability of better education etc) are a lot of what adds to the pressures they feel. One thing I can't stand is a bully!

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  18. It's so hard for young people today I feel sorry for them good post thanks for linking to the Binkylinky

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    1. Me too, I wouldn't want to swap with them! Thanks for hosting :)

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  19. My kids aren't quite there yet, but I know a lot of teenagers personally who are just BURNT OUT by the time they even get to college. It's way too much pressure! They have to join every club in existence, take all the AP classes, get straight A's, and start their own business/charity to look good on their college application! All before the age of 18.

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    1. It's ridiculous! People say they grow up too fast - what do they expect when they pile all this on them? A lot of adults would struggle to cope, we need to let kids be kids!

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  20. Great post. It is so hard for young people today. Social media and the burden at school with trying to master the regular stuff plus technology. I feel for my girls growing up in this era. #AnythingGoes

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    1. Thank you :) I wouldn't like to be a teenager in this era at all!

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  21. You make so many good points. This post is going to be very helpful to parents because it lays out many of the teen pressures that parents will need to be aware of so they can prepare to help their children though the challenging years. #AnythingGoes

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    1. Thank you, I really hope it can help some one, especially as generally teenagers don't want to discuss their problems - at least not with their parents!

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  22. I agree in some ways. I have a lot of family and friends that are in education so I've heard countless stories of teachers and students. I think each generation has the group of "strivers" who experience more pressure than their parents generation because of the new opportunities. But increasingly, there are parents and kids who don't believe that they should have to work for anything in order to be rewarded or get what they want.

    I also don't know if we have more pressure or rather different kinds of pressure. It wasn't that long ago, kids had to decide between working to support their families or going to school. In the 60s and 70s, the US had the draft and men didn't know if or when they would be called to serve.

    I think social media and technology have definitely increased the amount of pressure they receive from outside sources that truly mean very little in the grand scheme of things. There is a really great good called "Generation Me" that has a great chapter on this topic if you are interested in it.

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    1. Obviously there are some lazy people who think the world owes them a living, but I think for a lot of teenagers, they simply can't keep up with everything so they give up altogether.
      I can't comment on the 60s and 70s from first hand experience, but I imagine the uncertainty must have been horrific.
      In 10 years time, kids will probably look back and realise that the people trolling their social media meant very little, but at the time I think it must be very damaging to be bullied on a daily basis online.
      Thanks for the recommendation, I will hunt it down :)

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  23. I for one am glad there was no such thing as internet when I was off doing all my "stupid" shit. Although I would have liked some Google to help me with my homework. Thanks for linking up with #momsterslink.

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    1. When I was in school, we had search engines like Yahoo, but no where near as advanced as today's search engines. Luckily the internet at that point was still more a research place, so there was no social media!

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  24. Raising 4 kids I know the pressure they are under. I am gobsmacked by how we are pushing children to be mini adults - sending them off to school to learn like crazy. The curriculums are full the homework is plenty and this little time for natural learning - like picking flowers, growing veggies and riding bikes. They are stuck at the table after school and extra curricular activities. Don't get me started on peer pressure and pressure from other families to keep up with the Jones'. We are
    Just trying to run our own race by teaching the kids about balance. Long hard road ahead but up for the challenge. Mel xx #AnythingGoes

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    1. I think there is so much focus on academic education these days that kids don't have time to learn life lessons, or to just be kids.
      I think that's a valuable lesson - kids need to know they don't have to be perfect at everything, and that sometimes it's ok to do something just because its fun!
      Good luck :)

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  25. Your absolutely right. There is so much pressure on young people. I'm glad the internet was not around when I was young and I got to do- non-online stuff. They use to worry about kids watching too much tv, now it;s kids being online and it can be really expensive if kids are expected to have the next model iphone etc.. as you say in the post.

    Angela x

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    1. Seeing what kids are faced with on the internet, it really puts into perspective all the fuss they made about our generation watching cartoons for 2 hours on a Saturday morning!
      I think most parents would need a bank loan to keep their kids up to date with all the technology today! x

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  26. Completely agree that kids are over-pressured by a schooling system that's obsessed with meaningless measurement. It's one of the reasons we've chosen to home educate our kids to be honest! #AnythingGoes

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    1. I think home schooling is a great idea if you are in a position to do it. So much less pressure, a more rounded education and one on one tuition - it sounds perfect!

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  27. I totally agree with you on this one. And not just children of this generation but parents too!! I feel it all the time...what classes is S in? What schools have I applied to? Is he tracing his alphabets yet? Can he recognise 1-20? I'm sure our parents went through similar school pressures but they didn't have all the added weight of birthday partys and game consoles, etc. I used to live in Hong Kong and birthday parties there are like small weddings in the UK with various entertainers, personalised gift bags and half the time the child doesn't even understand what's going on...talk about pressure!!

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    1. Yes I think the pressures definitely filter through to the parents too, and it doesn't help that there's always that one parent who has to try and out do everyone else!
      Wow, that takes it to a whole new level, talk about pressure!

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  28. I agree, and I'm so glad we didn't have social media when I was a teenager...the pressure, the addictive component and the weird gap between it and reality would have driven me insane. Interesting post, thanks for sharing it #twinklytuesday

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    1. Yes, sometimes even as a grown up, you can forget that people tend to post the picture perfect stuff and gloss over the rest - as a teenager it must be extra hard not to compare yourself to everyone else's seemingly perfect lives!

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  29. I totally agree with you unfortunately we cannot stop the advancement of technology and being a parent that can't afford the newest and latest product we have to take it upon ourselves to teach our kids that they don't need to impress everyone else they need to impress themselves and do what's right for them. Yes absolutely as a parent that is A LOT of pressure on us as parents but in my opinion we chose to make the decision to deal with those pressures when we chose to have children. Technology was changing then. We can't blame everything else. Bullying and things like that have always been around and have and will continue to get worse. Again in my opinion we need to choose how we teach our kids how to deal with these pressures and not worry so much about keeping them "up to date" so to speak

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    1. It does put an awful lot of pressure on parents - I agree that as someone who chooses to have children, you are taking that on, but I still feel for parents as they try to help guide their kids. I think the problems stem from parents who choose not to teach their kids these lessons - even if you can afford all the latest all singing all dancing technology, I think it's important to still teach the kids that material possessions aren't how you judge another person.

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  30. I am so nervous for the pressures that my son will have from school when he starts in September. Hope that he can keep up with all they expect of him and it's so much more than they do here in the usa at such a young age it's scary. Great post. Thank you ever so much for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme

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    1. I think the USA is even worse than here (the UK) for putting pressure on children. I'm sure your son will be fine - I think it's a matter of letting him know that if he isn't an academic genius that that's ok - he will shine in other areas.
      Thank you and thanks for hosting :)

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  31. Have to agree - lots more pressure today with Social Media and instant sharing of everything.
    Thanks for linking with #ShowcaseTuesday

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    1. Nothing is private anymore! Thank you and thanks for hosting :)

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  32. A really interesting read, I do agree the pressure on todays children in immense! Thank-you for hosting. x

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    1. Thank you, and thanks for linking up :) x

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  33. Thank you for hosting Debbie! I am a little late linking up as my vacation brain is still wearing off!

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    1. You're welcome, thanks for linking up :) No worries, hope you had a good time :)

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  34. It is all rather worrying, I do wish kids could just be kids for a little longer! Childhood should be pressure-free! Thanks for linking up to #brilliantblogposts

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    1. I agree - it's sad they are forced to grow up so fast. Thanks for hosting :)

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  35. Honestly, it's hard for me to compare. My children and I grew up in different countries, with different family structures, and different expectations. I hope that my children generally have it easier than I did. They're certainly happier than I was. But I don't think my own childhood was typical enough to be a good example to measure against. Thanks for hosting #anythinggoes.

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    1. I think growing up in two different cultures does make comparisons hard! I am speaking from the point of view of the UK chiefly as that's where I am, but I know in some countries, what children face here would seem like a dream for those children. I'm glad you children are happy where ever they are, that's the main thing! :) You're welcome, thanks for linking up :)

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  36. I don't think it's any harder than when I was growing up — but it's not easier either. Kids just have a different set of pressures on them these days. The social media/online bullying aspect is the thing that worries me the most though — that IS a real worry. I hope there are real measures in place to prevent it, by the time my boys are old enough for it to be a problem for them. Thanks so much for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday — hope to see you again next week! x

    Caro | www.thetwinklediaries.co.uk

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    1. I think it's very hard to prevent online bullying because it's so easy to remain anonymous or set up a fake profile. I do hope that head way is made though. I think now it's being taken a lot more seriously, it will be looked into more. Thanks for hosting, I'll be there :)

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  37. I have to agree with you, having a teenage son I also think that there is a lot more pressure on kids today and in every generation the adults complain about the kids and moan about back in my day... this and that would never happen, but yes the pressure to fit in and conform to society is definitely in my opinion much higher these days.
    #ShowcaseTuesday linky

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    1. I remember a conversation some time ago with my Grandmother. We saw a woman around 20 with a visible tattoo and she said in my day a woman wouldn't have had a tattoo. I responded yeah but she probably wouldn't have been able to go to medical school either! In my Grandmother's defence, she did agree with me!

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  38. Having teenagers I can totally agree that there are way to many pressures on them. I have also had one who was bullied, but not actually in school, only on a chat app. At home. When as parents you think the dangers are the other way around! Thanks for linking up with #sundaystars x

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    1. I'm sorry to hear that, I hope you got it sorted! It's way too easy for bullies to use social media/apps to bully kids. Thanks for hosting :) x

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  39. This is part of the modern parenting conundrum - of course we want each generation to have a better life but as with anything in life we need to consider the role of moderation and how we look after each other rather than compete with each other. We have some arguments in our house but mostly we just spend time talking through the pressures and who's race they are running - their own! Thanks for stimulating my thinking about this - I love the reminders and checking in with myself about how we are travelling. Mel xx #anythinggoes

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    1. I love the way you worded that - running their own races sums it up perfectly. You only need to compete with yourself :) Thanks for linking up :)

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  40. I think you're right here, there is a lot of pressure on kids today and and the world they are growing up into is tougher and more competitive. I have been very lucky that my teen is comfortable in his own skin, and not easily influenced by people or brands. I think it will be very different for my young girls though.

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    1. It's always a good thing when young people know their own minds and don't let others influence them. I know this sounds a little sexist but I do think girls tend to care more about what others think generally speaking and are more likely to be susceptible to peer pressure.

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