What is your opinion on the amount of pressure on children, young adults and parents in today's society?
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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