Stress! When this word comes to mind we imagine adults, usually in their 30’s and above who are going through tough times due to the pressures of personal and professional lives. This is very true, but what is also true is that stress is not limited to adults alone. In fact, even school going children are facing a lot of stress in different forms and from different sources.
Definition and Classification of stress
Stress has been broadly defined as the pressure which an individual feels which interferes and negatively affects their daily life and functioning.
Even though stress is normal if it is restricted to a certain level, but if it crosses that line, then it becomes a cause of tension and worry.
Stress presents itself in several ways or symptoms as we call them. It might show up as physical and psychological signs which include fatigue, weakness, disturbed sleep, headache, anxiety, irritability, anger, and depression among other symptoms.
Based on numerous surveys and studies, the pressures that cause stress affecting school students are classified into four categories.
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This aspect has been discussed numerous times and been covered on television programmes, in newspapers and magazines, and of late on online platforms as well.
The most common complaint is that most, if not all, parent want their child to be a ‘super student’ who excels in studies as well as sports, music, dramatics, debates, extracurricular activities and so on. Basically, they dream of having an all-rounder child. This is not only unreasonable but very dangerous for the overall health and growth of the child. These demands and expectations will lead to disastrous consequences.
Parents use different tactics, comparison with other children from neighbourhood, family, classmates, and even with their own sibling. Parents even coax, use strict measures to rein in the child. As a result, the child is very much likely to lose interest in studies and school completely. Their morale and self-esteem would be badly affected and might lead to serious health issues.
Remember, every child is unique and different from the other. Each one has their own set of exclusive talents and capacities and that is how the approach should be. Identify the strengths and weaknesses and nurture the child accordingly.
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What will people say? This question mostly hurled at students by their own parents and family, and much surprisingly by themselves, is counted as one of the biggest killers of their self-belief, self-confidence, and self-esteem. The result is they start getting passive, sad, depressed, and irritable. This societal pressure causes immense stress to the students and their parents as well.
Here, it is strongly advised that you completely ignore these negative and off-putting observations from the society and concentrate on your life and ways to make it better, both at academic and personal levels.
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Peer pressure is the most common and prevalent cause of stress to students. The reason is that peers, or classmates and batch mates are present along the student during the entire duration of classes and school. Classmates are fully aware of each others’ academic and other records and performances.
This might have different kinds of effects. If a student is lagging behind then they might make fun or tease him. If he is bright then they are likely to be unduly influenced. And, if he achieves something extraordinary, like some award or citation then they might be snubbed by the class.
Then, there are possibilities that some bully might be intimidating the student and out of fear, he is not telling anyone. This also puts immense stress on the student. Some students by nature are shy and introvert and not mix up with others. They also are often subjected to being mocked.
Sometimes, the peer pressure might be there to try alcohol, smoking, tobacco, sex, or other harmful substance. The student might or might not succumb to the pressure. But in both the cases, it is going to put severe stress as well as prove to be very dangerous.
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Making friends with the opposite sex is healthy and it is very common to have a few or many friends from the other gender. This friendship many times turns into a crush, infatuation, or ‘love affair’ all which are very natural given the age factor.
But sometimes this may develop into an unforeseen, unwarranted, and unpleasant situation. There are numerous instances of school students being under stress due to a tiff or an argument with their girlfriend or boyfriend. This puts them under a lot of stress and interferes with their studies and daily lives.
Hence, it is very strongly advised that parents and teachers keep a watchful eye on their children and students and be alert to any problematic situation.
The student should never be made to feel guilty or believe that making friends with the other gender is bad as it will severely affect their emotional and social growth.
Conclusion: The school years are meant to be enjoyed by the students, irrespective of their standing or place in the class, batch, or stream. Every child is unique in some way or the other and it is about identifying the traits and developing them with full support and care and thus doing away with the unwanted stress.