HOUSTON — #HTownRush is kicking off a weeklong series for back to school. We're tackling some of the topics on every family's plate this time of year with the help of moms, dads and the kids themselves!
Up first is stress.
It's back to school time, and for many families, that means back to stress.
“We're feeling a lot of academic stress,” Catherine said. “We're already preparing for college and making sure we have the right credits.”
Our parent and kid panel opened up about the extra pressures students face each school year, and how it impacts their mental health.
“I think schools are pushing a lot more now to be successful and get a higher-paying job, at a young age and it's really stressful,” Giselle said.
Stephanie's son says school leaders have picked up on it, too, and got creative in an effort to help.
“Last year our school had signs above the water fountains, ‘You are not your class rank. You are not your GPD,’" Stephanie said.
The parents on our panel all agree the pressure is more intense than ever. Another reason – social media?
“Well everything's real-time now with social media,” father Matt said. “You can't hide from anything anymore.”
“If they put that on the front page of the newspaper tomorrow, would you be ok if everyone saw that?” Danny said.
And it's not just parents worried.
More than ever before, kids are thinking about what comes next, too. They worry that what seems like harmless fun today could cost them later in life.
“I think people could go back and look at what we posted before and it could affect our future,” Libby said.
In and out of school, it's just one more thing to stress kids *and parents out.
“Anxiety is a pervasive problem, and kids are getting younger and younger and feeling it,” Licensed Professional Counselor Bill Prasad said.
“Parents are the role models for how to deal with stress,” Prasad said. “An open dialogue is extremely important.”
Prasad says it's important to talk about what's stressing your kids and have that conversation early and keep it going all school year long.
“One of the best questions you can ask a teen…’What's going on in their lives?’” Prasad said.
Prasad and the parents on our panel agreed – you must talk. Over-communicating with your son or daughter can make all the difference.
Prasad says different teens will behave differently if they're stressed. Look for increased headaches, stomach-aches, changes in their eating or sleep patterns.
All could indicate something's not right.
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