School pressure is biggest problem for our children, say working mums

Pressure at school is the biggest problem children face today, claim working mums in our latest survey.   Here, looks at the causes and effects of stress on our youngsters. 

Pressure at school is the biggest problem children face today, claim working mums in our latest survey.   Here, looks at the causes and effects of stress on our youngsters. 

Our survey said
We asked ”Amid reports that children are suffering increasingly from mental health problems, do you feel your children are too stressed, and what is the main cause?”
Nearly one third (29%) agreed that school was the main cause of pressure.  One mum said: ”In the earlier years, many were stress free due to the laid back atmosphere in their daily lives.  These days a nursery child is expected to read and write instead of enjoying themselves in their little lives.  The pressure is definitely first from school and second their parents trying to pressurise kids to learn….The poor kid doesn’t get a chance to have fun – instead, it’s study, study, study.”
Sue Beever, author of Happy Kids Happy You, said the citing of pressure at school by parents was indicative of the ”increasing focus on academic achievement at the cost of more general education and well-being”.
She warned: ”Nurturing positive relationships between the teacher and children is lost under the administrative burden of targets, monitoring pupil and school performance and league tables.”   But she said it was a parent’s responsibility to engage with their child to be able to understand how they’re progressing at school and to make sure they provide appropriate support for the child to ensure they benefit fully from what the school has to offer.
”Parental involvement is a crucial aspect of a well-run school and those schools that embrace all that parents have to offer can only benefit, as will the children in their care,” she said. ”That said, many parents find it difficulot to engage with schools for a number of reasons, including feeling disempowered by their emotional involvement with their child and from their own experiences of the education system.  An arm’s length relationship between parents and school benefits no-one and it is ultimately the children who lose out.”

Are mental health problems on the rise?
One fifth (20%) of those who responded to our survey felt today’s youngsters are no more stressed than previous generations.  But charity Family Lives says calls to its helpline have risen rapidly in recent years.  Analysis of calls to its helpline over the past two years (from January 2009 to January 2011) shows it received its highest number of calls in January  2011.  Calls concerning children’s stress levels in particular have increased by 79% in the last six months.

Other factors
Nearly one in 10 (9%) told our survey they thought family pressure was the greatest stress on youngsters, while 14% cited peer pressure as the main cause of mental health problems in children.
Nearly a quarter (18%) said commercial pressure was the main culprit when it came to pressure imposed on youngsters.  Sue Beever said the role of parents was very important to stop children succumbing to this type of pressure.  ”Regarding commercial pressure, it is the role model that the parent sets and the exposure they allow to advertising and media that determines how much this stresses the child,” she said. ”This then sets the scene for how children respond to increasing peer pressure as they get older.”

Comments [2]

  • Anonymous says:

    Yes and another thing is at my lads school being kept in on break time for getting his work wrong. If they help them understand it when they get it wrong instead of taking their break off them they might do better. Instead kids don't ask the teacher for help because they think if they get it wrong and ask for help they are going to get told off. It is all wrong.

  • Rachel Sorton-Hall says:

    This gives us all something to think about. I’m glad I live where we do in the countryside – we can avoid a lot of the ‘commercial pressure’ that other children are exposed to.

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