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Are High Expectations Suffocating the Youth of Today?

Most parents and teachers of today have heard of the positive effects of having high expectations for their children and students, but is having too high of expectations for your kids placing too much stress on them? In a series of studies done by the American Psychological Association it was found that while having high but realistic expectations can help students perform well, having too high of expectations can have an adverse effect on the student’s academic achievement.

High school is supposed to be a place where young adults explore the depths of their knowledge. More importantly, these students are trying to determine which path they want to take in life. Often students sit back and allow their parents to make crucial decisions in their lives such as where to go to college and what to study while they’re there. As a result of pressure and stress, students have become less independent. Author of “Today’s Exhausted Superkids”, Frank Bruni, states that many students are “forever in search of a competitive edge. Some use stimulants like Adderall. Some cheat.”

In trying to achieve a healthy balance both in and outside of the classroom many teens have seemingly become robots. Eat, work, (hardly) sleep and repeat is the tedious routine of many high school individuals. Bruni also states in his “Today’s Exhausted Superkids” article that, over the years, childhood has been transformed “into an insanely programmed, status-obsessed and sometimes spirit-sapping race.” Between the typical 6 and a half hour school day, homework, sports practice, and jobs, students simply do not have enough time in the day to achieve their daily goals. Students of all ages are being sandwiched between research papers and extra curriculars. Evidently, students are being forced to choose between their academic and social lives. There is no balance between the realms.

It’s no secret that many children feel the need to go above and beyond to be successful in life but how much stress can an individual take? Mary Alvord, a clinical psychologist and public education coordinator for the American Psychological Association gives her input in the article, School Stress Takes A Toll On Health, Teens And Parents Say.” She states that, “A little stress is a good thing, it can motivate students to be organized. But too much stress can backfire.” It is in the best interest for students that educators begin to take into consideration what students actually need. Students should not have to be forced to choose between their education and leading a happy life. Schools should help facilitate an environment where students can have both.