So what is it? The youth of today are under extreme pressure so much more than we were. The culture today is totally different, the vast majority no longer hang or play out together as we did they stay in their rooms and have group chats on their phones. It’s often hard for parents to understand their culture. Trust me, we never had the huge pressure that social media puts on the vast majority of them. To be popular on their media is huge, who has the most likes, taking comments the wrong way or even being bullied on line.
So!!! I coach in Upper Schools with children ranging from the ages of 13 to 18. I can assure you there are still lots of incredible kids out there. To date without exception I personally haven’t come across any of them that don’t think there parents aren’t amazing. That’s not to say we don’t get on their nerves, and they don’t have arguments with us but on the whole the vast majority genuinely love and admire their parents dearly.
However they tend to bottle up the multitude of problems they have and don’t want to talk with their parents. They tell me they don’t want to WORRY them, or they are embarrassed, it’s very private, it can sometimes be about their parents relationship. It may be they are being bullied and concerned that their parents action will only make matters worse.
The list is ongoing.
So what about talking to their teachers? Most of them see their teachers as an authoritative figure. They feel their teacher is far too busy to confide in.
Friends? Not everyone has friends and may feel isolated and lonely. On the other hand you have the popular cool kids. who could not possibly let their guard down and allow anyone to know they may be struggling. The Middle of the Road ones generally don’t want to discuss it with their friends in fear of sounding silly. In all of the above their biggest worry is their confidence being broken leading to everyone talking about them.
On occasions they may feel lost and alone, in extreme cases it can result in self harming, panic attack’s or even worse. They may withdraw or not want to go to school. Sometimes it manifests itself in bad behaviour and disruption. Quite often they worry about their future career choices many still don’t have any idea what they want to do. Their schoolwork is often a huge worry to so many especially when approaching their Mocks. Many don’t understand all the lessons and feel its only them, everyone else seems to understand the work, this can result in them falling behind. Boyfriends, Girlfriends, everyone else has had sex, or not. Being gay or transgender, wanting to be different, not wanting to have to conform, being a Nerd (their words). Again the list is endless.
When they come to see me I listen to them, then together we work through all their worries and try to get them to really understand what’s going on. Often they struggle to turn up for their first session and so many have trust issues. The relationship and trust between us is paramount for the process to be able to work. There is always a way forward and letting them see that gives them clarity and quite often hope. As we get to know each other better they begin to relax and are able to see there is a light at the end of tunnel. In certain cases earlier intervention could have saved a lot of heartache.