After a wonderful, full two weeks in the UK, I’m back in the land of OZ. Conversations with readers of Raising Stress-Proof Kids at my two book events in London and Norwich lead me to realise that so many parents in the UK as well as Australia are dealing with very stressed out kids and are very stressed themselves.
UK teens are faced with the stress of doing well at their GCSE’s or A-Levels. Parents are anxious…and usually involved in pushing kids to do their best… and though this comes from a good place we’ve definitely lost the plot somewhere. As members of the public told me, we know this intuitively, but it’s good to have it brought to attention: chronic stress prevents optimal cognitive function!
So if we want kids to function well during exams, stress-proofing them is partly about us NOT feeding their anxiety, about us maintaining our own sense of calm even in the midst of a storm, and about us as parents NOT adding to the pressures they already face by making exams look like a life-or-death scenario. After they write those final tests, the sun still comes up, and life goes on, and the real truth is, our kids are likely to have several different careers in their long lives. If we do our bit to reduce the pressures they already face, by NOT putting so much pressure on them ourselves, we can help them immensely.
Teaching our kids how to get themselves into a state of high coherence (see www.heartmath.org) is also really helpful in terms of them being able to cope and survive exam pressure. They can learn how to stop stress in its tracks and get their nervous systems back into order. I think that it’s so important for our teens to be given the right support so that they don’t fall through the cracks. And there’s a lot we can do as parents to make life less stressful for them. Of course that’s what Raising Stress-Proof Kids is all about. : )