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Why a supportive home life matters

It feels like pressure and stress continue to mount for today's teenagers and new research from America suggests that teenagers in high achieving schools need the support of a strong family dynamic at home more than ever before.

Research shows that levels of anxiety, depression and stress are rising strongly within teenagers and may be due to increases in screen time, changes to the way we bring up children and increases in the expectations placed on them by society at large.

However, these new findings show, and probably underline for many, the importance that positive relationships can make on these factors during the vitally important teenage years. Often we think that the start of senior school is the time when young people spread their wings and cast off the shackles of mum and dad, on the contrary just as children are moving into Senior school is the time when relationships at home matter more than ever.

New Year 7's and Year 9's will be stepping into the unknown as they enroll for the first time in their Senior school. The level of homework quickly mounts, the number of new faces seems to rise exponentially and above all the focus on academic achievement can feel overwhelming.

The message from the research is clearly that high expectations are tolerable if coupled with adequate support mechanisms at home and in school.

Sometimes the anxiety of the parent can trickle down to the child, stress can be something which is picked up through osmosis and again reiterates the importance of modelling the correct behaviour at home and working hard to develop a calm and supportive atmosphere within the family.

There is obviously more to today's mental health crisis than simply parental support but it is useful to remind ourselves just how much of a crutch we can provide to our young people throughout their turbulent teenage years.

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