February 16, 2010
By Grayson Kirtland BRONZE, Moraga, California
Grayson Kirtland BRONZE, Moraga, California
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Kids have lost the right to be kids. Such high expectations for students to live up to take away a childhood that is very important to the development of a person and their happiness.
Today’s parent thinks that to keep children out of trouble and lead them to a successful life, the child needs a full schedule that tries to balance their involvement usually in a multitude of sports, musical instruments, and other academic clubs or organizations on top of their already stressful schoolwork. This set of ideals is a perfect formula for serious problems for kids who are unhappy, tired, and ultimately unhealthy. Childhood should be an innocent time in everyone’s life where you can learn how the world works, begin to build relationships with others your own age and your parents, and not have any of the pressures of adulthood like meeting deadlines and hustling from one event to another. However, for some reason, parents feel that in order for their child to lead a successful life, they need to push them into all kinds of scheduled activities that steal the childhood experience. When a student is pushed so hard at such a young age, they miss out on growing up because their parents have treated them like adults since kindergarten which will leave them unhappy.
The continuation of this approach into high school only makes the consequences much more severe. As teenagers, our job is to find our place in the world, which is very confusing and difficult at times. With added pressures to take college AP classes as well as extra curricular activities, the chore of getting through high school seems almost impossible. There are consequences to the overachieving attitude many parents push onto their kids. The railroad tracks near Gunn High School in Palo Alto, California have been the site of four suicides of high school students in less than one year. Stressed out students, especially teenagers, are at a high risk for actions like these because of the expectations parents set for their children. The root of this issue is the outrageous ideas parents have of what makes a successful child.
Often when a child doesn’t succeed and reach the expectations of his or her parents or school, that child is given drugs that will stimulate brain function and hopefully lead to better grades. While this may seem like a helpful boost for kids who aren’t working to their full potential, it’s necessary to realize that the drugs are not like the Tylenol extra strength you take when you get a headache but are generally heavy amphetamines. Adderall, a common medication for students with ADD and ADHD, has very serious abuse and habit forming potential. The drug can cause lack of appetite, increased blood pressure, and even strokes or heart attacks. Use of these medications may help with learning but it must be taken into account that parents are feeding their kids doctor prescribed speed that will only be increased in volume as they get older. It’s scary to think that parents would rather put their children on an extremely potent medication at a young age just to see them succeed in a class.

Some may say that putting high pressure on kids only helps them reach their full potential. I agree this is true, but it’s more important to focus on an aspect of a child’s life that the child truly enjoys. If the child is given opportunities to see everything that he or she is capable of, then they can find something they love and be truly happy doing it. Also, we have to think about where these pressures we put on kids will lead them. The child may work hard through high school, go to a University, and make lots of money, but the child may not be fulfilled inside just because the wealth they have attained. The wealth of a person does not ensure their happiness. Parents shouldn’t be pressuring their children to find this wealth but rather encourage them to look for things they can enjoy for a lifetime.

Expectations of children put them in an extremely stressful spot that parents believe is the key to a child’s success. Parents treat their children as adults, putting all the stress that comes with adulthood on their young kids. The consequences of this are to rob children of the opportunity for new experiences and to build important relationships, and in some of the most extreme cases, can lead to suicide. What parents should be telling their child is that they should look to find happiness, not wealth.

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