Half past nine in the morning in Germany - the time when the school bell finally sounds. For a large number of pupils, at least. For another part, the gong often means the opposite. Namely, an ordeal of not feeling like they belong or being confronted with a multitude of conflicts for the next 20 minutes.
But let's look at the first group first. Why are there more and more children and young people who do not want to go to school? Or even worse: How can it be that school is such a stress for many that it even makes them seriously ill?
And what exactly does stress mean at an age when the seriousness of life has supposedly not even begun?
In 2018, these and other questions were examined by the commercial health insurance company (KKH) and what they've uncovered is more than a little frightening.
When school makes you sick
It was noted, for example, that more and more children and young people are suffering from Burnout and Depressions diseases that many years ago were found at most in high-stress occupations. The increase from 2007 to 2017 amounts to 120 percent!
Of course, the burnout, which is the precursor to depression, and depression itself is virtually the final stage of the whole evil. Many children and adolescents show a long time before it becomes serious, physical symptoms such as headache, backache or stomach ache. These are not always taken seriously by both parents and teachers, because in our society now and then you have a headache or a stomach ache.
Thus, the first Alarm signals of the bodywhich often begins to speak when the soul suffers, is not recognized. For this would need a general rethinking in society. Health is the natural state of the body - not disease. So that the downplaying of apparently minor aches and pains such as. Sleep problems ceases, as does the compulsion to function.
Pressure to perform and bullying
But what causes these and other symptoms, including loss of appetite and fatigue, in children and adolescents in the first place? Two factors are at the forefront here, which also confirm my personal experience as a secondary school teacher and bullying intervention officer: Pressure to perform and Bullying.
While younger age groups in particular suffer from social conflictsWhen the child enters puberty, the pressure to compete and perform takes over the pole position. greatest stressors a. In addition, the older employees are under pressure from (social) media and Influencer, but who can't hold a candle to the pressure to perform in percentage terms.
The study also shows how devastating stress is to children and teens. Although I was not surprised by the results, I am still very shocked by the massive increase. The students I have had the privilege of mentoring and counselling with bullying problems almost all also complained about the increasing pressure to perform in school. Unfortunately, this is an issue that is not being addressed in school and cannot be addressed in the current state of reforms.
Many schools already have counselling and liaison teachers, social education workers, careers advisers and, like my own school, a bullying intervention team or similar. Unfortunately, these offers often only take effect when "the child has already fallen into the well".
More coaching and consulting
My dream would be that coaching and counselling, which deals specifically with the issues of performance pressure and emotional Resilience should be established in all schools. And this as part of the curricular requirements and not as an extra offer that can be taken up when needed.
Because, among other things, the study mentioned shows how important it is, Giving children and young people the tools to grow into resilient individualsto develop their full potential and to be able to face the challenges of life in a strengthened way.
The fact that this is currently still pure wishful thinking does not mean that it must remain so in the future. Children and young people must be enabled to perceive themselves as creators of their lives and to experience self-efficacy. Also and especially in the Dealing with stress.
Based on my own experience with these issues, I have developed a free student counselling in Hannover where students can contact me regarding the topics of performance pressure, motivation and time management. Of course, this is only a drop in the ocean, but somewhere these topics have to be addressed.
Take stress symptoms seriously
I personally experienced my own school years differently. Of course, there were also many social conflicts and the feeling of still having to find oneself as a young person. However, spending time at school until late in the afternoon or, as with many high school graduates, even into the evening, were not things that were the order of the day. Not to mention the lack of social media and the increasing digitalization, which can cause today's students all kinds of stress.
Therefore, I believe that not only the school, but especially the Parents should be very sensitive to their childrenwhen they are increasingly affected by physical Symptoms such as headache, stomachache, appetite or insomnia.
Today's parents' generation has been shaped quite differently and may not always be able to empathize or relate to today's generation. underestimates the stress factors for their own children. Because in itself, of course, stress is always a bit part of life and can not be kept away from children and adolescents, as well as adults.
In addition, it is not stress alone, but in particular our subjective perception that determines how harmful it is. Our very personal perception has a great influence on how we deal with stress and whether or how harmful it is for us.
(If you are interested in these topics in more detail, you should have a look at this TED Talk and read the book "Intelligent Cells" by Bruce Lipton).
These are all good reasons to start working on a healthy lifestyle at a young age. Mindset in order to be able to face the challenges of everyday school life and, in particular, everyday life in a strengthened way. Or to put it in the words of Aristotle:
We cannot change the wind, but we can set the sails differently.
This article is a guest contribution from Kristina Keller.
Stress isn't just an issue at school that isn't picked up. I have often reached my own limits due to the pressure I put on myself to perform. As a result, over the last few years I have learned to incorporate more mindfulness and balance into my life, leading a happier and more fulfilling life.
As a systemic life coach with a holistic focus on body, mind and soul, I want to pass on this knowledge and inspire as many people as possible to reconnect with the voice of their heart and thereby create a life in harmony with their values and intuition.
Since children and teenagers in particular are under a lot of pressure these days and often feel lost, I now also offer free student counselling in Hanover. You can also contact me via Instagram follow or contact me by E-mail contact