Today’s children learn more than their parents did in school.
They also spend longer hours in school and face greater expectations to take on activities outside of schoolwork, all of which eat into their personal time.
Apart from academic pressure, other stressors for school-going children are often relationships with family and friends.
“As children grow older, peer relationships become more important as this is the stage when they forge their own identity,” said Dr Lim Choon Guan, deputy chief of the department of child and adolescent psychiatry at the Institute of Mental Health.
“Children also have to manage expectations from their parents,” he added.
Some common stressors for teens include the pressure to fit in with friends, learning to adapt to bodily changes during puberty and having to make important decisions on academic courses and future careers, he said.
Yet, some parents unknowingly add to their child’s stress by becoming a part of the problem.
Children who are confident in their parents’ love and acceptance are best able to cope with stress, said Dr Vicknesan Marimuttu, a consultant at the child and adolescent mental wellness service of KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital‘s psychological medicine department.
For instance, parents can support their child during exams by reassuring him that he is loved unconditionally and that any setbacks or disappointments can be managed, he said.
Parents can also lend a listening ear to the child’s problems, and demonstrate stress management and coping skills.
In addition, they can help the child take breaks from exam preparations by supporting relaxing activities such as hobbies and exercise, said Dr Vicknesan.
Here are some common mistakes that parents may make.