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MARIST BROTHERS LINMEYER

Dealing with the stress of final exams…

At this time of the year, a number of young people are writing exams at schools and universities. This results in a lot of pressure from within and from many parents, sometimes resulting in young people suffering from depression or anxiety or both! In ‘The Star’, 07th November, the article below raised concerns about ‘Anxiety, depression sweeping campuses’.

As parents, it is important for you to read this article. Schools are no different to universities in many respects and we often forget that we, as parents, having sometimes unrealistic expectations of our children, contribute significantly to our children’s anxiety and stress levels. There is such a fine balance between placing productive pressure on our children so that they achieve their potential and placing excessive pressure creating feelings of failure, inadequacy and hopelessness. This means that we have to understand our children and of what they are truly capable. When it comes to manipulation strategies, some children are masters!

So, ultimately for us as parents, we need to provide a loving, caring environment, nutritious meals, enough rest and much support. As students grow older it is essential that they are capable of working on their own.

We should not be monitoring every study session and every subject that is being learned as this will delay the development of accountability, resilience and learning stamina.
As the article above mentions at the end, look out for the following signs that could possibly indicate anxiety and depression:

  • A loss of interest in activities that one used to enjoy
  • Being less sociable, withdrawing from one’s peers and spending more time alone
  • Lack of energy or increased fatigue
  • Poor concentration and attentiveness while in class or social situations
  • Erosion of self-esteem and increased feelings of hopelessness
  • Finding it difficult to fall asleep or waking up in the early morning hours
  • Overindulging in alcohol as a possible escape to numb the pain of loneliness
  • Significant weight loss or weight gain
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts

You will note that some of the above symptoms apply to a number of adults suffering from depression and anxiety as well. If you or your child are suffering from some of the above symptoms, you may consider starting an active exercise programme, or possibly consulting a professional. I wish you a relatively stress-free experience with your children during the exams this year.
Gary Norton