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Coping with their mood swings was deemed the most stressful thing about parenting a teenager (35 percent), followed by helping them to make important life choices (32 percent), and allowing them to make their own mistakes (31 percent).
But nearly three in ten found it difficult to help them through the anxiety of exams, with 29 percent “shocked” at the impact GCSEs and A-Levels had on their child’s stress levels.
Worryingly, two-thirds of parents believe their child reached a point where they felt unable to cope with school, exams, or the pressure on their education.
And almost half (47 percent) think it affected their teen’s mental health, while 44 percent believe it hit their confidence.
Those teens who were feeling the pressure also became more argumentative (37 percent) or angry (36 percent), and 32 percent lost sleep.
A spokesman for herbal remedies firm A.Vogel, which commissioned the study, said: “A lot is said about the stress of raising a newborn baby, but for many, the teenage years can be difficult and bring unexpected challenges.
“Parents have to try and guide their child through a stressful time of exams and learning to deal with new hormones, while their teen is also trying to learn who they are and wants more independence.”
The study also found over three-quarters of parents (77 percent) claim their teenager has had periods where they have felt stressed, with 82 percent of those saying these worries were around their exams or education.
Emotions come and go, and we can all learn to be in control of how we feel
Professor Margareta James, Harley Street Wellbeing Clinic
Getting good grades is the top school worry, according to 45 percent of parents, followed by remembering everything they revise (37 percent), and what happens if they fail (36 percent).
Other stress triggers around their education include the impact of the pandemic and home-schooling on their grades (31 percent), and living up to their parents’ and teachers’ expectations (25 percent).
As a result, more than a quarter of parents (27 percent) think exams are too stressful for teenagers, and one in three (32 percent) believe there is too much pressure placed on a child’s education.
It also emerged 29 percent of those polled, via OnePoll, felt powerless to help their child with exam stress, with the most common way of attempting to alleviate anxiety being simply talking to them.
A third tried to give them space, while 30 percent tried to make sure other areas of their lives were calm and organised, and 27 percent ensured they had a healthy diet.
But over a quarter of parents (27 percent) believe they felt more stressed about their child’s exams than their teen – with one in five (20 percent) going as far as to say they felt unable to cope.
And 25 percent of parents claim their youngster’s exam anxiety affected the whole family.
Professor Margareta James, psychologist and founding director of The Harley Street Wellbeing Clinic, said: “We have a child morphing into an adult.
“Their sleep patterns change which can cause chronic sleep deprivation that affects concentration levels and leads to poor attention span, which inevitably reflects on their school and exam performance.
“Brain maturation also coincides with puberty and hormonal changes, so they lack control in the “executive action” areas – setting priorities, planning, organising and controlling impulsive behaviour.
“This causes a lack of motivation, mood swings and conflicts with authority, as well as impacting on their decision-making, especially when it comes to risk-taking.
“Exam time adds an additional layer of stress – but emotions come and go, and we can all learn to be in control of how we feel.
“Herbal remedies containing Passiflora can promote relaxation during stressful or anxious situations including exams.
“But, in the long term, parents and teenagers need to manage stress placed on the body through healthy eating, daily exercise, and good sleep habits, as well as learning relaxation techniques such as regular meditation and havening.”
TOP 20 MOST STRESSFUL THINGS ABOUT PARENTING A TEENAGER:
- Coping with their mood swings
- Helping them to make important life choices, such as what GCSEs or A Levels to take
- Allowing them to make their own mistakes
- The fact they spend so much time on technology
- Helping them to manage their emotions
- Dealing with hormonal changes
- Helping them through their exam stress
- Trusting them to make their own decisions
- Helping them to plan and make decisions about their future
- Worrying about them doing well in their exams
- Them wanting their independence/more independence than you want to give them
- Helping them to deal with their body image and feel confident
- Communicating with them about sensitive, tricky, or embarrassing subjects
- Fears about the impact social media will have on them
- Worries that they are going to be bullied
- Guiding them through high-pressured education
- They are getting into boys/girls – learning about relationships
- Helping them to cope with a huge amount of schoolwork
- They are learning who they are as a person
- Worries that they will take drugs
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