Read the article 'The struggles of teens' and answer the following questions. Then share your answers in pairs, small groups or in a classroom discussion.
1. What are some of the common struggles of teens?
2. What do you think it is about turning 14 that causes the dramatic change in girls that Madonna King is talking about? Is it the same for boys? Why or Why not?
3. In one group discussion, King found that half of the girls were on anxiety medication. What is anxiety? Why do you think so many young people are struggling with anxiety?
4. How does social media affect you? What are some of the pressures you experience because of social media?
5. What is FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)? How does this impact you?
6. What do you need from your parents/caregivers to feel they are listening to you?
1. Give yourself a break: Are your goals for yourself realistic? Do you set impractical standards that are impossible to reach without sacrificing your health and free-time? Or are your expectations so high that you’re afraid to really try or set healthy goals for fear you won’t reach them?
Create a log of how you spend your time. Keep track for four days to a week on where your time goes. How much are you studying? How much time are you on social media or on a device? How much time do you actually sleep? How much time do you dedicate to extra-curricular activities?
Then look at how you can change your days to include enough time for sleep, eating, and family and recreation time, while reaching your school and extra-curricular goals. What extra-curricular activities or media can be eliminated? What can you give more time to?
2. Teachers can ask students to independently answer Madonna King’s survey questions:
a) How does it feel to be _____ (your age)?
b) Name three adjectives that describe how you feel today.
c) How many devices do you have?
d) If you had a problem, who would you go to?
e) Have you ever been bullied?
When you’re finished, teachers can lead a classroom discussion about the pressures on kids and teenagers today and what your school can do.
For younger students
Teachers may summarise for or read the article, ‘The struggles of teens’, to younger students.
Teachers can ask younger students what pressures they already feel when it comes to school, extra-curricular activities and friends. Why do they think it can get worse when students reach the final years of secondary school?
As a class, brainstorm ways students can reduce school, family and friend pressures and how schools can help.