By Gina Murrin – 17years old, SJB, Studying Psychology, Philosophy and Ethics, Sociology
And Charlotte Simonds – 17years old, SJB, studying Psychology, Geography and Art
At this stage in our lives, a massive pressure we face is the challenge of A Levels; they are a considerable jump up from GCSE. The ability to comfortably pass GCSE’s with an A or a B are extremely different to achieving a high grade at ‘A’ level. The amount of work needed at this level is significantly higher than in previous years, and it is difficult to make the jump up to this standard. The expectations of students also change because instead of being given sheets or short answer questions to do at home, the work we are given includes extensive essay writing or for a Maths student for example it would be a significant number of past paper questions.
It is important for parents to try to understand the jump up to a new stage of education. Understandably, times are now different and parents struggle to appreciate the difference.
In second year of college there is the added pressure of applying to university. The UCAS system involves writing a personal statement and making the choice of the university they want to pick. Most students would like to be independent when applying to university because it is a really personal choice and it doesn’t include just the best’ Uni’. But, we take into account the course content; the night life; the university location and in general the place you will commit to for the next three years of our lives.
Other pressures we experience at this age are social pressures. For example, temptations start as it is in yr13 that everyone turns 18 and the opportunity to go out throughout the week becomes possible. This can become a problem as often its more tempting to go out than it is to stay at home and do work! However, it is at this time that we need to be stepping up the amount of work we are doing. Therefore, it can strain friendships as you want to be sociable and yet if you do stay home you can be called a ‘Try Hard”.
The relationships between parents and children may become strained because all the pressures we experience can result in us feeling incredibly stressed and tired. Therefore, when getting home from school the last thing we want to do is answer a million and one questions about our day. Furthermore, it can often feel as though parents don’t appreciate that we have just spent 6 hours at school doing work, so we use home as a place to unwind and relax, rather than a place to continue with hours more work as our parents often expect us to.
This is part of the issue in regards to independence that we desire. At this stage in our lives we feel old enough to be independent and do things ourselves. However, as we still live at home and rely on our parents for so much it can result in conflict and arguments.
This is how you can help us: –
- Give us boundaries and trust we will stick to them. Understandably, letting a teen go off on their own can be difficult. However, if we are being asked to make decisions about our future and our careers, then it is only fair we are given the freedom at home. Life becomes much more serious and the decisions we make have a bigger impact on our lives. Therefore, if we come home and experience endless restrictions this often leads to friction.
- We are fully aware that there is a lot of work that needs to be done in order to achieve the grades we need for Uni, however if we are constantly being pushed both in and outside of school it can often result in us wanting to do the work less. We think that self-motivation is key and we need to motivate ourselves to be successful.
- A final thing we think would really help the relationship between teenagers and their parents would be understanding and balancing boundaries. For example, one stressful thing can be when your parents are so strict you feel you have no freedom, so its important to give us enough space to be independent. We appreciate it is fair and important to ensure limits though
Maybe what we could do is also understand you at times. We know you love us but humour, fun and spending time as a family, is really important to us too – we just don’t have enough hours in a day to do it all really well and may get it wrong at times!