Teen Stress - Indian Americans
- By Sam George
- Published 10/21/2008
Sam George is the Executive Director of PARIVAR International - a non-profit initiative to address the needs of youth and families of Asian Indian origin in North America and to the Asian Indian community worldwide. Parivar means family in many Indian languages. Sam George also serves as one of the founding directors of Urban India Ministries
www.UrbanIndia.org Sam George and his wife, Mary have spoken at premarital and family events in many countries. They are parents of two boys and make their home in the northern suburbs of Chicago. Sam is the author of the book “Understanding the Coconut Generation: Ministry to the Americanized Asian Indians." Check out this website www.CoconutGeneration.com Coconut (brown on the outside, white on the inside) is a metaphor for the Americanized Asian Indians. Sam George can be reached at email@example.com
In a recent report, I came across rising stress levels among teens. Parental and societal expectations, peer acceptance, fear of failure, confusion over who they are and what they want to do in life, changing body, media/culture influences, relationships etc make life hard for teens like never before.
A 2005 survey of teens nationwide by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation found 94 percent reported feeling stressed at some point in their daily lives. Forty-eight percent said they felt stress sometimes, while 27 percent said it was frequent.
Adolescence has never been easy, but it has never been as hard as it is these days. Parents of teens must understand the complexities of todays teen world and provide necessary empathy and support. The stressed-out teens are at increased risk of developing depression, anxiety, ulcers, obesity and other ailments. The heart and mental problems are hitting at younger ages.
Indian American parents, who are the most educated and successful in America, make things harder for the Coconuts. As immigrants who have excelled beyond all others, they tend to set higher expectations of their children. Some thrives under a better starting point in their lives, but in many cases this tendancy comes to hound teens.
The immigrant parents increasingly are focused on the success of their children. One parent admited that no matter how successful you are, when children do not make it better than yourself (educationally & economically) you begin to consider yourself a failure. Parents’ status in the society depends on the success of their children - like which college they are studying, what program are they pursuing, if they are married, how many grandchildren you have etc.
Remember what kids think: If I fail this test, that will determines whether I get into Yale or Harvard. When you’re an adolescent you can see that as the end of the world.