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.

Coconut Generation