Depression, anxiety, eating disorders and behavioural disorders are also on the increase.
Watching television programmes where children compete alongside adults in ‘talent’ competitions gives us an insight into the pressure young people feel to succeed or to be the best.
Who can forget the uncomfortable sight of the young girl in one such show a few years ago reduced to tears because she had forgotten her words and pleading to be allowed to start again?
Unlike adults, children are not equipped to deal with the pressures they experience. They can’t escape to the pub or go to stay with someone else if their school day has gone badly or someone has picked on them in the playground.
It is undeniable that there is a great deal of pressure on young people to do their best and get good results. The stresses and strains of school life can get on top of them and they then may find it increasingly difficult to concentrate in school or get on with their homework.
This can be due to a number of factors, they may find it difficult to concentrate in class because there is disruption around them, there could be problems with friends and bullying, they may find it difficult to relate to their teachers, there may be pressure around course or exam work, there may be specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia or they may feel unsupported by parents or carers.
As a result of any of these factors, some children and young people may simply refuse to participate in lessons at school or may flatly refuse to do their homework. Their marks may fall and they stop trying. They become increasingly stressed and anxious and could announce that they don’t want to go to school at all.
In addition to all of this, exam stress can cause problems with eating and sleeping, anger and anxiety levels and if a child is already experiencing emotional problems or mental health difficulties, this stress can be the last straw.
I am not arguing that pressure of any sort should be avoided at all costs nor do I want to see perfectly normal insecurities, which are part of growing up turned into mental health problems.
It is essential that we do not undermine children’s resilience and capacity to deal with stress and pressure by rushing in to wrap them up in cotton wool. But, at the same time, we should be alert to signs of real worry and anxiety so that we can intervene in good time.
At this time of year, thousands of young people are walking into exam rooms across the country. Reminding them that they only need to do their best, that they are loved and accepted exactly as they are as well as helping and supporting them to be calm and relaxed are the greatest gifts we can give our children.
Hypnotherapy and Coaching with NLP can support young people to latch on to their strengths rather than their weaknesses and can help restore their confidence and self-belief.
Contact Francine at Orrganise to find out how Hypnotherapy and NLP Coaching can support young people and their families.