Around 40% of the children I see in my practice are suffering from stress because of school work.

  • Is your child or teenager feeling overwhelmed by their amount of school work?
  • Is the pressure of deadlines and tests making them feel anxious, inadequate and stressed?
  • Is that in turn making you feel frustrated and confused?

Of course you want to back up their school and instill discipline around work and deadlines, but you are also getting very concerned about the impact this constant workload is having on your child.

The pressure is definitely not having the desired effect of stretching your child and making them stronger.

Rather, you are fearful that it’s having the opposite effect and your child is either worryingly anxious and stressed or they are slowly giving up and switching off.

Perhaps you are also resentful at the impact homework has on family life and how it steals your time with your child?

And you are not at all sure what to do about it or how to help:

  • Do you talk to the Head or Head of year?
  • Are they in the wrong school?
  • Wouldn’t it backfire if you didn’t push your child?

I hear this problem so often from parents and I really empathise because of where it puts us as parents: Right between the ‘rock and the hard place’.

Yes, of course the school is there to teach your child and your child needs to do the work set and learn about deadlines.

But if your child is crying themselves to sleep because they are scared of getting a detention or frantically packing and unpacking their school bag for fear of forgetting a book, that can’t be right either can it?

And the thing is teachers are totally fed up too.

Their profession is going the way of social workers, nurses and the police where a disproportionate amount of time is taken up with quantifying, evidencing, measuring and proving their work.

I don’t know a single teacher who prefers doing that over teaching.

It is time we as parents take a stand for our children AND for our children’s teachers.

We can, we should, we have the right and we must make ourselves heard.

The quote below is from an article written in 2008 – nearly 10 years ago and things have ONLY got worse since:

“Primary school pupils have to deal with unprecedented levels of pressure as they face tests more frequently, at a younger age, and in more subjects than children from any other country, according to one of the biggest international education inquiries in decades”.

The damning indictment of England’s primary education system revealed that the country’s children are now the most tested in the world.

Parents are encouraged to choose schools for their children based on league tables of test scores. But this puts children under extreme pressure which could damage their motivation and self esteem as well as encouraging schools to “teach to the test” at the expense of pupils’ wider learning, the study found. The findings are part of a two-year inquiry – led by Cambridge University – into English primary schools.  

Here’s how I broke the rules

I used to allow my children to take a ‘mental health day’ off school when the pressure and deadlines became too much or when they could show me that time spent at home was more valuable than attendance.

I always planned fun days out during revision. ‘Mum everybody else’s parents make them work, and you are making me go to the beach’ half complained #3 during her GCSE revision. She graduated from Manchester last year.

I encouraged them to be in charge of their own pace and learning and make choices about the subjects they wanted to do well in. You might be super bright and very intelligent but it does not automatically follow that you want, need or should try for A*s in all subject.

According to the charity Young Minds, the rise in anxiety began in the mid 80s before the advent of social media and before the introduction of school league tables in 92 , so we can’t blame the current unprecedented rise in anxiety levels amongst children and teens on schools alone.

And yet in my free, downloadable e-guide, 10 simple solutions to child & teen stress, anger and anxiety, I end with a cry to action:

“Write to the governors of your child’s school and let them know that you support them in putting children’s happiness above the school’s academic record”

Am I right to suggest this step?

Do you think it will make a difference? Would you like a template? Would you share it? Should we start a movement?

Leave a comment below and let me know what you think and what you do when faced with this in your family.

If your child is suffering and struggling right now and you would like help to find a way forward you can book a WayForward Consultation with me here.