This week I had a student speak to me after class about how she thinks she is doing poorly in my class and then starts to tear up.  During her first class I must admit there was a huge learning curve but she has continued to improve each week. I had to remind her that there is a reason she is taking my class, to learn! If she knew everything before coming in what would be the point.  A few days prior my daughter came home upset about a grade she got on a test. I had to point out that her grade went up dramatically from the mid-chapter quiz to the end of chapter test, that is all I can ask for. I had to explain to her that she is out of practice from school due to “remote” learning and that her improvement was amazing! 

My question is why are students feeling so much pressure to be perfect ALL THE TIME? I understand in college the stakes are higher, but the pressure is felt early on. My question is what are the effects this perfectionism is having on our children? What toll is it taking on their self-esteem? Their self-worth? Their self-image? Their health? 

We have found that long-term stress can be harmful to our health and stress is felt and shown very differently in children and young adults.  Health and wellness are not just about what we eat and drink, it is very much about our thoughts, our actions, beliefs, environment, relationships and much more. It is all interconnected. Health problems caused or exacerbated by stress include depression, anxiety, pain of any kind, illness, sleep problems, autoimmune diseases, digestive problems, skin conditions (eczema), heart disease , reproductive issues, thinking and memory issues and even weight problems and more. 

There is so much stress around us all the time, especially right now we need to teach our children to be kind to themselves, to be patient. Yes, work hard and do their absolute best but not everything has to be perfect all the time, there is room for error and improvement. I also feel that some teachers and professors should think about this concept and acknowledge this as well, especially right now. The long-term health effects of stress are taking a serious toll on our health and we do need to take it seriously. 

My intention for this post was to start a conversation and draw attention to this growing public health issue. What are your thoughts, experiences, stories? And what are your suggestion as to help ease the stress for our young child and young adults?

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