Canadian Youth Keeping Problems To Themselves, Study Says

Teens Suggest Ways Of Communication

With homework, peer pressure and extracurricular activities, stressed teens say keeping quiet is sometimes easier than opening up to parents.

A recent study reveals 42 per cent of teens in Canada are choosing to keep their problems to themselves. Motorola’s ‘Raise Your Voice’ national youth study says teens in Canada rarely or never ask for help when they feel overwhelmed. This result is disturbing considering the study also discovered today’s generation of teens are dealing with an immense amount of stress.

Teen reaction

Youth such as Hayley Pitcher agree with the results of the study. She said from her personal experience adults tend to make the problems or stresses of teenagers seem of little importance. But regardless, she said, when growing up these stresses are real and can strongly affect the way a teenager makes decisions in the future.

“When teens feel overwhelmed they don’t ask for help because they don’t feel their stress is important enough or even justifiable,” Hayley said.

The study also shows close to one in five teens experience high levels of daily stress, with girls and older youth (16- to 18-year-olds) feeling the greatest amount..

With school applications and exams right around the corner, Grade 12 student Alex Mackenzie said life is busy and stressful. It is simple for teens, especially students, to not talk about their problems because they have so many other things to deal with.

“It’s much easier to hold in emotions rather then expressing yourself and leaving yourself vulnerable to another person,” he said.

Parent’s role

When parents of teens were polled for the study, results show only 33 per cent felt their teens turn to them on a regular basis when facing stress and challenges in life.

Alec Maretin, a 16-year-old Markham high school student, said a lot of teenagers believe they can deal with stress themselves because they think that they are invincible. He said talking about problems is sometimes hard for teens because there is the fear that they will be reminded of other slip-ups, making the initial problem bigger than it was before.

“Parents can get teens to open up by dealing with things in a manner which is short and sweet,” he said “They need to deal with the one problem and not try to bring up other issues, reminding teens of past mistakes.”

Similarly, Jennah Dharmshi, 17, said some teens want to be able to deal with stress on their own because it seems like a sign of weakness and they don’t want to be looked down upon.

“Parents should open up about their own experiences as a teenager so that their kids can feel more comfortable, she said. “Then teens can realize their parents have gone through things similar and may be able to offer advice.”

In reaction to the findings, Motorola Canada has introduced a national program aimed to encourage teens to speak up when they face challenges at school, with friends, or in the home.

The program will be run by teachers, child psychologists, guidance councillors, and other experts in the field.