Race to Nowhere – Pressures on Today’s Teens

The pressures on today’s teens are extraordinary. I remember when preparing for the S.A.T. test was, “Do you have an extra #2 pencil – I forgot mine?”

Today, children are pressured to take AP classes, volunteer, play a varsity sport, excel in all classes, strive for a 4.+ GPA – watching my own daughters go through this was terrifying. I urge you to watch this short video trailer explaining the Race to Nowhere movement. Why? For the reasons cited below the trailer.

Why We Must Reduce the Pressures on Today’s Teens

Quoting from the U.S. Surgeon General’s 2007 Call to Action to Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking, “In graduating from elementary to middle school, from middle school to high school, and from high school to college or the workplace, adolescents move in and out of different social contexts and peer groups, which exposes them to new stressors. These transitions lead to increased responsibilities and academic expectations, which are also potential sources of stress. This is important because research shows a link between stress and alcohol consumption [among adolescents].”

Chronic stress can change a child’s brain, making that brain more susceptible to taking drugs or drinking alcohol to excess. Not only that, but alcohol and drugs work on the brain’s pleasure/reward pathways, which is why anyone drinks or uses drugs in the first place. If it didn’t make a person feel better, the person would not consume [think of drinking 2 glasses of water vs 2 beers or 2 glasses of wine, for example].

To help you understand the adolescent brain and why it’s more vulnerable to drugs and alcohol, please visit:

Science of Teen Brain Development in a Nutshell by The Partnership at DrugFree.org

HBO: Addiction: Addiction Among Adolescents

Bottom line – we need to keep in mind the adolescent brain is not the brain of an adult.

 

The physical effects of puberty create dramatic changes in the sexual and
social experience of maturing adolescents that require significant psycho­
logical and social adaptation. Together with hormonally induced mood
and behavior changes, these sexual and social maturation stressors may
contribute to increased consumption of alcohol during the adolescent
period (Tschann et al. 1994). In graduating from elementary to middle
school, from middle school to high school, and from high school to college
or the workplace, adolescents move in and out of different social contexts
and peer groups, which exposes them to new stressors. These transitions
lead to increased responsibilities and academic expectations, which are
also potential sources of stress. This is important because research shows
a link between stress and alcohol consumption.
The physical effects of puberty create dramatic changes in the sexual and
social experience of maturing adolescents that require significant psycho­
logical and social adaptation. Together with hormonally induced mood
and behavior changes, these sexual and social maturation stressors may
contribute to increased consumption of alcohol during the adolescent
period (Tschann et al. 1994). In graduating from elementary to middle
school, from middle school to high school, and from high school to college
or the workplace, adolescents move in and out of different social contexts
and peer groups, which exposes them to new stressors. These transitions
lead to increased responsibilities and academic expectations, which are
also potential sources of stress. This is important because research shows
a link between stress and alcohol consumption.
The physical effects of puberty create dramatic changes in the sexual and
social experience of maturing adolescents that require significant psycho­
logical and social adaptation. Together with hormonally induced mood
and behavior changes, these sexual and social maturation stressors may
contribute to increased consumption of alcohol during the adolescent
period (Tschann et al. 1994). In graduating from elementary to middle
school, from middle school to high school, and from high school to college
or the workplace, adolescents move in and out of different social contexts
and peer groups, which exposes them to new stressors. These transitions
lead to increased responsibilities and academic expectations, which are
also potential sources of stress. This is important because research shows
a link between stress and alcohol consumption.
Lisa Frederiksen

Lisa Frederiksen

Author | Speaker | Consultant | Founder at BreakingTheCycles.com
Lisa is the author of hundreds of articles and 11 books, including "If You Loved Me, You'd Stop!," "Addiction Recovery: What Helps, What Doesn't," and "Secondhand Drinking: the Phenomenon That Affects Millions." She is a national keynote speaker with over 25 years speaking experience, consultant, and founder of BreakingTheCycles.com. She has spent more than 14 years studying 21st century brain research in order to write, speak, and consult on substance use disorders prevention, intervention and treatment; mental disorders; addiction (aka substance use disorders) as a brain disease; adolescent addiction treatment vs adult addiction treatment; effective treatment for co-occurring disorders (having both a substance use and mental disorder); secondhand drinking | drugging; help for the family; and related subjects. In 2015, she founded SHD Prevention, providing training and consulting to companies, public agencies, unions, nonprofits and other entities to address the workplace impacts of employee secondhand drinking and alcohol misuse.

2 Responses to Race to Nowhere – Pressures on Today’s Teens

  1. Mike says:

    thanks for the post. Great video
    It seems to hit all the ‘good’ points regarding the pressures to fit in, succeed, be popular.
    When is the release date again?

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