Teens under pressure

Adults have many opinions about teenagers, and for the most part they’re negative. Teenagers are unpredictable and mean, we say, or they’re lazy and entitled, or they’re self-involved1, selfie-taking, Snapchat-addicted narcissists who don’t understand how easy they have it.
It’s easy to forget how challenging being a teenager can be, how the world seems ready to foist2 adult responsibilities onto you without offering any adult freedom in return. […]
But in the affluent3, high-achieving communities crowded around Silicon Valley, there is one aspect of teenagers’ lives that parents treat with the utmost seriousness: their child’s acceptance to an elite (preferably Ivy League) university.
When you’re a teenager in these environments, with a family full of brilliant minds who worked their way through Stanford or MIT or Harvard, the pressure to succeed can become a driving force and a source of anxiety. […]
We often think of work — and workaholism — as a problem of the adult world, and yet young people in these situations are driven so hard to achieve that they often crack4.
Katie MacBride, “High Pressure”, Medium.com, 2018.

1. narcissic 2. impose 3. wealthy, rich 4. break

TEXT B Chloé

“By my senior year, I was student body president, editor-in-chief of the yearbook, and the leader of many community mental health initiatives. Combined with academics1, this definitely wasn’t always an easy load to bear. It was manageable most of the time, but when things went wrong and were out of my control, I often struggled2 to take care of myself without sacrificing some of the things I was working on.”
Katie MacBride, “High Pressure”, Medium.com, 2018.

1. school results 2. fight

Text C Shawna

“The stress and academic rigor of school set unattainable expectations of perfection. […] Pressures increased as the need to get into prestigious colleges loomed1 closer and closer; […] Silicon Valley also prides itself2 on being the valley of workaholics — students grow up in a culture that generally frowns upon3 doing things that aren’t productive.”

Katie MacBride, “High Pressure”, Medium.com, 2018.

looked intimidating 2. feels proud / is arrogant about 3. shows disapproval

STEP 1 : You are in charge of one text.

1 Look at the picture, guess what it is about. Now read the document you are in charge of. What is the link with the picture?

2 Give the reasons why teens feel under pressure.

3 What message is the author trying to convey?

Useful vocabulary: This is an extract / excerpt from…
Given the picture and the title, it must be about…
The journalist tries to convey…

Step 2 : Share your findings and learn about the other texts.

4 Why do parents push their children to be successful? What are the consequences for the teenagers?

5 What advice would you give these students?

Useful vocabulary: They must be under stress…
Teenagers feel their parents’ goal unattainable, they…
I would advise them to…
One of the solutions I would give is…
Maybe they should… If I were them, I would…

Step 3 : Give your opinion.

6 List three reasons for teen stress and explain how parents can help their children manage stress. You can use words from the toolbox.

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