The Stress Test


Expert insight on how family,
society, and crisis stresses kids — and their

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When we consider kid culture today, we typically tick off evidence
of their 21st-century lives — techie gadgets, media saturation,
over-scheduled calendars, and unique family structures. Less often
do we think of the internal pressures that are part of kids’ daily
lives — what we adults simply call stress-and how that pressure
impacts kids’ faith formation.

We asked three experts to weigh in on three different types of
pressure inherent in kids’ lives. Here’s what they had to say about
family pressure, social pressure, and crisis pressure.


What Kids Wish Their Parents

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by Pat Verbal

Ask today’s kids what stresses them, and you may expect answers
such as taking tests, being picked last for a team, or making new
friends. But when I posed the question to 3rd- and 4th-graders,
here’s what they said:

“My parents are always on me about making good grades.”

“I don’t really want to play baseball, but it’s so important to my

“My stepbrother criticizes everything I do, and I can’t be myself
at home.”

“My parents think they’re the Internet cops. They lecture me too

Tension at home is high on these kids’ list. “Every generation has
a generation gap,” says Mary Manz Simon, author of Trend-Savvy
. “However, because of the accelerating pace of
change, it’s possible that more than a mere gap will emerge between
parents and children. We’re poised on the edge of a societal

This growing chasm may shadow the joys of parenthood with a sense
of dread. Parents, sensing the disconnect, constantly ask, “Am I a
good parent?” And the answer depends on who they ask-Madison
Avenue, school, or the church.

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Children's Ministry Magazine

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