Peer pressure, bullying, stress, low self-esteem, school, family issues and other influences trouble young teens every day. At this critical transitional age, it’s hard for teens to make good choices. Many lack the coping skills needed to positively deal with these situations and feel they have nowhere to turn for support. Some teens may also come from homes that do not provide a consistent, supportive environment with positive role models.
Helping kids in grades 7 & 8 is the ideal window of opportunity before problems may arise, teaching youth coping and developmental skills they’ll need to avoid dropping out of high school and endangering their future income and employability.
- STRESS: 59% of grade 7 & 8 students say they worry about their future, 63% feel nervous or anxious and 40% feel they are under a lot of stress. (Source: TDSB Student and Parent Census, 2012.)
- PEER PRESSURE: 40% of youth say that peer pressure distracts a person from reaching his or her goals. And only 10% say they have never been influenced by peer pressure. (Source: Peer Pressure Survey Statistics, 2010.)
- LOW SELF-ESTEEM: Only 36% of girls in Grade 6 say they feel confident, and that plummets to 14% by Grade 10. For boys, it’s 47% in Grade 6, dropping to 24% by Grade 10. (Source: Healthy Settings for Young People in Canada. 2008. Public Health Agency of Canada)
- BULLYING: 36% of students reported being victims of bullying, 39% reported being bullies and 20% reported being both. Students with low academic achievement levels or who reported low levels of parent trust or negative feelings about the school environment were more likely to be involved in bullying either as bullies, victims or both. (Source: Healthy Settings for Young People in Canada. 2008 / Public Health Agency of Canada).
- 46% of Canadian parents with kids currently in school, said that as far they knew, their kids are being or were bullied at some point. (Source: Angus Reid Institute, poll 2015)
- Bullying can have profoundly negative effects on the children and youth being victimized. Those who are bullied are more likely to experience depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and increased aggression than those who are not. Compared to their peers, children who are bullied tend to experience more stomach aches and headaches, increased school truancy, greater incidents of self-injury, and more frequent suicide (Olweus, 1993). Regretfully, those adverse effects do not stop when the bullying stops. Those consequences can be experienced long into adulthood. (Source: Healthy Behaviour in School Aged Children, chapter 12, 2010)
- YOUTH LIVING IN POVERTY: Evidence shows that young people living in poverty are at an even greater risk for a wide range of physical, behavioural and emotional problems, and the chronic stress associated with living in poverty can also adversely impact a young person’s memory, concentration and ability to learn. (Source: American Psychological Association. 2013. “Effects of Poverty, Hunger and Homelessness on Children and Youth.”)
- MENTAL WELLBEING: Approximately 1 in 5 of Ontario’s children and youth experience mental health concerns. (Source: Ministry of Children and Youth Services. 2006. “A Shared Responsibility: Ontario’s Policy Framework for Child and Youth Mental Health.” Last modified October 26, 2011.)