By Jatin Mathur (NNHS Senior) and the teen Alive Media Group (AMG)

Our community has suffered a great deal in the past year. The events of this year have brought contemporary underlying issues of teen stress pressure to the forefront of community discussions. We at the Alive Center have felt a need to respond to these events. Our plan addresses the recent concerns in Naperville as seen with the pressure petition submitted by an NNHS student as well as recent teen suicides and drug and alcohol abuse.

In general, the Naperville schools are high-performing in a wide range of areas, including both sports and academics. We believe that challenges are a part of life and want to do our part to help empower Naperville teens to be more resilient to life’s obstacles. We believe that the current challenges being experienced by Naperville teens are not exclusive to Naperville but are indicative of all high-performing communities. We think it is now necessary to reflect upon these challenges and reframe them to avoid the toxic levels of stress and pressure that are too often seen among teens today.

Over the summer, the Alive Center created a teen task force to identify the most prevalent issues facing teens. Based on this task force, we found the underlying issue to be a focus on outcome as opposed to effort. In other words, doing something for the reward, the grade, the title instead of the gain. In essence, it is a discussion around how you define success. Is success purely academic? Is it sports related? Or maybe is it about being well rounded kid? Or perhaps, looking at Alive’s mission, is it about each kid finding their own personal gifts and talents to bring to the world?

In addition to a focus on outcome over effort, we found the following to be causing our local teens pressure:

  • Pursuit of college education (or not)
  • Self-pressure
  • Fear of failure

Our plan addresses all of these high-pressure areas. Topics will include the pressure to attend college, the pressure teens put on themselves, understanding and overcoming fear of failure, what success is, and finding your passion.  These blogs will be relevant to both parents and teens, and in some cases may be split into two separate articles to address each of those different perspectives. Our teen Alive Media Group (AMG) group will supplement these articles with other relevant media content. We hope that our plan provides the understanding, comfort, and advice that members of our community are seeking. If you have any questions, comments, experiences, or opinions you’d like to share, please contact us at TeenMedia@alivenaperville.com.