They are simply mirroring their parents' struggle for cars, boats, and bigger houses. Still, there is little compassion for the overloaded 15 year old. Stress is expected. Time is money. Americans too readily sacrifice quality family time in an effort to generate the success they need to buy their family quality things. If America really wants to pay more than just intellectual homage and lip service to the concept of 'family first' then they must take a good hard look at their real system of values.
The postmodern world of technology has made American teenagers the most stressed out and overloaded generation in history. Students are groomed for success in a competitive world with everything from school to extra-curricular activities, and "staying up all night to finish routine assignments, to agonizing over falling grades because jobs crowd out homework" (Shellenbarger1). When work takes priority over grades, it brings on an additional source of stress. A recent study reported that the number of hours a student works is directly related to their "emotional exhaustion and psychological strain" (de man, Harvey, Ward, and Benoit 248). These tensions are a reflection of the seventy percent of parents who don't have time for their children, and the untold children who don't have time for their parents. ...
in a hectic schedule, peers into the future and predicts, "We're moving fast as it is, and you know our kids are going to be moving even faster" (Shellenbarger 2). These children naively look to jobs and technology to save them, as if the problem will also provide the solution (Shellenbarger2). One 16-year-old boy is already plotting his future, isolated from his family, where they respect him for his money and little else (Shellenbarger2). Other than being wealthy the teen doesn't know what he wants to be. These are the children that America is producing in its rush to compete and produce. These are the children that are bombarded by a pop culture that idolizes wealth and has disdain for the real and mundane. These are the children that are raised by a generation of parents where average is not an option and failure is for losers.
The solution to this national madness will only be accepted when America takes an honest inventory of their needs, and makes a real commitment to 'family values'. There is plenty of support for altering our schedules, slowing down, and making a decision whether to keep the BMW or the family. High school students overwhelmingly want to spend more time with their children than their parents did (Shellenbarger3). Parents need to reassess their priorities and make more time and 'mental space' for their children. It requires more than simply being present, and may not involve a super-sacrifice of time. Parents need to provide "a variety of behaviours that the child values: for example, closeness, warmth and being ready to defend the child's interests" (Lewis 297). This is not merely quantity time, but is the quality time that has been a time-honored goal of all parents. Students and institutions need to make a realistic evaluation of what is