Academic stress is integral to high-complexity fields like science and technology. Students constantly struggle with the difficulty levels of these subjects. According to statistics, 45% of high school students in the US report feeling stressed all the time. Even more of them experience stress on many occasions. Chances are that most students are worried about their grades in complex subjects.
As a parent, you may have to be extra mindful if your child chooses STEM majors. In a recent APA survey of STEM graduate students, 60% of them felt on the edge due to academic pressures, financial debt, or overall anxiety. The number may be far greater than you imagine, considering thousands of young Americans choose to major in STEM.
You may have no idea of the kind of pressure your child may be dealing with. However, you can do your bit to alleviate it and help your young STEM scholar stay sane while pursuing their academic goals.
Here are a few parenting tips to foster a stress-free environment for your child:
Encourage an Innovative Learning Approach
No one can argue about the difficulty levels of STEM subjects. Even the brightest of brains may struggle with concepts of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Encouraging your child to adopt an innovative learning approach can make all the difference. Proprep recommends looking beyond textbooks and classroom teaching. An online platform offering bite-sized videos can be a game-changer.
Consider complex concepts of organic chemistry that become far simpler with video tutorials. A student will be far more likely to understand and retain the C2H4 Lewis structure by visualizing it. Videos can help them comprehend ethane’s molecular geometry and bonding characteristics. With this innovative learning approach, things become simple and stress-free for learners.
Create a Supportive Environment
Multiple studies have examined the relationship between academic stress and the home environment. A student can learn better and feel less anxious in positive surroundings. Conversely, negative outlook and parental pressure can worsen their mental health and classroom performance in the long run. As a parent, the best you can do is to create a supportive and positive environment for your STEM scholar.
It creates a safe space for your child where they can express their concerns, apprehension, and frustration. Be open to listening without judgment and providing emotional support. Communicate regularly with your kid to understand their challenges, achievements, and aspirations. A reliable support system can significantly lower their academic pressure.
Ensure Realistic Goal Setting
Although every student sets personal goals, parents must ensure these goals are realistic and achievable. Unrealistic goals can elevate academic stress enough to affect the mental well-being of young scholars. Even worse, they may lead to academic burnout sooner rather than later, leaving your child feeling overwhelmed and helpless.
STEM goals are often dynamic because of the competition that students face in the classroom. Every child wants to go the extra mile with better grades, deadline adherence, and project quality. Tell your child that it is okay to fall behind on goals. Also, discuss goal-setting and time management with them because your maturity can help.
Advocate Work-Play Balance
Work-play balance is critical for STEM students because academic pressure can get too hard to bear. While excelling in studies is essential, your child should have a well-rounded lifestyle with adequate recreation. Encourage participation in school sports and extracurricular activities to promote relaxation and confidence. You can even suggest adopting a creative activity like arts or music.
Quality time with family and occasional outings can provide your child with much-needed breaks from academics. A relaxed and healthy routine can enhance cognitive function and improve their overall academic performance. Your child may not be keen to maintain the work-play balance initially, but you can convince them by explaining its benefits.
Guide about Healthy Coping Mechanisms
Research emphasizes the value of coping mechanisms for increasing self-efficacy in university students. STEM students often encounter moments of frustration and anxiety, but healthy coping strategies make it easy to deal with them.
You can guide them about adopting the following strategies:
- A healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet, regular exercise, and enough sleep
- Relaxation techniques such as meditation and deep breathing
- Hobbies like reading, gardening, or cooking
- Professional counseling and support when necessary
- Developing to-do lists and action plans
The Bottom Line
STEM studies are undoubtedly challenging, making academic stress a reality for students. Parents can show them the way to deal with their anxiety and adopt a positive approach to their goals and plans. However, it requires a strategic mindset where you need to understand your child’s challenges and create a roadmap to overcome them.