Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Stress-Free at 10?

When I wa s a young teacher a study I read said that the most stress-free time of a person's life was age 10. This was because at 10, most kids could understand abstract things and had their own transportation. Ten-year-olds then rarely encountered a problem that mom, or dad, or a band-aid couldn't fix. I remember 10 quite fondly.

Today I look around me. I search on the Internet. I can find no proof that it still happens that way. The stress free window seems to have closed.

I am saddened by that. What kind of hope do our kids have to grow up on?
—me strauss Letting me be


Eric Mutta said...

...looking forward to death and taxes? LOL. The world has changed and kids today have a lot more challenges to face. Though everytime I'm inclined to lament their plight, I'm reminded that today's kids are a lot smarter than we were in our time.

I mean back in the days, owning a bike was all the rage when you were 10. Now we've got kids running around at age 9 carrying 3G mobile phones and iPods!

ME Strauss said...

Hi Eric,
But with those mobile phones and IPods come stress and other things I guess. On the phone and online, where's the time for imagining?


zilla said...

You bring up a very important point once again, Liz.

If we all thought back and remembered not only what we were doing at age ten, but why and how we were able to do it, would we, if it were humanly possible, make the adjustments & sacrifices necessary to allow our kids whatever it was that kept our stress-free window open?

Would it even occur to most parents to think about this, let alone act on it?

I wonder.

ME Strauss said...

Hi Zilla,

I don't know that parents have the power. We live in a time of Amber alerts, when condom ads are on TV. I'm not sure how you bring back innocence that's been turn away so totally.

Janus said...

I wasn't stress free at 10 unless you count Summers =) I would give it a try again though if I could

ME Strauss said...

Hi Janus,

I don't think of 10 as stress free either, but supposedly that was as close as you get. I might do 10 again, but I wouldn't want to do all of the years between now and then. :)


Cheryl said...

I never had a bike at ten, and Southall was full of newly arrived and ancient Asian gentlemen whose culture had taught them that little ten year old girls out without a male chaperone were, umm, on the market.
Going out of sight of the house meant going with a trusted friend and also agreeing with my mum exactly who, where, and when I'd be back, but it was organised cheerfully and was just natural. I didn't have a Swallows and Amazons standard to compare this to, so I was still care free. Life was fine.
I think the attitude is on the inside, no matter what.


ME Strauss said...

Hi Cheryl,
Sounds like that statistic might have been taken with a very narrow sample only here in the US.

I agree with you point that it's all in your head no matter what people say or what the cicumstance is.


zilla said...

We do have the power, at least to demonstrate a positive attitude. That counts for a lot.

On a side note, my kids don't seem to live anxiously because of Amber alerts, and they're more likely to see condoms on the shelf at the gas station or grocery store than on a TV ad. We spend little time in front of the TV, but they adore Animal Planet and Discovery.

Frankly, they are more likely to stumble over a box of condoms in the medicine chest at home.

They're literate,intelligent people who before age 10 already had a grasp of basic reproductive biology, and I don't find that at all disturbing. If they asked for more information about the purpose of condoms, I would be factual about both contraception and the prevention of STDs.

What really gets my younger kids stressed out and anxious is the sense of pressure that comes with overscheduling.

A balanced amount of unstructured time is essential to a child's emotional health and well-being. "Unstructured" does not preclude appropriate supervision.

Adults need unstructured time, too.

I hope I'm not sounding preachy, it's just my honest opinion about where stress comes from & I know not everyone agrees.

ME Strauss said...

I think you're right. I answered too quickly. Overscheduling is a BIG deal and my mom had the same approach to condoms and such things as you and I do.

You've stated the case well. Much better than I did. I'm glad you said so. Those were important points you made.

Bluesky_Liz said...

Kids at 10 on my side of the world are stressed out by school, exams and the expectations of their parents. I know when I was 10, I was having the worst time of my life. I was in a school that had far higher standards than I can cope with and a demanding father.

It's mostly due to wanting their kids to do well, that makes parents here push their kids so hard. It seems so important to have that degree or diploma that parents here tell their kids, " if you don't study, you'll be ruined." 10 is the age they start "streaming" the kids around here into various academic competence categories, 12 is the age they take the exams that determine if they get to a good secondary school, 16 is the age for "0" Levels exams that determine whether one can enter junior college leading to university or polytechnic. Stress-free, when? :(

ME Strauss said...

Yes, Liz,
I hear you. It seems like it must have been an American statistic from the start and no longer real to finish.

Sure made a discussion happen though didn't it? (blush)