A Rushden teenager is urging parents to speak to their children about the importance of finding a healthy balance between studying and socialising, in order to better prepare them for their future in higher education or employment.
The call follows research from National Citizen Service (NCS), the country’s flagship youth empowerment programme, which reveals that more than half (57 per cent) of 15 to 17-year-olds feel schoolwork must come before anything else if they want to do well in the future, and only 39 per cent of teenagers in this age group think being happy is more important than good grades.
The new study of 1,000 teenagers and 1,000 parents with children of the same age, as well as 100 senior business leaders, shows that just 16 per cent of young people see trying to achieve a healthy balance between studying and socialising as a priority, yet only half believe they currently have that balance right.
A further recent study showed that when asked who they trust most in the world, 44 per cent of 16 and 17-year-olds said their mum.
Despite this, 28 per cent of parents feel anxious about tackling the new academic year and only 11 per cent feel well prepared to support their teenager.
Rushden teenager Belinder said: “Finding the right balance between school work, additional responsibilities and hanging out with my friends has been tough.
“During exams I go into study mode and that is all I focus on – it can get quite stressful at times.
“It also means that my social life and hobbies including karate completely take a back seat.
“I was a little nervous about going on NCS as I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I’m now so glad I gave it a go and that my parents supported and encouraged me.
“The friends I met and team leaders that ran the programme really helped me see the importance of having a healthy balance in life and the brilliant activities also helped me to learn how to prioritise and build my confidence – all things I know will really help me in the future.”
Devendar, Belinder’s guardian, said: “Teenagers today are under so much pressure to do well in exams and this can have a negative effect on their emotional wellbeing and opportunities for personal development.
“That’s why something like NCS is an excellent way to teach them that, while their education is incredibly important, there’s more to life than exams.
“Although it was strange having Belinder out of the house, I knew it was the best thing for her and was the experience she deserved and needed to help prepare better for life after school.”
To support parents in advising their teenagers on ways to stay happy, healthy and balanced during their critical exams years, NCS has worked with a number of business leaders, celebrities, experts and teens and parents themselves to offer free advice and tips.
Places are currently available for 16 and 17-year-olds to experience NCS – one unmissable week this autumn across England and Northern Ireland – and develop their teamwork, leadership and communications skills before they start applying for jobs or submitting their UCAS application.
To find out more information or sign up visit ncsyes.co.uk.