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Q&A: Are AP Classes Making My Teen Too Stressed?

Teen parenting expert Rosalind Wiseman on addressing teenage stress caused by advanced placement high school classes, and when parents should help their children reevaluate priorities.
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Q. My son, a senior, nearly makes himself sick doing the weekly five-page paper required in his AP history class, on top of pages and pages of reading every night. Should I speak with his teacher?

A. Your son (not you) needs to decide whether this class is a good fit. I know—he's smart and you want him to have the best classes, not to mention early college credits—but this attitude can contribute to his being hyperanxious. Your role is to help your son reevaluate his priorities. If he wants to stay in the class, he should talk to his teacher about how to manage the coursework. He should also decide whether he has too many outside responsibilities. Remember, choosing to take a less demanding history course or cut out an after-school activity doesn't make your son a failure! On the contrary, it will allow him to focus more energy on the commitments that mean the most to him.

Originally published in the November 2006 issue of Family Circle magazine.

 

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