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Family Stress

Family Stress

Family stress such as financial problems, substance abuse, or violence can be overwhelming for everyone involved. Such stress can have a negative effect on a students ability to learn. There is extreme diversity in the composition of today's family. Over the years the divorce rate has increased dramatically. The number of single-parent families,stepparent families, blended families and extended families has increased over the last decade. Along with the change in family structure, the styles in which children are raised has changed dramatically over the years. Many children are unsupervised during the day. These latchkey children range between the ages of five and fourteen. These children are left to care for themselves after school. They got their name as they usually carry a key on a rope or chain, around their neck. In order to meet the needs of the latchkey kids, many schools provide before and after-school programs. Many adults are involved in their careers. They do not have time to meet the emotional needs of their children. Educators are being called on to play an increased role in the socialization of children.

3.4 Activity 1

Take the family stress test with a parent. Do not return the test to me.

Answer the following questions.

What was your families score?

Were you surprised?

Was it fun?

Is Your Family Stressed Out?

Take this quiz to help you evaluate your family's stress level. Score 0 if the statement is never true for your family, 1 if it's rarely true, 2 if it's sometimes true, and 3 if it's always true.

1-Rarely True

2-Sometimes True

3- Always True


1       We often talk about our feelings.
2       It seems like we argue a lot.
3       I know what's important to my kids.
4       (For couples) Sometimes marriage is disappointing.
5       (For single parents) The kids like my choice of dates.
6       The kids get upset that we argue.
7       We have enough money for the important things.
8       We have conflicts about how much to spend and on what.
9       Work is important, but family is our top priority.
10       We don't listen enough.
11       (For couples) our relationship is strong.
12       (For single parents) My kids are upset when I date.
13       (For couples)  We both feel good about our roles as parents.
14       It seems as if someone's always mad at someone else.
15       (For single parents) The kids like my choice of dates.
16       Too much work is getting to me.
17       Tension in our house is rare.
18       (For single parents) Being single has been very hard for me.
19       The kids are doing well in school.
20       There's never enough time.
21       Everyone in the family has a job, and does it without being nagged.
22       (For couples) We argue about who should do what with the kids.
23       We eat together every day.
24       It's impossible to get the kids to do anything around here.
25       Vacations together turn out well.
26       I've been called in to school to discuss my child's behavior.

Total Odd Score: ______

Total Even Score: ______

To score: Total your scores for odd-numbered questions and even-numbered questions separately. Your goal is to have a high odd score and a low even score. Both are positive signs of your family's stress skills.

What Your Scores Mean
For scores of 33 and above (odd) or 17 and less (even):
Congratulations! Your family has good skills and attitudes which help you handle life's stresses. This makes your home life rich and satisfying.

25-32 (odd) or 18-24 (even): You have a strong start. Try practicing your good skills and positive attitudes more, to create even more harmony at home.

18-24 (odd) or 25-32 (even): You're probably under many stresses. Look carefully at these questions and think about ways to improve your score. Remember: it's not a sign of weakness to ask for help.

17 and less (odd) or 33 and above (even): Taking action now is very important for your family's health and happiness. Reach out to friends, family or professional help for a great boost when times are tough.

Taken from Plainsense.com

Substance Abuse-

Substance abuse ranges from alcohol and chewing tobacco to cocaine, LSD, heroin and marijuana. Polls show that drug abuse has increased over the last few years. Drug abusers pose the risk of addiction and overdosing. Justice Department figures show that alcohol or drug abuse is associated with more unplanned pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, depression, suicide, automotive accidents, criminal activity, dropping out of school and HIV infection than is any other single factor. Marijuana users are twice as likely as nonusers to average Ds and Fs. Young people often see drugs as a way of coping with life's problems.

***Many young people who are addicted to drugs and perhaps unemployed, are often unable to care for their own children. As a direct result, there is an increasing number of grandparents who must act as primary caretakers of their children's children.

For more information on substance abuse, click here.

Violence and Crime

Crime rates among adolescents has risen over the years. Serious violent crimes in schools has also increased over the past decade. Youth gang memberships have increased, as many youth feel that gang membership provides the following benefits:

  • a sense of belonging and identity
  • protection from other gangs
  • opportunities for excitement
  • a chance to make money through selling drugs
  • participating in illegal activities


    As school shootings have increased over the past few years, the nation's concern for school safety has heightened. Many schools have created crisis management plans to help cope with violent incidents on campus. Schools are reviewing their ability to provide a safe environment for both students and faculty. Schools try to prevent crimes before they happen. Risk factors for school violence include:

  • economic and social deprivation
  • family history of substance abuse
  • family history of crime
  • lack of effective parenting
  • parental rejection
  • victimization by physical or sexual abuse
  • domestic violence
  • behavior problems
  • academic failure
  • substance abuse
  • gang affiliation
  • possession of weapons


Modular 3.4 Activity 2

  1. Take the Do you get angry quiz. Do not turn this quiz in. What was your score? Do you feel that your score reflects your anger control level?
  2. Is our school safe? Reflect on your answer.
  3. Should metal detectors be installed in our schools? Explain your answer.

Do You Get Angry A Lot?

If you "fly off the handle" easily you may risk serious illness, so it's important to know how often you place yourself at risk.

Everyone gets angry occasionally. But people who "fly off the handle" easily may be at risk for heart disease or other illnesses, so it's important to know how often you place yourself at risk. Men are at greater risk for these illnesses than women.

Score 1 if the statement is never true for you, 2 if it's sometimes true, 3 if it's often true, and 4 if it's always true.

   It doesn't take much to get me mad.
  People tell me I should calm down.
  I blow up at terrible drivers.
  If I'm upset, I'll hit the dog or cat.
  People call me hotheaded.
  I'm furious about the way I get treated at restaurants or stores.
  Often other people's mistakes slow me down, it can upset me for the whole day.
  If things are bad enough, I'll throw things.
  I swear loudly to blow off steam.
  I feel like hitting someone who makes me very angry.
  I've been told I have a bad temper.
  If you embarrass me in front of someone, I'll be furious.
  I'm a very ambitious person, so sometimes I get impatient and angry with other people.
  I've been known to break things when I'm frustrated.

What Your Score Means

If you score 18 or below, you have a high temper threshold, and are able to stay calm in situations which would frustrate many others. This helps you manage your stress levels.

If you score 19-27, you get angry about as often as most people. To reduce your score, practice the hints below.

If you score 28-35, you might be under too much stress, or getting angry may be a habit. Take this score seriously, and begin to make changes now, before it affects your health.

If you score over 35, and you continue with your behaviors and attitudes, you risk serious stress-related disease. Work your way down the list below and take the test again. Repeat until your score is in the normal range. It may help to speak to a counselor about other ways to deal with your anger.

Hints That Help

  • You'll be happier and easier to live with if you try these hints every day:
  • Say "I was wrong" to someone.
  • Think about when and where you learned your reactions to anger.
  • Spend 10 minutes sitting in a park or garden.
  • Laugh at a joke, situation or yourself.
  • Read something for pleasure.
  • Avoid doing two things at once (such as eating and reading)
  • . Try to relax and gain perspective on your life.


Why should schools care about suicide? Suicide is the leading cause of death among Americans aged 15 to 24, which accounts for more the 4000 deaths yearly for this group. In the next 24 hours, almost 1,500 teens will attempt suicide. At least 13 will succeed. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (1998b), in 1997 about 21 percent of high school students seriously considered committing suicide, about 16 percent made a suicide plan; about 8 percent actually attempted suicide; and about 3 percent required medical attention as a result of their suicide attempt. Especially at risk are adolescents struggling with their sexually orientation, and adolescents who have been physically or sexually abused.

For more information about suicude, click here!

What should teachers look for?

  • Depression
  • Persistent sadness
  • Boredom or low energy
  • Loss of interest in favorite pastimes
  • Irritability
  • Physical complaints and illness
  • Serious changes in sleeping and eating
  • School avoidance or poor performance

What are some other social issues that educators must face daily?



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