Child advocate: Kids experience too much pressure at school

Dutch children experience too much pressure around their school work and their work load needs to be reduce, according to Children's Ombudsman Margrite Kalverboer. "Children think they are judged too much on their academic performance. That feeing fits with what adults experience. They suffer from depression and sleep too little." Kalverboer said, AD reports.

Kalverboer succeeded Marc Dullaert as Children's Ombudsman of the Netherlands in April and started her term with a Children's Rights tour through the country. She spoke to hundreds of children and had over 2 thousand kids fill out a questionnaire. 

She found that while the average Dutch child is pretty happy, about one in ten give their lives an insufficient score. These are mostly kids with divorced parents, problems at home or parents with money problems. 

According to Kalverboer, some of what she heard from the kids she spoke to hit her hard. "A 14-year-old girl from a poor family said: 'I have it in my head so much that nothing will change that I can not even think about what could be better'. That continues to reverberate", Kalverboer said. "A 14-year-old should not experience their situation as hopeless."

Most Dutch children are happy in their lives. They feel comfortable and find that they are growing up in pleasant surroundings. The average kid in the Netherlands gives his life a score of 7.4. Kids with problem at home score their lives 5.9 on average. Kids with divorcing parents score their lives 6.3 and kids who deal with youth welfare 5.9. 

Other things Kalverboer found by speaking to kids in the Netherlands include the fact that children want more real attention from parents, family, friends and professionals. Especially professionals too often focus on what is in a child's file, instead on the child himself nd often speak over their heads. Children also wish to be better informed about their situation. 

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