Survey says: Back-to-school need not be back-to-stress

    Desjardins Financial Security's National Health is Cool Survey shows
    parents are stressed by overloaded academic and family calendars

    TORONTO, Aug. 25 /CNW Telbec/ - With only one weekend left in the summer
holidays, parents are likely sharing their kids' anxiety leading up to the new
school year. Desjardins Financial Security's 2008 Health is Cool survey
results show that parents experience added stress due to the social pressures
of providing as much hands-on parenting as possible.
    The majority of survey respondents with children said that they were
generally enjoying good mental and physical health, financial security and an
overall reduction in stress compared to the previous year. Despite this good
news, many agreed that they do feel social pressure to raise exceptional kids
(93.3 per cent). For some, this means doing as much possible so their children
are the best among other children of the same age (84.8 per cent), to the
extent that most suggested that parents do "too much" (81 per cent).

    Overloaded family calendars are key stress triggers

    This is particularly true of the majority of full-time working parents
who agreed that their family calendars were overloaded. They also noted that
meeting their children's needs was a key stress trigger, second only to money
concerns. Other stressors included family and work issues, and taking care of
one's health.
    "It's natural for parents to make sacrifices to ensure that their kids
get the very best," said Michele Nowski, director of disability income claims
and disability management at Desjardins Financial Security. "But it becomes a
problem when these sacrifices are detrimental to one's health. What tends to
happen is that parents will put themselves last. This increases their stress
and the likelihood that they will eventually become sick."
    "The majority of all respondents, 83 per cent, said that they have gone
to work sick or exhausted," Michele Nowski explained. "In this case, parents
did so to avoid having their work pile up and ensure that they would have
enough time for their kids. But this sometimes leads to serious illness and
longer periods of time away from family and work."

    Stop trying so hard-your kids are fine!

    Dr. Steven Stein from the Psychology Foundation of Canada agreed that
these results are not surprising. "Parents want to provide their kids with an
enriched childhood full of opportunities and experiences. But let's remember
that school/life balance is just as important as work/life balance. Sometimes,
the basic lessons of life taught at home are just as enriching, if not more
    So this year, mom and dad, take it easy. Think about your needs for a
change and remember-your kids will be successful so long as you are happy and
healthy, too!

    About the Survey

    SOM Surveys, Opinion Polls and Marketing conducted the survey on behalf
of Desjardins Financial Security between February 7 and March 10, 2008. In
total, 1,594 interviews were conducted with a representative sample of
Canadian adults. The sampling plan provides proportional estimates with a
maximum margin of error of plus or minus 2.6 per cent at a 95 per cent
confidence level (19 times out of 20). The data was statistically weighted to
accurately reflect the composition of Canadians by region, gender and age
based on Statistics Canada's 2006 Census information.

    About Desjardins Financial Security

    Desjardins Financial Security, a subsidiary of Desjardins Group, the
largest integrated cooperative financial group in Canada, specializes in
providing life insurance, health insurance and retirement savings products and
services to individuals and groups. Every day, over five million Canadians
rely on Desjardins Financial Security to ensure their financial security. The
company employs over 3,900 people and administers more than $22 billion in
assets from offices in several cities across the country, including Vancouver,
Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montréal, Québec, Lévis, Halifax and
St. John's. For more information, visit our website at

For further information:

For further information: Sarah Twomey, Communications Advisor, (416)
926-2700 extension 2015, Toll free: 1-877-906-5551, extension 2015,; Virtual newsroom:

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