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Many parents fail to notice signs of their children’s frustration, forcing kids to try to resolve problems on their own or by turning to friends for help, according to an Education Ministry survey released Friday.One-fifth of elementary, junior high and high school students polled recently by the ministry said they feel irritated frequently — mainly because of trouble relating with peers or difficulties in class — while two-thirds said they do so occasionally.The majority of the surveyed students said they prefer to talk to their friends about such problems or seek a solution on their own rather than discuss the matter with their parents. On the other hand, most of the surveyed parents believed that their children consult them when experiencing problems.The survey’s results were included in the ministry’s annual white paper on education released the same day.Aside from talking, about half of the junior high and high school students said they get over their frustration by sleeping or by listening to music. Nearly 30 percent of elementary school kids said they vent their stress by playing home video games.”Many parents overlook their kids’ signs of mental distress, assuming they are just in a rebellious period,” said Ryoko Uchida, a counselor of students and parents suffering from bullying and truancy. “Parents should take into account the fact that many kids try not to express worries in front of them.”About 8,000 elementary school sixth-graders and junior high and high school students in their third year as well as 7,500 parents nationwide responded to the survey in April.The survey was included in the first chapter of the 1998 white paper on education that was submitted to a Cabinet meeting by Education Minister Akito Arima. The chapter focused on people’s mental and physical health.Pointing out other signs of frustration in juveniles — such as truancy, bullying, drug abuse and sexual misconduct — the white paper stresses the increasing need for health counseling at schools.

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