Pressure. It's a combination of events and factors, a sort of vicious cycle.
Improve yourself. You can do better. Progress. We're living in a culture of discontentment.So we are discontented.
All the adults are running around trying to create the lives they've always dreamed of. As we progress, we tend to become more materialistic, selfish and greedy, and we forget the joy of simple living. We all want something for nothing, so we look for better ways, faster ways, whatever, to go higher, earn more, buy more.
We don't realize that meanwhile we're actually tiring ourselves out mentally and physically. Ask the simple farmer. He'd tell you he's tired after a hard day's work, but he's happy.
We're tired after a hard day's work -- unhappy, depressed and angry. So the parents go out to pursue that dream. They run after it and leave the kids behind.
One very important thing they forget is how important it is to BE THERE for the kids. Many of them are physically there, but their minds are elsewhere. Or else, they come home angry. The kids get unhappy.
The kids can't talk about their problems to their parents. They are embarrassed to talk about it to their friends, teachers, whoever else. That leads to stress and pressure. They compensate by compelling themselves to do things for attention. (Like, if I get good grades, I could get some attention, praise, whatever. Or, if I get hooked on drugs, I could get high. Bonus: they get worried.)
If they still can't get that, they move on to peers. (If I wear what everyone else wears, I'll fit in. I won't feel like I'm alone in my situation. I'll have a pseudo-family.)
The more they try to compensate, the more pressure and stress they subject themselves to. Because the more they try, the more often they will fail (like, if you fail once in every ten times and you try a hundred times, where does that lead you?) and the more often they fail, they forget about the times they succeed.
Everything surrounding us promotes this culture of "progress". Ads, TV, technology, books. Improve yourself. You can do better. Progress. We're living in a culture of discontentment.