kids and anxiety
In recent years, anxiety has taken top position over depression among our children’s behavioral health issues. Reporting of anxiety among kids 6 to 17 rose 13% in 5 years compared to depression levels, which didn’t change at all.
Some say the increase is due more to the anxiety diagnosis being made more often now than an actual increase in incidences of the disorder. But if you’re a parent, grandparent or know a child that seems overly-anxious, you're not that concerned with the accuracy of the statistics.
You just want to know how to help. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons that may be contributing to the apparent increase in youth anxiety.
Parents are the problem
It’s often discussed that millennials and the Gen Z kids coming up behind them aren’t being taught “resilience” because parents are—
· over-protecting them by eliminating any stressors
· giving out unearned praise
· having unrealistic expectations their child should be the best at everything
· overwhelming them with activities
· pushing too hard, or, conversely, not hard enough
· letting the kids call the shots
Children being led to think they should always be happy will become confused when they aren't and think something must be wrong with them, potentially leading to anxiety.
Teachers are the problem
Similar to parents seeking an unrealistically happy life for their kids, some schools advocate “avoidance-based” teaching. This type of schooling teaches students to remove themselves from any situation that might stress them out. For example, a student could simply leave the room if something going on in class is bothering him.
Proponents say this type of teaching helps students to resolve quickly whatever is causing their anxiety. Other experts believe avoidance actually perpetuates the fear since it is never directly resolved. They believe students should be supported to face their issues.
On the other hand, classroom pressures are escalating with: excessive homework, competitiveness for grades, mandated state-based test pass levels, expectations for college, etc.
Society is the problem
Kids face a host of detrimental situations in today’s world that can lead to high anxiety.
One child psychologist found a strong correlation between opioid overdoses and youth suicide. It stands to reason that kids whose families struggle with addiction are going to feel anxious. These situations often have a ripple effect with schoolmates as anxiety is highly-contagious.
Sometimes, the fear is real. Seeing what’s happening in our schools today—lockdowns, teachers toting guns, crisis drills that anticipate mass shootings—it shouldn’t be a surprise that more kids are anxious. What should feel like a safe zone may now feel more like a war zone.
We’re all the problem if we don’t help now!
While more and more children can’t seem to come back from minor setbacks, can't solve their own problems or are genuinely in dangerous situations, we owe it to our future generation to help them survive and thrive. Here’s where to start. Contact us today, and we'll connect you with the information or help you need!