A couple of friends shared an article on my Facebook feed over the weekend called “The Silent Tragedy Affecting Today’s Children” – which sounds rather melodramatic, but was actually scarily spot-on.
According to the author, Victoria Prooday, Our children are in a devastating emotional state.
- 1 in 5 children has mental health problems
- 43% increase in ADHD
- 37% increase in teen depression
- 200% increase in suicide rate in kids 10-14 years old
I’m quite terrified by those statistics.
And I agree with the reasons Prooday offers for the epidemic, though I’d throw social media into the mix.
She suggests children are being served with:
- Digitally distracted parents
- Indulgent parents who let kids “Rule the world”
- Sense of entitlement rather than responsibility
- Inadequate sleep and unbalanced nutrition
- Sedentary indoor lifestyle
- Endless stimulation, technological babysitters, instant gratification, and absence of dull moments
I was reminded of the blog post I wrote last week called “Princess Bitchface” where I noted:
When I was a kid we were scared of our parents. We did what we were told and we were in deep trouble if we didn’t. These days we’re scared of our kids. They tell us what THEY want to do and if we don’t acquiesce, we’re the ones in deep trouble.
I don’t think it was ideal that we were scared of our parents, but things seem to have swung too far to the other extreme.
And I’m not convinced it’s doing our children much good. There’s a severe #gratitude deficit. Anxiety is endemic. Kids are growing up with a sense of entitlement and a complete lack of resilence. I have no idea how they’ll survive in the workplace when they have to follow orders and complete tasks they don’t like.
I see a lot of unhappiness in their futures. Actually, I see a lot of unhappiness in their present.
I’ve had my kids’ mental healthiness top of mind since the youngest had a mini breakdown at age four. A series of unfortunate incidents that kicked off with a bluebottle sting and spiralled out of control after a biting incident in the kindergarten playground meant we were suddenly dealing with a child who refused to eat or drink and had severe agoraphobia.
I got a terrifying insight into how quickly and badly things can go wrong – I was faced with issues I had no idea how to “kiss better”.
Now I have one teen and another following closely behind. Things are about to get hairy. And I want to get my daughters to the other side as whole and functional as I possibly can.
Among Prooday’s suggestions are sitting down to family dinners (guilty of not doing that enough), playing a board game every night (much as I moan about that, I might have to knuckle down and – if not every night – do it a couple of times a week … it’s actually quite fun), and get the kids doing more chores.
I’ll also stand firm on NOT letting the eldest get a lip piercing or a tattoo machine (she’s made a scaled and weighted model to practice with, gotta hand it to her for bloody minded determination).
And I’ll keep reminding myself boundaries are GOOD, they ARE, despite the tetchy teen push back.
Wish me luck … and good luck to anyone else on the teen journey or about to start it.
Song of the day: Robbie Williams & Kylie Minogue “Kids”