Mental health issues are affecting teenagers and children more than ever before
The rise of conditions such as ADHD in children under sixteen is scary. More children are suffering from stress and depression than ever before, which to many may be perceived as childhood issues and part of growing up. I accept some professionals don’t recognise all the newer conditions, including ADHD.The impact these conditions have on our children’s and our lives parents is scary and very real.
So why the rise in diagnosis? Interestingly, the rise of ADHD in the UK is directly related to the rise and use of SAT testing in school. In 2011 YoungMinds, a mental health charity, said that 39% of the nearly 900 calls received were from sixteen and seventeen year old concerning exam anxiety, compared with 27% in 2010, and the situation has worsened.
Are our children taught to cope properly? Or is the education system just treating them in the wrong way? If this interests you, check out this Ted talk by Sir Keneth Robinson, it should be seen by all parents: Ted talk by Sir Keneth Robinson
The system may be failing but society is changing. Are we changing with it?
More importantly, are we still communicating with our children affectively? As we become more of a high-tech and low-touch world, is the communication we have children personal and supportive enough? Are we maintaining face to face conversations or conforming to txt speak?
Do we now have a generation of children who don’t have any inner resilience or don’t know how to cope? How are our children developing coping mechanisms? Do they end up relying on the way they are seen by a girlfriend or what friends and society say as a form of approval? Is the way they feel they are viewed affecting the way they cope or placing extra pressures on them? We see an increasing suicide rates in young men under twenty-four because they feel they are seen as having no value,all of the proposed explanations share a common feature – the changing role of men in society. Adolescence has been prolonged, with adulthood and independence being reached at a much later age than historically found. Two generations ago, work began at the age of fourteen, one generation ago at sixteen years old and now many men only achieve financial independence in their mid twenties.
Men have a more stressful time in achieving educational goals than in the past and are now less successful in this regard than women. Read more here.
We try to help our children cope with the pressures of the world, but how we do that is important. We should not offer criticism, but offer love and support, praising effort over results. Don’t be judgemental, but help them value themselves for what and who they are, not by how they think others see them.
Until next week…
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