AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – Why are we seeing such a rise in anxiety among today’s youth? It is a wide spread issues among adolescence and is one of the main reasons people of all ages enter into therapy.
· Some kids are over achievers with a crippling fear of failure. Some endure rough circumstances in their young lives while others have stable/ support families with plenty of resources. The pandemic has exacerbated these issues with our young people.
· Below are 10 reasons for why we see anxiety so much more today in youth.
o Electronics offer an unhealthy escape. Enabling uncomfortable emotions (boredom, loneliness, sadness) by being immersed in games/ social media/ etc.
o Happiness is all the rage. This is emphasized so much in our society to the point parents feel it is their job to make their kids happy all the time. Kids need to experience “unhappiness” for it is a part of life and parents need to assist them in the coping skills they need to deal with them.
o Parents giving unrealistic praise. Putting unrealistic labels on kids (best at ….) put pressure on kids to live up to these labels and not have the room to fail.
o Parents getting caught up in the rat race. Parents becoming personal assistants for their kids enduring their kids can compete which send the message kids have to excel at everything.
o Kids aren’t learning emotional skills. 60% of kids feel unprepared emotionally for college. Teach kids how to manage time/ combat stress and taking care of feelings— key components of happy life.
o Parent view themselves as protectors rather than guides. Kids have to have failures/ unpleasant emotions & experiences to mature grow emotionally. Not allowing them to experience this set them up to feel too fragile to deal with life.
o Adults don’t know how to help kids face their fears— extremes of pushing too hard to not encouraging them to try at all. Find middle ground…. Incremental exposure is the best way to do this.
o Parents tend to parent out of guilt/fear. Parenting can stir up uncomfortable emotions for adults. Not letting kids out of their site/ not saying no.
o Kids not being given enough free time to just play. Unstructured play teacher vital skills (managing conflict, how to be along, allowing creativity to flourish).
o Family structure. Kids needs parents to be in charge and not be the “best friend”. They need guidance and direction from caring/ dependable adults. When roles become muddled this can cause anxiety to skyrocket.
· Help give kids the tools they need to build mental muscle for developing resilience, copying and a feeling of contentment.