10 Reasons Behind Increased Anxiety in Teens Today
1. Electronics allow a constant escape from uncomfortable emotions.
Entire generations have spent their childhood avoiding discomfort.
Electronics have replaced the opportunity to develop mental strength and coping skills.
2. Happiness is a permanent expectation.
Some parents make it their job to keep their kids happy all the time.
Kids grow up feeling that if they aren’t happy something is wrong.
It is normal and healthy to feel sad, frustrated, guilty, disappointed, angry, etc.
3. Parents are giving unrealistic praise.
“You are the fastest on your team!”
“You are the smartest kid in your class.”
Results in pressure to live up to this label at all times.
4. Parents are getting caught up in the rat race.
Parents work hard to ensure that their kids can compete—hire tutors, personal coaches, expensive prep courses, etc. This sends the message that we must excel at everything.
5. Kids aren’t learning emotional skills.
Culture places majority of focus on academic success—we all need emotional skills to succeed.
60% of college students feel emotionally unprepared for college—knowing how to manage time, combat stress, and manage emotions are critical to healthy living.
6. Parents see themselves as protectors vs. guides.
Somewhere parents took on the role of protecting their kids from any emotional or physical pain, therefore, kids do not face challenges on their own and learn how to handle them.
Kids believe they are fragile.
7. Adults don’t help kids face fears the right way.
Exposure is the best way to conquer fear ONLY IF DONE INCREMENTALLY. Kids need practice, gentle nudging, and guidance to help attain confidence and mastery of fears.
8. Parents are parenting out of guilt and fear.
Parenting stirs up uncomfortable emotions. In an attempt to escape that discomfort, parents don’t let their kids out of their sight in an attempt to control their own anxiety and fears. Or parents don’t want the conflict of saying “no” and the tension that comes with setting limits.
9. Kids aren’t being given enough free time to play.
Unstructured play teaches vital skills like how to manage disagreements, how to work together, and how to solve problems without adults being the referee.
Solitary play also teaches kids how to be alone with their thoughts and emotions and to be comfortable in their own skin.
10. There is a change in family hierarchies.
Kids want their parents to be leaders!
Kids have increased anxiety when they have too much control that they are not equipped to handle.
Used by permission, Dana Saunders, Licensed Professional Counselor, Keystone Health & Wellness