A successful working mom recently learnt her youngest child (who’s 11) has been diagnosed with depression and was an “emergency case”. This meant the child was thinking or has already attempted self-harm. She went into a state-of-shock and felt so guilty especially when it was someone else who had noticed the change of behavior in her own child.
As a baby-boomer, I’m also finding it hard to comprehend why so many young people today (including children) are suffering from anxiety and depression. Minor life unpleasantness like being scolded or ignored, changes at work, or getting into petty quarrels could suddenly trigger a mental breakdown. They seem totally incapable of coping with disappointments and setbacks. Compared to my childhood where spankings and beatings were an accepted form of parental “discipline”, kids today never had it so good. They get everything they want and need instantly. They grow up overprotected and overindulged by their parents or guardians.
I’m guessing one of the reasons why so many young people today are so stressed out and depressed is that they never got to develop resiliency. Parents (like me) never gave them the chance to develop it because we didn’t want our children to experience the hardships we had growing up. I’m just thankful that my own children turned out to be OK. But during this global pandemic, many cases of anxiety and depression by young people have suddenly surfaced. Many have attempted suicides and tragically, several have succeeded. Understandably, these cases are never reported publicly.
According to www.suicide.org teen and adolescent suicides have continued to rise dramatically in recent years. Consider these alarming figures:
• Every 100 minutes a teen takes their own life.
• Suicide is the third-leading cause of death for young people ages 15 to 24.
• Only 30 percent of depressed teens are being treated for it.
There is a real danger and harm in micromanaging our children’s lives and activities. We fear that they will make the wrong decisions, so we intervene and make decisions for them. As adults, they may find it difficult to make choices, therefore developing low self-esteem or have little confidence in their abilities.
As parents, we naturally want only the best for our children. But sometimes, standing back and letting them fall and pick themselves up is the best thing for them. Even animals like dogs and cats, learn through play, exploration, trying and doing. By allowing your son or daughter some freedom, you would help your child discover their capabilities, learn resiliency from mistakes, and gain confidence from successes. Avoid being overprotective. Give them space to grow, learn, and succeed by themselves. Preach less. Listen more.
Best of health,