In today’s society there has been a significant increase in depression, anxiety and suicide among teenagers and children. In fact, suicide is the third leading cause of death in children 10 to 18 years old. Yes 10 year old children are committing suicide. Also the average age for children first time to try smoking marijuana is now 10 years old. Children and teenagers tell me everyday how stressed or depressed they feel.
In my practice I am seeing more and more children and teens reporting they feel depressed, anxious and overwhelmed. One of the main reasons I hear for these feelings is that children feel a great deal of pressure to succeed in school. I have kids in 5th grade and 6th grade worrying about grades. Not because their parents will get mad because if they don’t get As they wont get into a good college and won’t get a good job and won’t be able to afford a house.
This is a great deal for a 5th grader or 6th grader to worry about at their age.
I also see middle school students and high school students involved in several sports and other activities such as Boy Scouts. The kids are feeling pressured to do extracurricular activities not for fun but for their resume. They are again concerned about getting into a good college and being a success. This pressure is not coming from parents either. It is pressure kids are now placing on themselves. Many teenagers are choosing not to play high school football or baseball so they have time to study.
Teenagers are also discussing being concerned with their safety. Many kids in Middle School are carrying knives in case they get attack. Many teenagers point to the mass shootings as a reason they should be worried. Since the beginning of 2016 more people have died in mass shootings than they have from 2000 to the year 2015. Everyday we hear about another shooting or terrorist threat. Of course children will be depressed and anxious.
Recent studies are showing a correlation between lack of fun and time to relax with the increase in depression in children and teenagers. A study in Psychology Today discusses this issue. I have included the link so parents can read this study and think about it. Also so you can look at your children and talk with them. See if they are enjoying life or feeling overwhelmed because they need to succeed. Money pays the bills but doesn’t guarantee happiness https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/conceptual-revolution/201604/what-s-the-opposite-play
Dr. Michael Rubino is an expert working with children and teenagers. For more information about Dr. Rubino and his work visit his website http://www.rcs-ca.com