Kids today are under more pressure than ever before. They’re also more anxious than any generation of kids before. We’re now looking at 1 in 4 kids, with girls twice as likely to suffer from anxiety as boys, more than any other time in history.
When I speak at parenting seminars, the most common question I get is, “Why?” There are a lot of reasons that go into why America is leading the statistics on children and anxiety. But one of the primary reasons I believe is because we’ve become a reactive, rather than a proactive society.
Now, let me assure you that I do believe the reactions are important. Our children are facing issues that are far more complex and intense than those we encountered when we were sitting at our desks in school. We did not need to be prepared for an intruder coming into our school with a gun. We didn’t have to understand and know how to handle online bullying. Our bullies were relegated to the playground, and we got away from them as soon as we walked into the safety of our homes.
But, at this juncture, I believe we’re spending more time teaching kids about bullying prevention than we are teaching them healthy conflict resolution. We’re teaching them how to hide under their desks in case of a lockdown at school, but we’re not teaching them how to handle a family member who disappoints them.