Mental illness is affecting more children than it ever has. It has increased rapidly over the last 15 years and is becoming an epidemic. The statistics are terrifying. As of right now, 1 in 5 children has some sort of mental illness. There has been an increase in ADHD of over 40%, and teenage depression is up over 35%.
To top it all off, the suicide rate of children ages 10 to 14 has increased by 200%. What is happening to our children?
What is the evidence showing us?
Many parents blame the school systems for not seeing what is happening to the children, but the schools cannot take all of the blame for this. Research shows us that parenting styles can also have a huge impact on how a child’s brain develops thus leading to the development of mental illness.
The problem could be that children do not have healthy childhoods like they used to. Their parents are working so much that they are emotionally unavailable and unable to give them the support that they need. Children no longer have significant responsibilities, if any, around the house. They are not getting enough sleep at night either because of technology and lack of a schedule at home. All of these factors are ruining the childhoods of our children.
How Do We Help to Fix this Problem?
As parents, we need to start taking on some of the responsibilities for our children. Most parents need to show their children that they are not their friends, but they are their parents. They must start to use discipline, or these kids carry that entitled feeling and when things do not go their way that is when they crack. Changing our parenting styles can help all of this. Most parents do not use the word “no” with their children, and this is just causing behaviors at school and in public that are uncalled for. If parents step it up and tell their kids what they can and cannot do, this will stop immediately.
Taking our children outside is another way that we can get them to smile and enjoy their lives more. Hiking, camping, and just going for a walk can all help make a child so happy and grateful for what they have around them at home and in nature. Finally, setting up a sleep schedule is imperative to helping to find this epidemic. That includes turning off all technology at bedtime. This will help children sleep better and be rested for their day.
Getting our kids on a schedule that works for them and we are key. We must show them more affection and attention. We need to help console them after a bad day and assist them with their homework. Nothing can be done about this epidemic until we start looking at ourselves and truly listening to our young children. We can all work together to keep our children safe and alive.
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