Just like how exposure to certain germs and potential allergens will strengthen a child’s immune system, children’s social emotional and social abilities are the same. They need to be exposed to unpleasant situations so that they learn how to deal with them.
It is observed that this generation of children are being highly protected from most unpleasant situations such that they are unable to adequately cope with them. As a result, they become easily triggered by things that previous generations would not have been bothered by. Without healthy coping abilities, problems could potentially escalate to become mental health issues. Children born after 1994 are found to increasingly suffer from anxiety disorders and depression.
Parents are increasingly supervising their children’s activities and giving them screen time while at the same time, having a decrease in giving them the space to play freely with other children in a non-tech environment. Yet, children learn coping skills best in their free play time, where they learn to engage with their peers and to take small risks spontaneously.
Read the full article on The Guardian: By mollycoddling our children, we’re fuelling mental illness in teenagers
This opinion piece on The Guardian gives an alternative to intensive parenting, or what some might call ‘helicopter parenting’. Overparenting is when parents are excessively involved, controlling, and problem-solving for their children – no doubt with good intentions of trying to improve the child’s wellbeing. However, researchers find that such parenting styles usually compromise the child’s ability to be independent and the ability to develop independently .
The recent increase in cases of mental health issues, self-harm, and suicide may be attributed to this lack of emotional resilience in children. The effect is likely accentuated by the increase in exposure they have to online bullying, mature content, and knowledge about the atrocities that are happening around the world. It can easily feel overwhelming if children have not learnt how to manage the complex emotions that they feel while coming face-to-face with the challenges of modern life.
Questions for further personal evaluation:
- What type of parenting style did you grow up with?
- How do you think your childhood experiences have affected the way you problem solve or handle life’s challenges?
- ‘incessantly’: without interruption; constantly
- ‘catastrophic’: involving or causing sudden great damage or suffering
- ‘inoculation: immunization