Be the change

Our children are stressed more than ever. They are on a non-stoppable – high – speed treadmill. Demands from school, parents, extra curricular and a never ending intrusive connection to social media and cell phones. Our children are on 24/7, always on the go.

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As a tragic result, we see anxious, depressed and stressed out children like never before. Nearly 7% of Canadian teens suffer from some serious and/or disabling anxiety.

According to an article in Globe & Mail ” School study paints a picture of teens under pressure” – this is a serious problem.

The article reveals the Canadian study of 103.000 grade 7-12 students. It  shows that teenagers are under so much stress that they are losing sleep, being driven to tears and experiencing greater levels of stress than parents and teachers expected.

Read the statistics of the study here

Dr. Atkinson, a clinical psychologist working in Toronto, sees children who are confused and overwhelmed, who are not able to experience life in a natural way, because they have to do more and move faster.

I see stress and anxiety as symptoms, a serious wake up call to all of us. Something needs to change.

Underneath stress and anxiety there are needs and suppressed emotions – stress and anxiety are natural reactions to what the children are experiencing, they are signs of overload, but the children have nowhere to go. This way of living has become the norm, we are all stressed. While this unhealthy environment goes on and on, we are creating children who are worn out, burned out before they even begin, maybe for life.

This means that children today need us more than ever.

The good news is that we by pulling the emergency brake can help our children deal with stress and burnout. Not by telling them and staying on the treadmill ourselves, but by slowing down and dealing with our own stress.

They need to see us:

  • get off our own treadmill
  • say “no” and mean it
  • say “yes” and mean it
  • meditate
  • go for walks
  • be mindful and present
  • be in the moment
  • do nothing
  • take a nap
  • have time to chat
  • have time to listen
  • have fun
  • take a long bath
  • do yoga
  • read a book
  • bake a cake
  • take care of ourselves
  • say what we mean
  • listen to our bodies
  • follow our hearts
  • take deep breath
  • have no plans

They need us more than ever: to support them, encourage them and spend time with them. 

It can be hard to do these things, but lets do it, for ourselves, our children and the future.

Be the change you want to see in the world – Mahatma Gandhi

 

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11 thoughts on “Be the change

  1. Anne this is powerful! I love this post and wholeheartedly agree. Balance is so important, often challenging to obtain, but extremely important to our children. Great tips! Thank you for sharing 🙂

  2. My thinking is that we were always under great demands of school and extracurricular activities, but what I didn’t have growing up is thinking it was necessary to multitask so much and be in contact with global affairs via social networking. I believe excessive social networking and texting has become an addictive behavior and has caused extreme pressure in our teens and preteens. Multitasking can be stimulating in a job or career but when a child is in the process of learning while hormones rage, it is unthinkable that it is allowed to an extreme in any household. You created a great list of priorities for helping us improve parenting skills and start monitoring our own needs. I would add to that list the fact that every teenager should be monitored of cell phone and internet use during hours after school. What children want and crave more than anything is discipline and the certainty we will follow through with our actions.

  3. A very timely post. Kids nowadays are pressured by so many things and you are right, we parents are partly to blame. We want them to join this, be this, do this, be the best and excel that we forget that they are kids that needs to be kids. My childhood is all about play, having fun, meeting friends, celebrating families. Stress was unheard of. Time to make a change and today is day one. Love this post. Have a great weekend my friend.

    • Yes imagine a time when stress in kids was unheard of! When kids didn’t suffer from headaches, depression , anxiety and all the other things which are now common diagnosis (symptoms) in children today. We need to shift gear and it has to start with us, the adults around them.
      You are a great example of this – love the stories you share about spending time with family 🙂

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