Kate Snow and Cynthia McFadden wrote an article on children who are depressed. The article gives stories of kids who have been diagnosed with depression. The authors talk about child and adolescent mental health. The article includes a statement from Dr. Harold Koplewicz, founding president of The Child Mind Institute, a nonprofit children’s mental health advocacy group that child and adolescent mental health disorders are the most common illnesses that children under the age of 18 will experience. NBC Nightly News over the next few months will exam the state of American Children’s mental health, including reports on what has led to this increase – especially in anxiety and depression. They are including children as young as 2 years old.
Dr. Joan Luby, director of the Early Emotional Development program at the Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis believes untreated depression in toddlers can lead to depression later in life.
Here are my thoughts from my experience and perspective. I’m not advocating no helmets or seat belts, just trying to show why we have kids who are depressed and committing suicide in this generation compared to formative years:
Today’s parents worry obsessively and are on high alert with safety consciousness, in essence, kids today are living in a bubble wearing helmets, attending arranged play dates and already experts with electronics as young as 3, drinking bottled water, undisciplined, not experiencing consequences of their own actions or developing creative minds from experiences they would get if they were allowed outside the bubble.
Let’s take a trip back in time, let’s say, the 1970’s or earlier. Parents didn’t worry compulsively about health and safety as they do today. Kids were not sitting in front of the tube, glued to their various forms of electronics, instead they were out playing; on weekends and summer break or other school breaks, mom’s would tell their kids to go outside and play, often not seeing them again until lunch or even supper. Kids would meet their friends in the neighborhood. They’d communicate, no cell phones…. hmm, imagine that, no abbreviated conversation, they’d actually talk.
What did these kids’ day look like? They’d ride their bikes, climb trees, play baseball, play cowboys and Indians, girls would skip rope or play hopscotch, kids would play marbles, especially a gamed called Jacks. If they got thirsty, they’d drink from a garden hose. Hang out on the playground playing on the monkey bars, or, ouch, sliding down the metal slide that would be so hot from the sun. How about the merry go round, of course being risk takers, the goal was to get it to spin so fast that sometimes you’d fly off and graze your knees or arms but you wouldn’t miss a beat, just dust yourself off and jump back on. Battle scars and memories to retell. I’m not condoning just saying kids got concussions, bruises, and spilt their blood but they survived and more than survive, they were out in the fresh air, exercising, and best of all in a developmentally rich environment. Kids were not cocoon wrapped, with line of vision, play dates or go anywhere without supervision. Kids were kept busy, their minds were challenged creating their own fun and activities, amidst that play they were learning teamwork, creative thinking, communication, planning, inventing, building from scratch like go carts and tree forts. Kids were challenged, physically tired at the end of the day. Families did activities together, went to church, church had other activities like family picnics and get togethers.
God was still in the home, in the school. And in the church. There was meaning in their lives, a value system, kids started the school day with the national anthem, pledge of allegiance and the Lords prayer, they ended their day with a bedtime story, a prayer and being tucked in with love. What I’m saying is to become a confident, secure adult means growing up means making mistakes, taking risks, and learning to get through life learning as you go. It’s having become that person, knowing how to navigate life because of those experiences growing up not despite them. Today’s kids don’t as a whole don’t experience that. There’s a crisis with our kids with the nation’s divorce rate, soaring single parent families, children who are depressed, child/youth runaways, and child/youth suicides, there is strong evidence that as a nation, our children are desperately in need of moral and spiritual values. Children and youth from all races and cultures face increasing obstacles on the road to adulthood in the 21st century. The nation’s economic crisis has deeply affected the lives of millions of Americans. Deepening poverty is inextricably linked with rising levels of homelessness and food insecurity/hunger for many Americans. Huge numbers of kids in foster care. Children are particularly affected by these conditions.
These kids would benefit from a therapeutic environment at Trauma To Triumph Family Ranches on teaching four core values: Relationships, Respect, Responsibility, and Integrity. An environment where adolescents can develop, practice and improve healthy interdependence, social accountability, responsibility and self-mastery through principle-based decision making, value congruent behavior, and honest achievement. goal is that the child and youth emerge with a new perspective on their lives and with renewed hope for their futures Trauma To Triumph Family Ranches goal is that the child and youth emerge with a new perspective on their lives and with renewed hope for their futures.