What can be done to overcome anxiety? And why parents may be contributing to the problem.
I would think a lot of this would be better diagnosis and better social
understanding of these struggles so people can be more open about it rather than
the suffering in silence that would be more common in the past.
"Anxiety" is a standard and inescapable part of the human condition. In prior generations, the anxiety could have been associated with things that
would really be considered "serious problems": deadly disease, famine
and starvation, violent enemies that would kill you, rape your women, and
destroy your society....and there is still a small amount of that in the
world.But in modern society, we seem to be talking about something else: a
free-floating depressive anxiety that afflicts a generation that has never known
any real adversity at all. They have never known any failure. Their parents
have overprotected them, and society has told them that they are "good the
way they are" over, and over. But they simply are not "good the
way they are". They are young, inexperienced, ignorant, and
naive.....foolish and wrong in many of the things they believe. The real world
hits them harshly, and "unfairly", so they seek a "safe space"
and don't want to hear any opposing opinions. This disconnect simply
deepens the anxiety.
From the article:"The latest DSM definition says that adults have
generalized anxiety disorder when they experience three of these symptoms more
days than not for six months: 1. restlessness, 2. fatigue, 3. difficulty
concentrating, 4. irritability, 5. muscle tension, 6. sleep problems."Holy cow, I thought that was old age as I've gotten older I;1. Have trouble sitting for too long, 2. Get tired more easily, 3. Can't
focus as well as I used to, 4. I'm told regularly that I'm REALLY
cranky, 5. EVERYTHING aches, not just the muscles, 6. I get up several times to
. . . well, you know, then wander around the house. It's nice
to know it's not old age, I'm just anxious, which is probably true
anyway, I'm probably anxious about getting old. Take a deep breath and
smile everyone. Life is great!
I've thought a lot about this lately, because I see it everywhere, and I
keep returning to one thought. Kids today don't know how to fail. It's
almost as if a failing grade is the end of the world. I would constantly remind
my kids that there is nothing that can't be fixed with time and effort. I
admit, it took me long time to figure that lesson out, but I've come to
believe that there can actually be more benefit to failing, picking yourself up,
dusting yourself off and trying again than there is in an easy success. My
daughter is a perfectionist, and got great grades in her undergraduate work,
graduated magna cum laude from her honors program, but despite all that got
rejection after rejection when applying to graduate school to become a social
worker. It really got to her, but I kept telling her that, especially for her
chosen career, the insight and empathy she gains by failing, and learning how to
fail will be far more valuable to her. Fast forward a few years, she was
accepted to a prestigious program, got her degree, and has been working as a
social worker for a few years now. She told me the other day, that she
wouldn't trade the experience of failing for anything.
I completely agree that teens in every era have had anxiety-provoking
challenges, but this isn't a competition between generations. The headline
was poorly chosen--although headlines are written to grab readers'
attention--but the fact remains that anxiety in 2018 manifests and is fed
differently than it was even 10 years ago, let alone 50 years ago.
Information/news is transmitted at high speed and the mechanism of delivery is
more invasive than ever before. As I type this, my email just "dinged"
with an alert about a burglary in our neighborhood. The email hit my inbox while
the neighbors are waiting for police to respond!So what can you do
to develop resilience in kids?Model responsible use of technology.
Put your phone away, talk to kids in your life about how technology affects you.
Am I the only mom who feels a sting logging into FB and seeing friends out to a
dinner I wasn't invited to?Let kids fail academically,
socially, etc. I know, getting a bad grade can affect their college options. But
the resilience gained is worth it!Finally, seek professional help if
needed. Anxiety is real and can be debilitating. It's not weakness of
character to ask for help. It's brave.
Oops, I forgot to lookup something last night, but did look at it this morning
before heading out the door.I was only partially right with my
memory, no panic attacks; but with around a dozen different Anxiety related
disorders; it is no wonder I might mix up a little.I was right in
that for Generalized Anxiety Disorder; the symptoms listed in this article are
only one criterion "C" with criteria labeled A-F. Without quoting in
full, a summary of the other criteria for a diagnosis of Generalized Anxiety
Disorder, one must have excessive worry about something (excessive is
disproportionate to actual risk; such as not being able to even get out of bed
by worrying about a test score); the person is not able stop worrying; the worry
must interfere with social, occupation, or academic functioning (such as not
even being able to go to school to take the test in the first place), it must
last for months, and it must be the "cause" of the physical symptoms
listed in this article; and all this combined is not due to any other physical
or mental disorder.Huge difference than what this article makes it
sound as if anxiety and excitement could be the same because of physical
Like several of you, my first thought was: anxiety is getting a draft notice,
going to war, etc. My personal opinion is that kids don't have
enough hard work to do. I think they would be less anxious and much happier if
they did some hard manual labor and gave service to others on a regular basis.
My boss, a few years back, needed to hire one person. He had 20 interviews
He asked each one if they had a cell phone?? Only one did not. He got
the job. My bosses logic? He said people use cell phones, have lost the
ability to communicate face to face.
Yikes, Continuing on down I see this paragraph."The
latest DSM definition says that adults have generalized anxiety disorder when
they experience three of these symptoms more days than not for six months: 1.
restlessness, 2. fatigue, 3. difficulty concentrating, 4. irritability, 5.
muscle tension, 6. sleep problems. For a child, only one symptom is
required."I am nearly 100% certain (don't have the DSM-5 in
my hand this moment); that there are more criteria than just that. In fact
without seeing it I am pretty sure that is only ONE criterion of several listing
common observable physiological symptoms of anxiety; but I am sure there are
other criteria including one about having actual panic attacks (with a full
definition about what constitutes a panic attack).When I get home
tonight, I will look it up. But, I am pretty sure, that paragraph in this
article is highly misleading on diagnostic criteria.
"Anxious? Try being excited, instead"It is kind of funny to
see that, when I first saw the headline I was thinking that there was too much
ambiguity to distinguish between two different uses for the word
"anxious.""anxious >adjective 1 experiencing worry
or unease. 2 very eager and concerned to do something."When I
was a child, the word anxious may have had two meanings, but the only meaning I
knew about was being anxious for things like Christmas to come, or for summer
break from school. It always meant to me "excited about" something.
"Eager" fits or a feeling that something can come soon enough.Studying psychology and anxiety related disorders; I often use the term
anxious now to refer to anxiety; and yet because of my upbringing I have always
felt a little apprehensive about using it that way; and thus leaving the person
to whom I am speaking with the ambiguity of trying to decide if I am talking
about worries or excitement. Especially given things like family gatherings
which may cause anxiety; but for many it causes excitement.I
can't think of any other word in the English language that has two meanings
that are so completely opposite of each other.
I have long tried to convey to my children the difficulties that myself &
their mother have had over our lives. We didn't dwell on our difficulties
so much, but perhaps ee should have a bit more.I think that this
generation supposes in their isolation that their challenges are unique to them.
Nothing could be further from the truth.Throughout my life I've
struggled mightily with many huge challenges. And yep, I know also, that the
challenges I have faced were not unique to me, nor to my generation alone.Somehow, someway, we need to convey to the younger generation early on
that one can bounce back from quagmires. Often, they are quagmires that have
also besieged previous generations. Things like procrastination. Feeling so
overwhelmed by what one needs to do.My wife use to watch a lot of
game shows, like The Price is Right, & Let's Make a Deal. If only
making $ were so easy! This long gave her an unrealitic view of life & of
$.Every generation faces what seem at the time to be insurmountable
burdens.We each & all just need to begin with 1 step, then the
next, & then the next, & gradually, step by step, try to work our way
out of our problems, best we are able!
“Today’s teens most anxious ever.” I would like to see the
data. Maybe Jewish teens living in Poland in the 1940s were more anxious? What
about kids during the depression? During the Black Plague? Rediculous headline
The idea that things are too easy today, and that is what is hard is a
compelling one. There are studies that show that trying to make your
child's life easier has the long term affect of making it harder.We learn through overcoming challenges, not by having them removed. The last
two generations have had many challenges removed, perhaps too many.
Why would I be surprised (NOT) to find that today's youth tend to gravitate
towards electronics rather than developing personality skills and behaviors that
will help them cope in a complex world? At least they haven't had to face
foreclosure, the agony of deciding what is best in treating a terminally ill
parent. or having a child born with birth defects. Those are some of the
surprises that life throws at you and you have to deal with them when they
occur. It's a little beyond "Why is this zit so big and prominent on
my face right now when I have a date this weekend" or "Why doesn't
person "X" 'like me' on my social request that they friend
me?" But as far as having more problems, they don't; they're just
different issues. I one lost my job 6 months after buying my first home and had
to turn around and sell it. Another time I and my partners had to put up our
houses for collateral on a line of credit for the new business 4 of us just
started. All of us faced whether or not we would be drafted and sent off to
war.Get off the electronics; learn to develop your natural
personality and abilities; life has a lot to offer- quit feeling sorry for
yourself; help someone else.
Is this the first generation to face uncertainty and challenges in their life?
My father's experience was 5 years of WWII---not knowing if he would return
home normal or in a body bag, same for millions of soldiers and their
families---many didn't come home; my brother and I faced the draft and the
Vietnam War if we couldn't be successful in college. I wanted to study
engineering but at the time, you could line up engineering grads and march them
off a cliff and never miss them. That only last about 5 years, but it was when
it occurred. Right after WWII inflation was tremendous. In the 1970's
interest rates on a house hit 25%. Many people until 1955 had to worry about a
member of their family about contracting polio. I changed careers at least 3
times in my life after getting a bachelor's degree; either adapt or wish
you had. There are no guarantees.Today's youth have
challenges---no doubt about it---but they aren't unique to the human race
just since they were born. They just need mentors and initiative to manage
their challenges and they'll be just fine. The sun will still come up
every day and they can appreciate and enjoy life...or not. It's up to each
James Jones, who wrote the classic World War II novel "From Here to
Eternity" and many other well-received books, said young writers would often
lament to him that they had wasted the previous day: they hadn't written
anything, or even read anything worthwhile. Mr Jones would respond
(I'm paraphrasing, but I have the essence of his thoughts right):"You don't have to always be doing something "constructive".
Sometimes the best thing you can do is just take a blanket to a park, lie down
on the blanket, and look up at the sky."It's sad that many of
today's teenagers...who are often programmed more rigidly than a
super-computer...are never told, and never have the opportunity, to just lie
down on a blanket and look up at the sky.
My daughter mentioned the pressures of college with exams and all the same
things encountered by her parents during their college years. She was
enlightened about those pressures of college when I explained that graduating
from college or failing to maintain grades, in the early and mid sixties, almost
guaranteed a tour of Vietnam.
Two of my youngest children, ages 25 and 18 have had anxiety attacks the last
several months. The younger has had them for years. The older perhaps as long,
or longer, but has hidden it more from us (the parents). Our youngest child I
have witnessed twice having them. I thought perhaps this 1 was having a heart
attack.For a variety of reason, most of their seven siblings have
also experienced great anxiety, if not anxiety attacks also, at times.The youngest, who has had therapy perhaps a dozen times to help this child
deal with it, who is a very smart person. But almost invariably would sacrifice
other obligations for social life. While getting credit on 1 or more AP test,
still, high school graduation was done w/lots of D's, & by the skin of
one's teeth. (This child handed in a number of assignments even up to the
day of graduation, with 2 or 3 overnighters at a hotel with a sister &
brother-in-law.I would frquently inquire of this child where things
were at w/school work, encouraging this child to do certain things at diffent
times to succeed. But the principle of sacrifice seems to be
unpracticed or mispracticed by so many of this generation. Priorities are not