We’re Abusing Our Kids and Telling Ourselves It’s for Their Benefit

Pushy Parents

SG Buckley

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Photo by Molnár Bálint on Unsplash

A friend works as a mental health counselor at a primary school. She recently asked a group of 10 and 11 year-old girls to write anonymous notes to their parents. She encouraged them to say things they wished their parents knew.

Here is what some of them wrote:

I feel anxious all the time

Please stop shouting at me

I can never please you

I wish you’d listen

Afterwards, my friend shared these messages at a session with the girls’ parents.

“They must have been mortified hearing what their kids wrote,” I said.

“Not at all,” my friend replied. “They tell themselves they’re pushing their kids for their own good. It’s a competitive world. In reality, it’s emotional abuse.”

Rise in Suicide and Self-Harm

A new report says that in England and Wales, suicide among young women — including girls as young as 10 — is increasing at the fastest rate ever recorded.

Among UK teenagers, cases of anxiety, depression and self-harm are rising by worrying degrees. Anxiety, it turns out, has become the number one reason kids call the NSPCC’s UK charity hotline.

Meanwhile, numbers from another British charity show that in the past three years the chance of a young person having mental health problems has surged by 50%. Roughly, this means that five out of every 30 kids in a UK classroom are suffering from mental health issues.

Social Media or Bad Parenting?

Parents blame social media for rising anxiety, depression, self-harm and suicide. See the public inquest over the death of Molly Russell. The 14-year-old girl viewed thousands of social media posts about depression, self-harm and suicide on Instagram and Pinterest in the months before she killed herself. This week, a court in London heard that Molly “died from an act of self-harm while suffering depression and the negative effects of online content.”

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SG Buckley

Writer, editor, parent. Former staffer at Quartz, WSJ and Inc. magazine.