I’ve been thinking a lot about how our kids are doing these days.
Do you remember what it was like to sit in classrooms, worry about exams, try to fit in, make friends, and all the other challenges we faced when we were kids? It wasn’t easy back then, was it?
So can we even begin to fathom how much harder all of that would have been if we had had to survive lockdowns, make tough decisions around how to live in a Covid world, and also face the existential threat of climate crisis and environmental degradation?
And then play the game of let’s-pretend-that-everything-is-okay and just keep going on as normal?
We shouldn’t be surprised that kids seem to be struggling with their mental health more than ever, and that disorders such as social anxiety in teens continue to increase.
I also think about how our expectations of them haven’t really changed. Have you looked at what schools expect from kids these days? Have you seen what university and scholarship applications look like today? We still expect them to do all the things: work hard, prepare for the future, take tons of extracurriculars, be responsible and respectful, show leadership, be of service to others. In essence, we expect them to do better and be better than us.
Can we maybe cut the kids some slack instead? Can we give them the love, support, and encouragement they need? Parenting isn’t easy, but we can lead the way.
Honestly, a little empathy can go a long way.
(Check out the program I’ve developed to help teen and tween girls deal with some of the challenges they face as they navigate adolescence: Thriving Teen Girls.)