Author of “The Good News About Bad Behavior” Katherine Reynolds Lewis joins The Doctors to discuss her thoughts on what parents are doing that may actually be contributing to the spike in adolescent mental health issues.
ER physician Dr. Travis Stork shares that today nearly 1 in 3 teens in America now meet the criteria for an anxiety disorder and 32% of them report feeling persistently sad or hopeless. Katherine adds the striking statistic she found in her book research -- 1 in 2 kids will have a mood or behavior disorder or substance addiction by time they are 18.
Coupled with the increase in suicide rates, which have doubled in the last decade for children between the ages of 10 to 14 and climbed 41% for teens ages 15 to 19, Katherine says, “You have to admit something significant has changed and there’s been a shift in the way we parent which is just not helping our kids.”
There are 3 factors Katherine says may be to blame for the increase in mental health diagnoses in kids:
- Play has almost disappeared from kid’s lives. They no longer have unstructured and outdoor playtime. She attributes this to a fear-based parenting culture where parents act as “helicopter parents” and kids miss the opportunity to learn from those experiences where they mess up, make mistakes or get hurt.
- Social media. Parents have to put limits on phones and have conversations with kids about using social media responsibly.
- There is a focus on achievement instead of contribution. Katherine encourages parents to do chores alongside their kids.