This is all about good parents. The husband works hard at a regular job and the woman, as a homemaker, steps out 3-4 times a week to help out at the neighborhood bank or the grocery store. Times are hard and every little bit matters. But happiness is plentiful when most evenings both parents spend quality time teaching their two lovely children how to read. Books on parenting may be plentiful but surely these couples have only gone through the better ones.
An idyllic situation? Perhaps, since parents who have good social skills and plan for the future will have happier, healthier and wiser children. And much of this has to do with their shared genes.
Sadly, facts tell a different story so consider this more an exception than a rule.. According to experts the increasing stress among parents because of employment problems, lack of finance or marital differences is becoming a major cause of depression among children.
While it can be perfectly normal for children to be worried or sad once in a while, it is only when these moods continue to seem extreme over a period of time, that indicates the need for professional help. It could be for childhood anxiety, depression, or both. It is not uncommon for children to be diagnosed with both depression and an anxiety disorder.
In May, 2012, BBC (Health) reported that children as young as five have a clinically diagnosable mental health problem. Besides, among those adults who will suffer long term mental health problems, atleast half of these would have experienced their first symptoms before the age of fourteen. The National Institute of Mental Health, USA, has concluded that on an average the onset of anxiety is at 11 years of age.
This prompted Sarah Brennan, C.E.O of Young Minds, an extremely popular charity for children in the UK to comment: “It is vital that we invest in children and young people’s mental health in order to prevent a generation of children suffering entrenched mental health problems as adults.”
A study at the Johns Hopkins University, USA, indicates that the children of parents who have been diagnosed with any kind of a mental disorder (anxiety, panic,depression etc) are seven times more likely to develop an anxiety disorder themselves. And two thirds of children living with an anxious parent may have already experienced symptoms that meet the criteria of anxiety disorder. Golda Ginsburg, a child psychoanalyst at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center suggests that if adults in a family are found suffering from anxiety it is only appropriate that the children are called in for an evaluation.
A few noteworthy facts are as follows:
1. Anxiety disorder is the most common mental illness affecting 40 million adults in the United States, age 18 and older (18% of U.S. Population),
2. Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only about one-third of those suffering receive treatment,
3. Anxiety disorders cost the U.S. More than $42 billion a year, almost one-third of the country’s $148 billion total mental health bill, according to “The Economic Burden of Anxiety Disorders,
4. In any given year, about seven percent – between 13 million and 14 million people – will experience a depressive disorder,
5. Nationally, one in 10 children aged between five and 16 years old has a clinically diagnosable mental health problem,
6. Approximately 7 million women in the United States are clinically depressed and one in five women can expect to develop clinical depression at some time in her life.
Since this is about good parents and they do not deliberately cause their children to be anxious, they unwittingly help to perpetuate it. Depressed or anxious parents are more likely to be both withdrawn from their children and more critical. They fail to encourage their children’s academic success and social relationships. This often results in poor social skills, stress and depression.
There are programs designed by experts and well known professionals that combine information and resources for parents with tools so designed that your children and you can work together. This is a treatable illness that affects all areas of your life. The important thing is to know that you are not alone. Get together with your child to overcome anxiety and depression and change your lives for the better.