4 Reasons Your Teen is Feeling Increased Sadness
In a recent article of The Atlantic (https://www.theatlantic.com/newsletters/archive/2022/04/american-teens-sadness-depression-anxiety/629524/), Derek Thompson describes how American teens are experiencing a severe mental health crisis. Thompson points out four major reasons behind this crisis, which is characterized by declining mental health in all groups of teens since 2015. He points out that while the COVID crisis has made life more difficult for many teens, there are four factors, common in our society, that are contributing to this increased sadness in American teens.
Being involved in social media may keep teens from being involved in activities that are healthy for their minds and bodies, but what’s worse, is that social media use results in many teens comparing themselves to their peers in unhealthy ways. There are natural pressures associated with growing up, and these pressures are magnified when teens continually compare themselves to their peers. The author points out that teen girls are especially prone to gaining a critical view of themselves from their peers and from the adults in their lives.
Too Much Time Alone
Related to social media use, is the factor of many teens spending a great deal of time alone. Human beings are social creatures meant for in-person social activity, and time spent on social media takes away from time with others. Besides this loneliness, which many teens are experiencing, time spent on social media keeps many teens from getting enough sleep. This, of course, results in fatigue, causing problems in other areas of a teen’s life.
Exposure to the World’s Pain
Too much time on social media also increases teen sadness by exposing them to the continuous news in the world. There’s no shortage of daily news of disasters, both man-made and natural, and those in charge of the news business appreciate everyone’s attention on their news stories. It’s big business! Helping teens find and keep a healthy perspective on the world’s events may be the best thing parents can do to help their teens mental health. It might also help them think about ways they can help others who are facing difficulties around the world – help empower them to see where they can help and what they would like to do about what they are learning.
Lack of Autonomy
Thompson also writes that parents who are college-educated are spending twice as much time as parents did 40 years ago trying to get their kids ready for college and into the best colleges possible. The author relates how children need to grow up doing more for themselves without their parents’ help. When parents can allow their children to struggle and try alone, teens will learn how to get along feeling uncomfortable, without being rescued, building resilience and self-confidence.
If you are a teen and are doing well, mental-health wise, then kudos to you, your family, your school, and your peer group, because you and they are doing the right things. You’re likely grateful for who you are and for what you have in your life, are spending time with peers who appreciate you, and are remaining physically active and getting enough sleep. You are likely reaching goals that you’ve set for yourself and are not being driven to attain goals that others have set for you. Keep enjoying life!
If, however, you’re experiencing some major emotional difficulties such as anxiousness or extreme ager or sadness, you may find it valuable to talk with someone who you can trust. The process of counseling relies on sharing your feelings about difficulties you’re facing and learning to trust yourself to make decisions, which will bring you more happiness. Therapists at UpliftME are available to talk with you or your teen right now. Call today to schedule. https://upliftmechildtherapy.com/contact/