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Are Kids Sad and Stressed Because Their Parents Are?

In a New York Times editorial, David French notes the frequent conversations he has with parents of teenagers about the teen mental health crisis in America. French writes, “As a parent of a teenager, I see this world every day.” But then he raises the following questions about this crisis: “What if the call [to anxiety and depression and rage] is also coming from inside the house? What if parents are inadvertently contributing to their own kids’ pain?”

French writes:

When we think about children and screens, let’s also consider the relationship between adults and their TVs and smartphones. Watch [the news] and you’ll see a discourse dominated by fear and anger. If you spend any time at all on political Twitter [or Facebook], you’ll quickly see a level of vicious, personal attacks that differ little from the most extreme personal bullying a person can experience in middle school or high school.

What should we do about it? French concludes:

It might be worth asking a simple question: How much fear and anxiety should we import into our lives and homes? Forget teens, for the moment. Are we proving any more capable of handling the information age? It’s a question I honestly ask myself … I know that my anxiety can radiate outward to affect my kids …. If we want to heal our children [we] may well start by seeking the help we need to heal ourselves.

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