Teenage anxiety is on the rise, with more teens suffering than ever. With so many teens facing anxiety, experts are trying to nail down what’s causing it, and a recent article published by the New York Times sheds some light on the issue.
Locally, Child and Family Psychologist, Dr. Tanya Pellettiere says that the rise could be because of societal changes and cultural shifts.
“Statistically speaking we are definitely seeing an increase in anxiety, depression and other mental health issues in our middle school to our adolescent population,” she says.
A big contributing factor of these issues can lie in parenting. Dr. Pellettiere suggests that parents doing too much for their children instead of guiding them, can be one of the biggest culprits.
“Too often I see kids given way too much choice and too much power and that’s one of the things we’re seeing too,” she adds.
Social media and modern technology are also a major part of the problem. Children are glued to devices these days and despite some parents’ best efforts, the invention of something that always has teens tuned in and connected can be a major source of anxiety.
“There is a direct correlation between the invention of the iPhone and anxiety … it’s so easy for kids to escape and it’s so easy for them to escape for long chunks of time when parents don’t put limits on them,” she said. “So we are raising a generation of children who have learned to avoid uncomfortable feelings”
Those feelings grow and become bigger problems as children grow and become adults and that’s another growing concern, she adds.
One way that parents can help combat the problem is to help children find their own voice, give them some time to explore and avoid over compensating as parents. Giving kids the opportunity to explore boredom and free time and also giving them the proper tools to navigate the world can be just what they need.
Dr. Tanya Pellettiere works with families across Central New York. To learn more about how she can help you find her on Facebook at TanyaPellettierePHD.