U.S. kids overtreated with therapy, meds

by ian

Are we raising the next generation of kids too soft? Author Abigail Shrier thinks so. In a recent interview with Fox News, she said that overtreating kids with therapy and psych meds is counterproductive to their mental health.

She argued that constantly talking about kids’ feelings and relying on mental health experts have made “kids sadder and focused on themselves,” instead of achieving the opposite outcome. What this means is that psychological interventions are encouraging kids to be less resilient are capable of being.

Shrier said that 42% of kids who have been diagnosed with some sort of mental health issue are now reliant on long-term therapy. And she’s not wrong. The CDC says that in 2016, 8 in 10 children received treatment for depression, while 6 in 10 children received help for anxiety. Meanwhile, more than 5 in 10 kids received therapy for other behavior disorders. According to government data, these numbers only get worse once these kids hit their teenage years.

This is not to say that no child needs help with mental health; however, our society has overcorrected itself with these kinds of treatments. Shrier says that the next generation of kids is now less likely to take risks while they are overly dependent on adult help. Kids are indirectly told they can’t overcome hard things by themselves, so they develop things like PTSD when life throws a curveball at them. 

So, what’s the solution? 

Shrier says that on the one hand, parents need to let go of their kids while, on the other hand, she encourages parents not to run to therapists at the first sign of distress.

Studies have confirmed that creating strong parent-child relationships is key to raising mentally healthy children. According to one study from the Institute of Family Studies, warm, disciplined parenting practices and high-quality parent-child relationships predict better mental health among teens.”

They found that conservative parents fare best when it comes to raising mentally healthy kids since they do a good job of setting boundaries and responding to their children’s needs. On the flipside, liberal parents scored the lowest due to their lack of success in disciplining their kids. Overall, the research concluded that marriage and family-centric parents raise psychologically healthier children than those who do not hold those values.