The Apostle Paul encourages us not to be “anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” – Philippians 4:6. I have done a number of radio programs with Christian teachers and Christian doctors about anxiety and depression. Both Christians and non-Christians now believe anxiety is increasing in our society.
A recent article by Amy Morin in Psychology Today lists “10 Reasons Teens Have So much Anxiety Today.” She says that “electronics offer an unhealthy escape” which keeps them from addressing emotions like boredom, loneliness, or sadness. Another is the idea being spread in society that kids always have to be happy. Parents often make it their job to try to make their kids happy all the time.
And while we are talking about parents, she lists many other concerns. Parents are giving unrealistic praise to their kids, and parents are getting caught up in the rat race. She also believes that parents often view themselves as protectors rather than guides. They also seem to be parenting out of guilt and fear.
Because of all of this, then it is clear that “kids aren’t learning emotional skills.” In fact, a recent survey of first-year college students revealed that a majority (60%) felt emotionally unprepared for college life.
She also argues that “kids aren’t being given enough free time to play.” Many are involved in organized sports and clubs. Solitary play teaches kids to be alone with their thoughts and be comfortable with who they are. Also “family hierarchies are out of whack.” Kids may be giving us the impression they want to be in charge, but they know they aren’t always capable of making good decisions.
This article (and many others like it) remind us that anxiety is on the rise. That is why pastors and Christian leaders need to address the issue of the anxiety epidemic.