Kids Today: The Worried Generation
Anyone who works with children has likely seen how worry works to weigh a child down.
Also of Interest
When parents are encouraged to take when-you're-abducted pictures and to guard the perimeter, it's little wonder kids fear the world in which they live. And it's a short step from there to developing hypersensitivity to anything in life that's unexpected. So much fuel exists to ignite anxiety, panic, and other disorders that kids begin feeling constantly anxious and panicky—and bear-hug any little problem so tightly they're unable to let go and move on.
But hope exists that parents can extinguish the unnecessary anguish. Data shows that even kids with a genetic disposition to anxiety, panic, and depression can persevere if they can learn to become resilient, which is the ability to forget the unimportant stuff, or at least to right-size it.
Resilience guards a child from, literally, caring about every concern that wanders into her life—whether as unlikely as abduction by a stranger or as common as a friend's cruel comment. When a kid knows no better than to carry the weight of every issue, her capacity to embrace and enjoy life diminishes. Worry acts as a thief that steals joy, which is not the way God intended life to work.
So do we blithely ignore all the challenges we face? I wish. Quick reality check: I have experienced the ups and downs of being a kid, an adventuresome youth, a parent of toddlers, a cancer patient, a children's ministry director, and currently a dad of two teenagers. An issue-free life doesn't exist. But with resilience, any person can enjoy life, whether young or older, even me.
With resilience, life can happen just as God intended.
Portions of this area are adapted from a chapter titled "Forget Unimportant Stuff/Learn Life Has Consequences" in David's new book Lessons Kids Need to Learn (Zondervan, 2012). In this chapter, you'll find four specific approaches to develop resilience in children.
share this page
Join the BuildingChurchLeaders.com Facebook groupFollow us on TwitterSubscribe to the Building Church Leaders RSS feed
Meet Our Editorial Advisors
More from Christianity Today