Five Troubling Trends That Are Hitting Kids At Younger Kids and How To Fix Them

Michele Borba September 17, 2009 Comments Off on Five Troubling Trends That Are Hitting Kids At Younger Kids and How To Fix Them

My interview with Meredith Viera on TODAY yesterday featuring The Big Book of Parenting Solutions (link to segment is below if you want to view)

Michele Borba

There is so much going on today–parent are bombarded with problems of all kinds and it’s hard to keep up. But it’s also critical that we keep our eyes open as to what’s happening with our kids. To put it mildly–I think we really have trouble right here in River City. All is not well with our kids emotional and moral well-being. 

Yesterday on the TODAY show I shared five parenting problems that are concerning for two reasons. First, because they’re hitting our kids at far younger ages and second because those issues increasing. I’ll be focusing in future blogs on these troubling trends and I’ll share the research, but I also want to be clear: New child development research is countering a lot of old current parenting techniques. Not only are they not effective but they are actually backfiring. It’s one reason these trends are increasing and it’s another reason why we need parenting solutions that are based not only on common sense but also empirical research. (More on that in a bit).

Here are the trends I shared on TODAY:

1. Peer Pressure: A recent Boys and Girls Club of America survey of 46,000 teens said peer pressure was their biggest concern. A Time/Nickelodeon surveys of kids ages 9 to 14 found that 36 percent say they feel peer pressure to smoke marijuana; 36% to shoplift; 40% to drink. Oh an by the way, sexual promiscuity is increasing and at lower ages (the hot 13 year old behavior is oral sex). 

2. Self-Centered or Narcissism (or just call it plain ol “entitlement): Two thirds of parents now admit their kids are spoiled and they themselves are to blame. Don’t think you’re doing your kids any favor: self-centered kids are not happier and in fact are more prone to be depressed. Jean Twenge’s fascinating research also found that narcissism is increasing per decade in college students.

3. Depression: One in 12 teens now suffers from a serious bout of depression. That trend is so serious that the government is now recommending that medical professionals routinely screen all adolescents for depression.  But hold onto your hats: depression is now diagnosed in three year olds. Depression is serious but treatable. Step one: we have to recognize those early signs and stop thinking this is only a phase!

4. Materialism: Despite the recession (and our quest to be more money-conscious), materialism is still rising in our kids. Two-thirds of parents say that their kids ask for specific brands before the age of three. Materialistic kids are less happy, more anxious, less able to handle adversity, less generous, feel less secure and have lower self-esteem. And materialistic kids have lower opinions of their parents and argue with them more. 

5. Stress: Eight to ten percent of American kid are now seriously troubled by stress. Today’s youth are nicknamed, Generation Stress. If left untreated stress will seriously impact our kids health and well-being.

Meredith Viera (LOVE her!) interviewed me yesterday about these trends. (If you missed the segment you can watch the reel on TODAY show just click this blue). All the solutions I shared were all from The Big Book of Parenting Solutions. 

Of course, these aren’t the only trends that concern me: cyberbullying, aggression, eating disorders, kid cruelty–among others–are also increasing at younger ages. We’re raising a generation of youth who is clearer smarter but also sadder. 

I’ve spent the last two years devouring child development research and the best parenting solutions that are empirically based. I’ve just compiled the best of the best research and tips into one volume as a complete reference for parenting kids 3 to 13. It’s called The Big Book of Parenting Solutions and it’s available now. I warn you: this book is the size of a phonebook! But it’s absolutely everything you ever want to know or need to know about raising kids in this modern day age. After all, it’s a different era. June Clever did not have to deal with cyberbullying, Facebook or online predators. This book also has the best answers I could find to turning these troubling trends around. 

Next blog: KID STRESS. What to do–and how to handle it! Stay tuned.