Hi Fellow Parents, and Welcome!
Every year, I ask all my students this question: “What’s your big dream, the thing you’d do if you could accomplish anything?”
Answers usually range from Broadway star to curing cancer to bank CEO. But this year, the answers tend to range from having a nice home with blueberry bushes and being happy, to having a job with good work/life balance and being happy. Operative words: being happy. According to the latest CDC Survey, 37% of teenagers are not. Since when has happiness become a “big dream” instead of the baseline for our kids?
An unsustainable level of anxiety and depression among teens started before COVID-19 disruptions, but it has since escalated to a level where words of reassurance can sound thin in the face of what may be going on in your home. If everything is not really okay today with your precious child, you are not alone.
I wish I had bona fide cures, but here are some anxiety salves:
- Listen to Flusterclux: For Parents Who Worry podcast, by anxiety expert Lynn Lyons, for helping a depressed or anxious child as well as yourself.
- Read the book When Children Feel Pain by Rachel Rabkin Peachman, award winning journalist, and Anna C. Wilson, pediatric pain specialist, for actionable advice if your child is in pain, either physical or mental.
- Contact me if you think an application or essay review or consultation, P.O.V. college admission evaluator, will help alleviate college admission stress for your child.
- Read the New York Times article This Teen Was Prescribed 10 Psychiatric Drugs. She’s not Alone. to learn more about common medications prescribed to teenagers for depression, anxiety, and ADHD.
- Sanity-saving mantras appear on p.37 and throughout College Admissions Cracked: Saving Your Kid and Yourself From the Madness. (“Speed doesn’t matter. Forward is forward.”)
I can tell you that it is not hard to get into college, that almost 40% of colleges nationwide admit most applicants, and that your child can experience a great education with job prospects to match at any college where they land with a positive attitude. But knowing this intellectually does not always correspond with our feelings as parents.
No shame here. Just empathy and support for the depression and anxiety an entire generation of kids and their families are suffering through right now. Be gentle with yourself as well as your child as they head back to school.