DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY IN CHILDREN

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Depression and anxiety including emotional stress in children in adolescence (11 to 17 years age) is common. Reasons being their inability to identify themselves with their lower as well as higher age groups. Also, in this stage children become enigmatic and are unable to understand the biological and physical bodily changes that take place. Children start deeply understanding the environment around them and are required to take important self-decisions, which, in turn,lead to confusion.

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The cause, however, of worry in recent years is the rampant visibility of depression and anxiety symptoms in children as young as in the age group of 6-8 years. For these children the idea of a carefree, tension-free and life full of happiness are things of the past, to be read in storybooks only. The lives of these children have become as busy as that of the adults, striving to chew more than what they can eat.

Overindulgence or addiction to net surfing, mobile chatting/conversing, excessive use of social networking sites, must-watch TV programmes, etc with almost negligible out-door activity are also eventually effecting the mental as well as physical health of the children. This needs to be controlled by parents at home. Children to enliven must, as much as possible,be exposed to the outside world and the environment. They should be made to face the uncertainties of life and find solutions on their own from the early stage itself.

Children today live in the constant fear of failing to meet the expectations of their parents and teachers. At times, these expectations are unrealistic. Imagine a parent expecting his child to study medicine when the later hates to study the so-called difficult words in Biology. Parents should not force their child to study a particular stream without knowing the actual interest of their child.

The desire to multi skill children also becomes a cause of anxiety amongst them. Without realizing the capability or interest of children, parents want them to learn everything at the same time and overnight- dance, music, arts and crafts, swimming, tennis and the list is endless. A case in point is the camps and workshops children are made to attend during summer vacations when they ought to be enjoying carefree holidays. Some parents make their wards to attend these camps as they feel that at least for some time children will be away and they will get free time without any trouble at home. In fact, some parents have even expressed their views against having vacations as they feel that children should be in school so that for some time during the day they are rid of the ‘nuisance created by them’.

We adults, especially the parents and teachers, should be aware of the above facts and look for symptoms of depression and anxiety in children by way of observing even exiguous changes in their behaviour and attitude. Parents should always remain in continuous dialogue with their kids. If required, intervention of a trained psychotherapist can be taken. But at all costs, we should not allow the malice of depression, anxiety, stress, low self-esteem, etc to influence our children’s lives. Otherwise, they will grow up as distraught individuals.

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