Often when I go to educators and parents and talk about mindfulness, the common thing I hear is why do kids even need mindfulness? Some even go to the extent to say that children learn everything from parents and teachers and there is no need to spend time and resources on perhaps another fad.
I want to bring in some research based evidence here:
A research study showed that teens today are more stressed out than adults. "The agency's Stress in America survey found that 30 percent of teens reported feeling sad or depressed because of stress and 31 percent felt overwhelmed. Another 36 percent said that stress makes them tired and 23 percent said they’ve skipped meals because of it. On average, teens reported their stress level was 5.8 on 10-point scale, compared with 5.1 for adults."
A research paper by American Psychological Association indicates that the kids are far more stressed than before and parents are not in tune with their children's level of stress.
Almost one in three children, reported headaches but only 13% parents attributed these to the increase in stress. Likewise, 44 percent reported sleeping problems but only 18 percent considered it as a source of worry.
These findings are as troubling as the question: why kids need mindfulness?
It indicates how out of tune parents are with the state of mind of their own children and its a worrying trend because it can manifest as psychological and physical problems in the future.
Another poll conducted by the "National Kids" surveyed 875 children, ages 9 through 13, about what caused them stress and what coping strategies they used the most to deal with the stress in their lives.
The top three sources of stress that they reported were:
grades, school, and homework (36%);
friends, peers, gossip, and teasing (21%).
The top three coping strategies were:
play or do something active (52%);
listen to music (44%);
watch TV or play a video game (42%).
Out of 10 top coping strategies listed as being chosen the most, not one of them involved going within or being contemplative.
It is estimated that one out of five 9- to 17-year-olds has a diagnosable mental disorder.
Our kids are growing up in an environment which is vastly different from the one we grew up. Social media has changed the game all together and has made stressors of school enter the drawing room now.
Kids are increasingly being raised by multiple caregivers making it impossible for them to rely on one person who unconditionally believes in them.
This is exactly the world where our kids need mindfulness. They need the toolkit to tread into life with self reflection and not being hard on themselves.
Its our duty to help our kids because its we who handed them this world of constant demands and stress on a plate.
So next time, you ask me why your kids need mindfulness, try and tune in with your child first.