This remarkable report on the KQED website unpacks the problem that’s hard to ignore: Today’s young people suffering from depression, anxiety, immaturity — and what might be called the life-blahs.
Actually, that’s a pretty depressing term. Let’s NOT call it the life-blahs.
But it does make sense to look at what cultural forces could be undermining our kids’ confidence and good cheer (besides the past three years of COVID-related sorrow). And that’s what author Holly Korbey does. She makes a compelling case, summed up in her headline, that:
Young adults are struggling with their mental health. Is more childhood independence the answer?
Korbey quotes me, and Let Grow co-founder Jonathan Haidt, and then a Georgetown Professor actually studying whether kids in America are getting their independence SO LATE in childhood, they miss the window when they would naturally be learning to take some mini risks. A time when Mother Nature expected them to start figuring out, through trial and error, what is safe and what’s dumb. The result? They tend to overestimate the risk of extremely mundane, safe activities — like sitting alone at a cafe, or taking an Uber. Having been told that the world is so scary that they always need someone supervising them, the kids have internalized it.
What is the antidote? You guessed it — treating kids with the free, simple therapy known as “massive doses of independence.” That’s what the psychologist in the article is studying right now: Whether, instead of talk therapy, drugs, or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, he can actually some ideas from The Let Grow Project (formerly The Free-Range Kids Project) to help kids with a diagnosis of anxiety.
Let Grow is helping to fund this research and we can’t wait to hear the results! In the meantime, there’s no time like the present to start to let go and Let Grow!