New research has found that mental health among children is one of the major concerns for parents in this post-pandemic, digital age.
The research, conducted by the Pew Research Center, found that four-in-ten U.S. parents with children younger than 18 say they are extremely or very worried that their children might struggle with anxiety or depression at some point. In fact, mental health concerns top the list of parental worries, followed by 35% who are similarly concerned about their children being bullied.
Importantly, only around a third of US parents believe it’s “very important” to share their religious beliefs with their children.
These items trump parents’ concerns about certain physical threats to their children, the dangers of drugs and alcohol, teen pregnancy and getting in trouble with the police.
By significant margins, mothers are more likely than fathers to worry about most of these things. There are also differences by income and by race and ethnicity, with lower-income and Hispanic parents generally more likely than other parents to worry about their children’s physical safety, teen pregnancy and problems with drugs and alcohol. Black and Hispanic parents are more likely than White and Asian parents to say they are extremely or very worried about their children getting shot or getting in trouble with the police.
When asked about their aspirations for their children when they reach adulthood, parents prioritize financial independence and career satisfaction. Roughly nine-in-ten parents say it’s extremely or very important to them that their children be financially independent when they are adults, and the same share say it’s equally important that their children have jobs or careers they enjoy.
About four-in-ten (41%) say it’s extremely or very important to them that their children earn a college degree, while smaller shares place a lot of importance on their children eventually becoming parents (20%) and getting married (21%).
The vast majority of parents say being a parent is enjoyable and rewarding all or most of the time, but substantial shares also find it tiring and stressful. About four-in-ten parents (41%) say being a parent is tiring and 29% say it is stressful all or most of the time. Mothers and fathers are about equally likely to say being a parent is enjoyable and rewarding, but larger shares of mothers than fathers say parenting is tiring (47% vs. 34%) and stressful (33% vs. 24%) at least most of the time.
Mental health concerns among children are a growing concern in today’s society. These concerns can manifest in various forms, such as anxiety, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and behavioral disorders.
Anxiety is one of the most common mental health concerns among children. This can manifest in various forms, such as separation anxiety, social anxiety, and generalized anxiety disorder. Children with anxiety may experience symptoms such as excessive worry, difficulty sleeping, and physical complaints such as stomachaches and headaches.
Experts have found that there are many factors that contribute to mental health concerns among children, including genetic predisposition, brain development, and environmental factors such as stress, trauma, and exposure to violence.
They say it is important to address mental health concerns among children as early as possible to prevent them from becoming more severe and impacting the child’s development. Treatment options include therapy, medication, and support from family and friends.