Today I’m doing a round-up of what a variety of experts in the children’s mental health field have to say about “hot topics” in their daily work. I found the responses insightful and they will certainly help me to move forward with what to cover on this blog.
Richard Selznick, PhD, is a psychologist and author of The Shut-Down Learner who works in New Jersey. He says, “While I’m not sure if I see this is a common concern among mental health professionals, one of the biggest issues that I see affecting children is their continually being asked to handle tasks (academic and non-academic) that they really can’t handle. Effectively, kids are being asked to swim in deeper waters than they are competent to manage. The assumption (not correct) among families and teachers is he/she isn’t trying enough. This leads to much stress in the family and insecurity in the child.”
Richard continues with this other excellent piece of advice: “Another thing I see these days is a general lack of patience with children. There is a great deal of yelling and reactivity from parent to child, much of which is unproductive. Kids need to be seen as works in progress – I try and encourage parents to think that ‘God isn’t done with the child yet.’ Usually, the message of patient encouragement is heard.”
Anne Ptasznik is a communications consultant/writer who has worked in mental health for 20 years. I’ve recently connected with Anne on Twitter. She says, “It is a particularly exciting time to be writing on this topic as the government has recently announced three-year funding for mental health and addiction services geared toward children and youth. It will be interesting to see how this develops. Access to these services for young people has always been a huge issue.”
Alyson Schafer is a well-known psychotherapist, author and parenting expert who has her own parenting show on Rogers TV. Catching her between appointments, Alyson offers that, “The biggest issue seems to be anxiety/depression in Canada. Also debates around ADHD and autism and [lot’s of talk] about attachment disorder.” She adds that in the US hot topics include debates over medicating for behaviour issues and social media apps (applications) that can promote bullying and cyber-bullying!
Finally, Sara Dimerman, a psychological associate, counsellor, and author, is an expert I turn to often when writing articles on parenting, education, development, health and children. Again, catching her between patient appointments and interviews, Sara shares her feedback on today’s most common issues in children’s mental health. “As always issues around anxiety are always big.” Sara adds that a constant in her practise is “helping kids cope with divorce and separation.”
Some of the answers I received made me nod my head while others were a surprise and, again, made me think about my kids and all of the children we know. What’s your take? What kinds of mental health issues do you see in your family or community these days? Did these answers surprise you and make you re-think your own parenting model?