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in: Fatherhood, Podcast, Relationships & Family

June 22, 2020 Last updated: July 20, 2020

Podcast #621: The Causes and Cures of Childhood Anxiety

Everyone feels under greater psychic pressure these days, but we adults hope that children, who have always been seen as naturally resilient, have been spared the stress. Unfortunately, kids are increasingly experiencing mental health problems like anxiety at younger and younger ages, and this trend has been going on for years. 

My guest today wrote a cover article for The Atlantic on the causes and cures of this phenomenon. Her name is Kate Julian and we begin our conversation today by describing the extent to which problems like depression, anxiety, and even suicide have been on the rise among children, and how these issues correlate with continued problems later in life. We then talk about the possible causes behind the increase in childhood anxiety, and whether technology and social media are to blame. We then delve into the idea of how parents are perpetuating their children’s anxiety through their own anxiety and their willingness to make accommodations to keep their kids calm and happy. We get into the idea that getting your children comfortable with being uncomfortable can inoculate them against anxiety, and end our conversation with a discussion of whether more exposure to the news of a tumultuous world might actually make kids more resilient.

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Show Highlights

  • When does anxiety in kids become a problem?
  • How does childhood anxiety affect later life?
  • How resilience is built up 
  • Short-term pain vs long-term gain 
  • Why are modern parents more anxious?
  • What is “accommodation”? How can it take over your life?
  • The earlier maturation of our kids 
  • How can you get your kids more comfortable with being uncomfortable?
  • Should we always shield kids from the bad things in the world?
  • How Kate’s parenting has changed since writing and researching this article 

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