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Pressure to perform makes you sick: The burden on children is increasing
New research suggests that children are mentally ill today. The pressure to perform that kids are exposed to starts earlier. In addition, the little ones have to cope with separation of their parents more often these days. And they become victims of bullying more often.
Pressure to perform always comes earlier
Math exam, school until 3 p.m., then straight home and back to the desk to do a mountain of homework. A normal and everyday scenario for many students. Around every fifth young person in Germany now suffers from stress. According to experts, the pressure to perform is reaching children more and more often and earlier. The consequences include stomach ache and fear. Or bullying: If students have teased themselves on the school playground in the past, today the meanness is often permanently manifested in social networks.
Child Mental Health Report
A particularly dramatic case was the suicide of Amanda Todd. As the dpa news agency reports, the girl bare-chested as a twelve-year-old bare-chested in a webcam chat in front of a stranger. After the man published the photos, Amanda killed herself at the age of 15. Her death made headlines worldwide. But are children really having a hard time today? And are you actually mentally ill? There are studies that point in this direction. A few days ago, Bavaria's Minister of Health Melanie Huml (CSU) presented a report on the mental health of children and adolescents, according to which every fourth child in Bavaria grows up with mental health problems or developmental disorders. This is shown by data from the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians in Bavaria (KVB) and health insurance companies. In a communication from the ministry, Huml said: "We now have a comprehensive basis of information on the mental health of children and adolescents in Bavaria."
"Such things are taken more seriously today"
However, the numbers did not mean that every fourth child was sick, said Berthold Koletzko from the Hauners Children's Hospital at the University of Munich. It was anomalies. "Such things are taken more seriously today," says Koletzko according to dpa. Therefore, they would be found more often. "But it is also the case that children have more stress." In the agency report, children report their stress: "Sometimes when we have so much homework and have to learn a lot, I feel under pressure," said the 11-year-old Kilian. Eight-year-old Noah is "afraid of nightmares and when I have to go to bed alone in the evening". Seven-year-old Jonathan said, “I'm afraid of war. Because a lot of people die there. Because they shoot with pistols and guns. I often think about the dead. ”They all prefer to be at home or with friends. "The most important thing is that I have time," says Kilian.
Less stress for adolescents
Health experts advise practicing relaxation with the children to prevent stress. In addition to progressive muscle relaxation (progressive muscle relaxation), autogenic training or yoga are also available here, which is explicitly offered for children in various cities. "You have to do more in prevention - support and strengthen children, adolescents and families, and reduce the stress at school," said Koletzko. The effects can be manifold: fear of school, fear of exams, sleep and learning problems, eating disorders, hyperactivity, lack of drive or children who are too "grown up" who do not like to play with their peers or children who are too willing to help others. As stated in the dpa report, scientists describe a "new morbidity", with a shift from physical illnesses to problems with psychological development, emotionality and social behavior.
ADHD accounts for half of the diagnoses
According to the Bavarian study, developmental disorders are the most common diagnosis in young and preschool children. Between the ages of seven and 14, behavioral and emotional disorders become more important. Attention deficit disorder ADHD accounts for more than half of the diagnoses. Depression also occurs in adolescents. However, Koletzko warned of hasty conclusions, especially with ADHD. “This diagnosis is very difficult to make. The distinction between an overload and a real illness is not always easy. ”
Successes in alcohol and tobacco prevention
Munich therapist Klaus Neumann also said: "You should be careful about what you measure." If, for example, the limit values for cholesterol were changed, "the statistics promptly show that the risk of cholesterol has increased enormously". From an adult's perspective, some things result from the fact that adolescents have a harder time today - because they themselves would have a harder time today, for example finding their way in a digitized world. Neumann, representative in the professional association of German psychologists for children's rights, also sees an increasing burden. "Belonging is more and more about external appearances," says the expert. “We have a struggle with society at the moment, which really matters. And the kids are left alone. Old role models have faltered. But nothing new has yet been established. ”His“ diagnosis ”is:“ The pathologization limit has been lowered. The level of concern among parents has increased. ”Medical doctor Koletzko pointed out improvements in smoking and alcohol. According to the current study, admissions to alcohol poisoning among young people in Bavaria declined. The Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA) also reported a decline in alcohol and cigarette consumption among teenagers. According to the information, the proportion of smokers from 12 to 17 years decreased by almost ten percent. "These are successes in prevention," says Koletzko. (ad)