A few weeks ago I read an article online called: British youngsters are the ‘unhappiest generation in a decade’. Report finds 16-25 year olds fret over money, their futures and ‘not being good enough’. (Source)
The article in the Daily Mail which is based on research by The Prince’s Trust says that three out of five young people regularly feel stressed amid concerns over jobs and money.
One in four feel hopeless on a regular basis, and nearly half having experienced a mental health problem.
I was also staggered to learn that 62% of females feel a lack of self-confidence holds them back, in comparison to 42% of males who felt the same way. 62% of females also worry about their finances, whilst 57% also worry about ‘not being good enough in general’.
As a parent this makes for a worrying read. As a mother of girls, I often worry about their futures and wonder if they’ll face the same problems that I did growing up. Sadly, I fear that yes, they’ll face the same problems and more. With advances in social media, it’s no surprise to me that both men and women struggle with a lack of self-worth and are overly conscious about their appearance.
I mean, you only need to step foot outside and walk a few metres down the street to be greeted by billboards of skinny women, men photographed in power suits holding a wad of cash etc. It’s no surprise that young people nowadays aspire to be like these ‘celebrities’ because it’s what they believe life should be like.
Where are the adverts and posters of inspirational people who are actually making a difference by going into local communities to help young adults, pictures of nurses and doctors, pictures of scientists and pioneers?
Are we as a society to blame for putting these celebrities on pedestals for all to see and ‘worship’?
Aside from looks and self-worth, it also comes as no surprise to me that young adults are worried about jobs and finances. Most jobs are minimum wage, and when you think about those who go to university to try and earn more than minimum, they end up leaving university with a massive debt.
So what can we as parents do to help?
We need to encourage our children to do the best they can do in school. To learn, to focus their energy on their future. We need to teach our children right from wrong and be there to support them. We need to be aware of what’s going in our children’s live without being over-bearing.
We need to talk to them, to keep open lines of communication without judgement. To provide them with a safe place to talk should they want to.
Growing up in the 21st century is tough, and we as parents are the answer to help our children have bright futures. What do you think?