For the past month at CityHill London, we have been taking a look at mental health. But what about the family?
Generation Z is the first generation in human history to have their suicide rate overtake their homicide rate. 90% of Generation Z according to Time magazine are stressed out. The Independent reported that depression is two thirds higher amongst Gen Z in comparison with Millenials. Even though there has been a decline in smoking, drugs and alcohol. While research is taking place to help this present generation with the challenges it is facing, we also have the next generation to take ownership of.
I wanted to take some time to give some small timely tips that any of us can do with our children to help their Mental Health.
- Manage Digital Access
Prayer for me is the single greatest tool in keeping my mental health in a good place. Prayer is a conversation with God where I can talk to Him without any filters. I can tell him how bad things REALLY are. It is one of the most priceless gifts on planet earth. Teach your kids how to pray, let them see you pray and talk to God about something sensible, but with vulnerability. One day they will be alone and struggling and now know how to process it with God. Amazing.
Talking is such a big thing, the art of talking is not just in the ability to communicate a message, but in how to hear another person and engage. Children who do not feel heard are those, who are more likely going to suffer from mental health issues. Children really need to be heard it is so key for them in experiencing and processing their emotions. It is important sometimes to hear what they say and catch yourself as a parent, let them be heard without interjecting so often. Also allow them to process and be guided to a good conclusion, rather than rushed there constantly.
Manage Digital Access with intentionality, decide where the lines are drawn and stick to it. If you were out with your kids and stranger started talking to them and getting into a deep conversation you would NEVER allow that to continue. That cannot just change because they are online.
Generation Z has been raised by Generation X, Generation X has been very hands-on and overbearing in their parenting in public, but very hands off and relaxed about their parenting concerning the digital world. The truth is the dangers out in the public space have changed very little, the world in that sense has not gotten any more dangerous than for previous generations. Digital spaces, on the other hand, are incredibly dangerous, not just in the sense of online predators, but also in the access that it allows peers to have to one’s children.
A trend that is growing from millennials and Gen Z is the number of those that have placed friends as more key to their identity than their family. This seems like a trend that will continue to grow in future generations also. As Christians, the family is a space for discipleship and we don’t want out kids being shaped more by peers than by us.
We all need to police the digital access our children have. It will be a lot of work over the coming years with the rate at which technology changes, but I believe it will be so worthwhile in the long run.
Would love to hear from you about how you pray with your children? Any creative suggestions?
I would also like to recommend to parents the array of resources and articles, not to mention podcasts available from Care For The Family, check them out.