Mental health among top hopes for their children

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A new survey measures parents’ top concerns about their kids. Juanma Hatche/Getty Images
  • A new survey is shedding light on parents’ concerns and hopes for their children growing up.
  • Parents in the report were most concerned about their children’s mental health, financial stability and job satisfaction.
  • Things like marriage, having children and going to college weren’t high on parents’ wish lists.

A new survey from the Pew Research Center shows that while parents are concerned about their children’s mental health, financial stability and job satisfaction, they are less concerned about other indicators of life success such as marriage, having children or going to college. are less concerned about.

In a survey of 3,700 parents, 4 in 10 said they are extremely or very concerned about their children struggling with anxiety or depression, with their children’s bullying being their next biggest concern.

On the other side of the spectrum, parents were the least concerned about their children getting into trouble with the police – 67% said they were worried “not very much” or “not at all” – while 54% said they were worried about their children getting into trouble with the police. Were not worried about getting pregnant or getting pregnant as a teenager.

Given the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic, the focus on mental health in this survey isn’t shocking, said Joseph Galasso, PsyD, clinical psychologist and CEO of Baker Street Behavioral Health.

“We have faced an unprecedented change in how we experience our daily lives and the level of control we have felt for the past few years,” Galasso told Healthline. “As such, I believe this level of concern is likely an upward trend from historical data. However, it is clearly related to the pandemic we are facing. And we’ve seen a very real increase in service use by teens and our physical exercise.”

Courtney Conley, EdD, a parenting coach in Maryland, agreed.

“Studies have shown that the prevalence of mental health issues among teens is increasing, with rates of depression and anxiety rising faster among teens than among adults,” she told Healthline. “Given the rise in mental health concerns among young people, it is understandable that this would be of increasing concern to parents.”

Since mental health presents such a significant concern among parents, it is perhaps not surprising that a majority of parents (88%) say that their children’s financial stability and job satisfaction as adults are very or extremely important to them. important, the survey found.

This compared to 21% and 20%, respectively, who say it is essential that their children marry or have children when they grow up.

“I think it speaks to a change in societal expectations and values, which I attribute in part to the pandemic,” Conley said. “Being forced to slow down and pivot as a society led to a mental shift for people. Once people were removed from a stressful, demanding and unfulfilling work environment, it became difficult for them to return. We call ‘hustle’ are starting to move away from culture and putting more emphasis on well-being and balance.”

“This is a positive change given the impact of stress on our health and mental health,” he said. “It’s great that people want stability and satisfaction for their children. Having one without the other will create an imbalance that leads to dissatisfaction.

Among other values, parents also most rated that their children were honest and ethical (94% said that) compared to other factors such as sharing similar religious beliefs (35%) or political beliefs (16%). It was extremely or very important).

While job and financial success was a strong expectation for parents across the board, making sure their kids got a college degree was far less so.

Only 4 out of 10 parents said their children’s earning a college degree is very important to them.

“It is not surprising that parents are thinking outside the college degree, as more and more youth are skeptical about the high school-to-college route and desire more flexible postsecondary education routes. ,” said Jean Eddy, chief executive officer of the nonprofit career planning company American Student Assistance.

Eddy told Healthline, “In the spring of 2022, there were 662,000 fewer students enrolled in graduate programs than last year, and a recent study found that just 53 percent of today’s high schoolers say they likely to attend college.”

And where college was once viewed as the primary path to career success, there are signs that thinking is changing as well.

“A recent study commissioned by American Student Assistance and Jobs for the Future and conducted by Morning Consult found that 81 percent of employers now think they should look at skills rather than degrees when hiring,” she said.

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