The psychologist, Alex Russell, kicked off our “Mental Health Awareness Week” on Monday, and he offered the Upper School boys this observation:
“We are seeing a significant increase in anxiety and depression. There are kids, some as young as 7, 8, 9 years old, having panic attacks over spelling tests . Think about that for a second. Having a panic attack in Grade 3 over a test.
And even as we see this increase in anxiety, it’s important to remember that today’s kids are among the SAFEST in the history of the planet. Yet, that doesn’t stop them from being the most anxious. We have to ask ourselves why this is.
Part of this is cultural. Let me give you just one small example. The Ontario Soccer Association has said that we can no longer use the expression “soccer tournaments.” Instead, we are to call them “soccer festivals.” This change in nomenclature is based on the same flawed reasoning that tells 9 year olds that we aren’t allowed to keep score during softball games. Of course the kids keep score!
And this notion, that you can’t call a tournament a tournament or keep a score – it is downright disrespectful. It says to kids, ‘You can’t handle competition.’ The irony is that all these policies are aimed at well intentioned by crazy parents.”