I think most of us would agree when we are in the midst of raising kids that life can get pretty busy and tiring. Whether we are in the phase of beginning our family and sleep deprivation taxes us, or we’ve got teenagers and, though sleep may still be hard to find for different reasons, we tend to spend a lot of time running to and from a variety of activities, there seems to be an overall pace of life that can, at times, feel overwhelming.
If we adults are feeling overwhelmed, how do we think our kids feel? They too can become stressed by the pressure of school, sports, band, theater, schedules, eating on the run and all the other everyday stuff of life. I believe our kids also take on our energy so that if we are facing work or relationship challenges they can sense and react to it.
The result of stress can be an increased level of anxiety; it doesn’t take much investigation to learn there is plenty of anxiety among kids today. Ask a mental health counselor and they will tell you dealing with stress, anxiety and depression is the main focus of the work they do with young people.
We might wonder why kids are so anxious? Adults, sure…but kids?
Though there is no one set, quick answer to this question, it is important to acknowledge the rise in childhood anxiety. The next step is to bring awareness to the topic so we can work together to create an understanding and shift towards a more peaceful pace. And, if for whatever reason that isn’t possible, to teach our kids the skills to cope with their stress and anxiety.
To that end, I am so excited to share with you that the McKamy Middle School PTA is sponsoring a series of showings of a wonderful documentary on this topic called Angst. This 56-minute film showcases many adolescents who have experienced anxiety and while they may still struggle at times, the film leaves the viewer feeling hopeful and gives a sense of normalcy to the fact that each of us is prone to feel anxious at times.
The showings are as follows:
Tuesday, January 8th from 7-8 p.m. at McKamy Middle School cafeteria (2401 Old Settlers Rd, Flower Mound, TX 75022)
Thursday, January 10th from 7-8 p.m. with panel discussion at the Flower Mound High School Auditorium (3411 Peters Colony Rd, Flower Mound, TX 75022)
In addition, McKamy Middle School is holding a Mind & Body Wellness Fair on January 15th from 6:30-8:30 p.m. to showcase local resources and services that pertain to helping families cope with stress and anxiety.
I am excited to have been invited to be part of this evening as someone who helps parents develop healthier, happier, more functional relationships with their adolescents. I love the idea that as a community we are stepping into a space where we acknowledge the challenges our kids are facing and proactively looking to give them (and their parents) the skills to help them feel less anxious.
My daughter, a middle school student, has occasionally struggled with anxiety for several years and has spoken publicly about her experiences to other kids in order to bring awareness. I know from speaking with many parents in our area that anxiety is a prevalent challenge in many families.
When one of my kids is experiencing a period of debilitating anxiety I acknowledge their feelings and go through the strategies and skills I have learned and use to cope with my own worries. If that isn’t supporting them enough, I offer to get them professional help. I don’t know that the counselor is saying or doing much different than I am, but as many parents know sometimes just hearing something from another adult is what’s needed to bring about change.
I also believe, as stated above, our kids take on our worries and anxiety so it’s important as the key adults in their lives that we tend to our own emotional well-being. They learn best when we are modeling the example we’d like them to pick up on, right?
To learn more about the documentary, google Angst the movie or go to angstmovie.com to see the trailer and the response this film has had since its release in 2017. This is a must see for any middle or high school student and their parents. If your child does not experience anxiety than they definitely know classmates or friends who could use their support by learning from this film.