Fifty Percent of All College Kids Have a “Psychiatric Disorder”. Parents: It’s YOUR Fault!

Fifty Percent of All College Kids Have a “Psychiatric Disorder”. Parents: It’s YOUR Fault!

Fifty Percent of All College Kids Have a “Psychiatric Disorder”. Parents: It’s YOUR Fault!

Hold onto your hats and get ready for this shocker of a story. While we 30-40-50-and beyond somethings are taking our blood pressure pills and trying to manage the stress in our lives, we need to be concerned about our teenagers and 20-somethings. I mean, really concerned. Why, you ask? Because according to this, 50-60% of all college students have a psychiatric disorder.

Mic drop. Dr. Gene Beresin, a psychiatrist and Executive Director of The Clay Center for Young, Healthy Minds at Massachusetts General Hospital, says 50% to 60% of college students have a psychiatric disorder.

“What I’m including in that is the use of substances, anxiety, depression, problems with relationships, break-ups, academic problems, learning disabilities, attentional problems. If you add them all up 50% doesn’t seem that high.”-Dr, Gene Beresin.

Dr. Beresin says the brain doesn’t fully mature until age 26 so college students are put in a “difficult situation”.

Colleges across the U.S. are now taking measures to create a dialogue about student suicides and depression but in all honesty, I have to say that a great deal of this added stress and depression is our fault. Why? Because some of us have not taken the necessary steps to prepare them for life from Kindergarten through high school.

I remember a group of kids I knew in college. They lived very privileged lives, backpacked through Europe every summer, were put up in their own apartments and given brand new cars by their moms and dads. When reality set in and grades slipped (because they thought they were naturally awesome and did not need to actually work at it), a few of them turned to heroin and so began the downward spiral to all of them becoming drug-addicted train wrecks. They had the world at their fingertips. They crashed. And they crashed HARD. More recently, over the course of the past few months, I’ve also had the opportunity to work with college-bound teenagers and what resonated with me the most is how out-of-touch with reality they really are. Just last week, I watched while high school seniors decorated a wall. The wall said “We Rule This City!” (You do? Really?)

I don’t blame any of these kids for thinking they “rule the city”. I blame the parents. Yeah, the people my age who gave birth to these young ‘uns.

So parents of teenagers bound for college-listen up. Just stop. Stop it right now. YOU are the problem for allowing them think this world revolves around them. I know you love them with every fiber of your being as a parent should. But, really, you seriously need to knock it off. I know you harken back to that first soccer team in Kindergarten when there were no “winning” or “losing” teams. They were so cute running around on the field not knowing the rules of the game. Everyone got a trophy so nobody’s feelings were hurt and you all went out for pizza afterwards. I know you think about those elementary school assemblies where the staff made sure that every child in every class throughout every school year got an award. I know for a fact that when our child’s feelings are hurt for not getting recognition for something–anything-everything-or invited to that party-that ours are hurting 10 times more but you parents need to get over it and suck it up. Especially when they are in high school getting ready to venture off to college. You need to accept this in your mind: they are not going to be rewarded or win the game all of the time. It’s not a poor reflection on you and your stellar parenting techniques. You need to accept that you may not be able to boast about your angels at every cocktail party. Grow up and get over yourselves. It’s not about you. It’s about making sure they are functional, mentally and physically healthy adults.

Should they enter the workforce at 16, it is YOUR JOB to tell them that even when they may have worked hard, they may not be recognized individually for their achievements and I’m sorry if that hurts you more than it hurts them. You need them to take initiative and apply for the job themselves. You need not call in sick for them. They also need to know that an hourly job is just that-an hourly job. They do not get vacation. Holidays are unpaid. When they are on-the-job, they are expected to work. Not text their friends, not watch YouTube. You need to tell them to roll up their sleeves and dig in. You also need to tell them that if they commit to working during a specific time frame, to work it. And yes, that means they may have to forgo that $2,000-a-week-all-vegan-meal-self-esteem-camp all of their buddies are going to on the Oregon coast. And you need to inform them that most real-world jobs would not allow a person to run off in the middle of the day for sports practice. It is very inconsiderate to impose kids who think that every one lives in their world to please them and to work around their schedules upon other adults while you go about your business for the day. After all, the adults working with your child(ren) have a job to do and other responsibilities, too. Anything short of not informing them about how the working world works is ON YOU and a reflection of your parenting and if you don’t inform them, you look like the jackalope. Remember that.

And last but certainly not least, you need to give them perspectives from walks of life unlike your own. If you live a fairly comfortable existence, you have the responsibility of educating your kids about different circumstances and reminding them on occasion how fortunate they really are. Take a look around your home. Take a look at how you and your family live. Pray together and thank God for your blessings and pray for others if that’s a part of your family routine. Be thankful, be grateful and ask them to attempt to understand the perspectives of others who are in their peer group who may not necessarily be in their circle of friends because of different interests or family dynamics. Tell them that there are others who may not have the financial backing of your bank account to zip off the college months after high school graduation. Inform them that there are yet others who have not been on one single summer vacation with their families their whole lives. And yes, even tell them about the kids who may sit in their own calculus class-kids whose drug-addicted parents couldn’t care less about them and what they went on to do in the future, a girl who lost a parent in an overseas war, the homeless boy in the first row who lives out of his parents’ car while you just bought your child a brand-new one to drive to her part-time job, school and her various and sundry social activities because she couldn’t possibly share a car with her sibling! What kind of parent would that make you?! (GASP!)

My son is only 10 now. I will read and re-read this until he turns 18 and beyond as a reminder. I am by no means an expert in parenting but I hold the firm resolve that my husband and I will do our best to make sure our son does not end up in college-depressed and/or on something-or-other because he cannot cope. Kids entering college need more than good grades and they need more than adults telling them that the world is their oyster and to believe that they “Rule the City” when they have not done anything to rule well, anything. They need to be equipped and informed. And some of us as parents are doing a God-awful job of this. It’s no wonder they are “depressed” when they have no tools to cope, no concept, no perspective, no understanding and no consideration for any one other than themselves. And for all the “tolerance” we preach! If we as parents teach them what they are clearly not learning in schools, they may not see their lives as so bad when they get to college and have a few hiccups and we could collectively prevent full-on-psychiatric-disorder-mode. Just saying.

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4 Comments
  • Wfjag says:

    If my future, after graduating with an impossibility large student loan debt (which thanks to the largesse of the BHO Dept of Education is a debt owed the US and so non-dischargable in bankruptcy), with a degree in victim studies or some other subject that has no market value, while considering the wall of government regulations which smother any attempt to open a new business, and meanwhile running into those people I looked down on in High School as not smart enough for college who went into the trades, or got teaching or nursing degrees from the inexpensive community college and so are debt free and making a decent living in a career with a future, while my future is living on a couch in my parents’ basement and working part-time, no benefits, minimum wage jobs as a barristia or in fast food or a call center– I’d be depressed and anxious, too.

  • Ellen says:

    I teach high school to kids ranging from the children of pro athletes to kids who live in trailers. It is amazing to me how must helicopter parenting goes on from affluent parents. They give their kids the newest latest everything and the results are not the ones they desire. These kids have entirely separate and secret lives hidden on those smart phones. And these same parents wouldn’t DARE to invade the privacy of their children. As a result their kids get in trouble and these same parents will lawyer up to blame everyone except themeselves and their child. I sat in a parents meeting where the student told me she shouldn’t have to do assigned work she didn’t want to do. She stated that she wouldn’t be much good at what she did if she “accepted” work that was beneath her. I responded by saying everyone had to do this particular work in school and often as professionals because everyone has to pay their dues. The parents immediately told me how wrong I was and how they raised their children to be anything they wanted. I wish her much good luck because if she pulls that at the elite school she’s attending now, she will be out on the street under academic probably by Spring.

  • […] Victory Girls Blog: Fifty Percent of All College Kids Have a “Psychiatric Disorder”. Parents: It’s YOUR Fault!. […]

  • Lisa Carr says:

    Wow. I agree that a great deal of this attitude comes from kids in middle class-affluent families. Noticed it first-hand. It is the teachers’ fault, the administration’s fault. No one understands THEIR offspring like they do. (Snort.) Sadly, teachers who do not buy into this new way of thinking (every one gets recognition despite whether they put the work in or not) have become jaded and ambivalent because if they attempt to give the kids a dose of reality, they have crazy parents coming after them and sensitivity training that discourages them against reprimanding or penalizing these students. As a result, they throw their hands up, talk about it in the staff room and shake their heads about it. Their hands are tied. It’s sad.

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