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What Do Kids Worry About Most

Life is a dance. Each of us creates our own rhythm and steps. Bright kids are often fiercely independent and strong-witted. They will certainty weave their own magic.

What Do Kids Worry About Most

The power of parents to shape the lives of bright kids is considerable. Host bright kids I've worked with do, in the long term, follow family patterns and habits that were set up by their parents.

Thriving in the age of anxiety
In the Western world, much of childhood has become an indoor game. It is no longer the bruised-knee, bat-and-ball, hurtling-around-the-local-park game of a generation ago. Children interact electronically, multi-task, and have ways of inter-connecting that are beyond the scrutiny and sometimes even the awareness of parents.

Tempting as it is sometimes to turn off the electronics, the computers, and the televisions, I think there are better ways to prepare your children to thrive in the future. In a world that has so much to offer children, it is essential to work out what is of benefit.
The current generation of young people is in many ways the most well-informed, privileged, and protected group of young people in history, yet they seem to derive little satisfaction or inspiration from it.

To misquote P.G. Wodehouse, while they are not exactly disgruntled, it is fair to say that they are far from "gruntled."  

Their generation
In focus groups, I ask young people to describe their generation. This is what they regularly say.

  • Little respect for elders
  • Reliant on technology
  • Indecisive
  • Self-absorbed
  • Short-term view 
  • Less trusting 
  • More active 
  • Less mature 
  • Loose morality 
Now you may think, haven't adults been complaining about younger generations in this way since time immemorial? You may well be right, but I think there is now an added twist: many young people are growing up in a world of fear and anxiety. Uncertainty about world safety definitely resonates with them. The fact that they have grown up in a world that emphasizes information but doesn't value experience highly helps to amplify this.

The young people most likely to be negatively affected by this wave of anxiety are bright kids. Bright kids are reactive: they react to being told to do things, to parental requests or demands, to anger and conflicts. Whatever is going around, they can react to. The life skills helped bright kids to dance their own dance rather than marching to the drum-beat of others.
Are bright kids worriers?
With all the bluster and determination that bright kids have, it can be easy to miss the fact that many of them are anxious. In fact, their anger is often a disguise for anxiety.

About one in three kids habitually worries. Worry in a Dare Devil kid may not be a bad thing, but if there's too much worry, these kids won't try out new behaviors, or they'll give up and won't attempt anything they think might be difficult.

Forceful kids are often very sensitive to where they are in the pecking order of life. Constantly assessing where you are in relation to others destroys self-esteem and builds jealousy and a fear of failure. This type of measuring can lead to self-absorption, alienation and isolation.
What do they worry about? 

What kids worry about changes as they grow up. Little kids worry about monsters, supernatural creatures, and separation from their parents. Early primary-school-age kids worry about safety and sometimes their ability to do well at school. Later in primary school, the worries shift to the peer group. In the teenage years, schoolwork is a major source of worry for many young people.
Separation anxiety
If a child asked you, "Will you be coming back home today?" I guess an honest answer would be, "There is a 99.9 percent probability that I will return, but if some awful accident happens .... " No one would alarm a child by giving this type of answer. Kids need to feel safe and secure that their parent(s) will be there for them and continue to be so.

Some kids worry about being separated from their parents. In some cases this means they don't want to go to school and attach themselves to a parent. As early as possible in this process, it is worth thinking, "How do I help my child feel secure that I am staving around?" To find out more, you can check out What Do Kids Worry About Most.