CLIP: The number of children suffering from depression is on the rise and more needs to be done to care for them, according to health experts. New NHS guidelines said that children as young as five are showing signs of depression and nearly 80,000 children in the UK are living with the mental illness. Cyber bullying, pressure from social media websites and the breakdown of the family unit are behind the thousands of young children with mental health problems, according to experts.
On reading the article below on mental illness and depression in children; some other thoughts of why this is happening came into my mind. Does anyone else remember the days before “health and safety”? [Which I jokingly refer to that b****y elf who seems to be lurking round every street corner nowadays waiting to interfere and be the fun spoiler? The days before the "elf" when children like myself wandered the fields and explored, or played football in the streets, when hours and hours were spent simply playing, exploring, interacting with other children, developing social skills, blowing up chemistry kits for the sheer fun of it, getting stuck up trees and when scrapped knees, bloody noses and the like were hallmarks of having had a good day? Danger was part and parcel of growing up, and after that life itself...and we learned mostly, thankfully...to get ourselves out of the scrapes we got ourselves into...and learned to do it differently [better] next time? We even ate blackberries straight off the hedge…heaven forbid…not washed! We ate unripe apples and got the tummy ache [and more]…and we are still alive! In those days communal parenting meant that we could not get away with diddly squat…anyone else’s parent was entitled to tell you off, and if your parent did not see you doing something wrong you could guarantee your friends parent would! In those days, ‘strangers’ were not dangerous except to your smarting bottom as a result of them telling your parents what you had been up to!
When I raised my 5 children, we lived a farming life, in the countryside and they had much the same childhood as I did. They played in the harvest fields, built straw bale houses, explored hedgerows, went on bike rides around the country lanes, had their own friends that they met up with, played with and a huge amount of freedom…to simply be children.
Now I have 8 grandchildren, soon to be 9. They are kept in the safe small handkerchief sized confines of the back garden, with a trampoline and expensive games console for amusement. All other activity is “organised” which essentially means paid for…so the parents hardly see each other as they pass like ships in the night, one comes in from work and the other goes out for their shift. All in the name of “providing the best for their children.” The said children are not allowed to walk anywhere on their own, cycle anywhere on their own, or walk to friends houses on their own, let alone explore, because of “stranger danger”. Building dens or scraped knees are almost viewed as a “health and safety issue”! I am convinced that despite our living for hundreds of thousands of years on this planet, young parents now see Nature as needing a detailed “risk assessment” before they will allow their precious darlings to interact with it in any way…[and even then only under supervision of course.] Everything that was called being a child is now considered to be a health hazard with rules and regulations dominating what was once the most carefree time of our lives. All this lack of “alone” time means that they expect entertaining all of the time…what sort of adults will they become? What will they do when they experience loneliness for the first time? They already seem to be quite vocally expert at expressing their “boredom.” when said parents are not providing “entertainment.” When are they going to get given the chance to discover what lies within themselves?
I would suggest that because children in UK are now almost kept like prisoners in their own back gardens, and not able to roam freely and explore and get themselves in and out of danger like our generation did…that they are showing symptoms of being caged in…and the loss of childhood which should be one of the most expansive times of ones life…where life skills are learned whilst having fun and freedom, is now a repressed life sentence akin to a prison sentence, only to be replaced by slavery into work when one gets old enough. Heaven forbid that they should ever get a taste of freedom hey?
Children are being more and more squeezed, their joy and dreams and imaginings are being diminished, their lifestyles resemble prison sentences, the expectations of them say more about their parents hopes and wishes than they ever do of their own, and in many ways it seems to me that they are now considered almost like some accessory, bought and paid for, and expected to perform. The notion that children are beautiful free souls who are here to live their own lives is a notion that is almost outdated and outlandish nowadays.
Yesterday an article stated that only 2% of families in Great Britain sit down together for a roast dinner on a Sunday anymore and most families eat on their laps watching…yes you have guessed it…TV. Well as their eyes turn square and the “entertainment” is provided in an endless stream of Orwellian propaganda that demands nothing of the passive viewer except a willingness to be brain washed and not think, question or discuss…what happens to creative imagination, dreaming, hope, ideas, original thought? And don’t even get me started on Facebook, Twittering and the like!
If we carry on like this, humanity probably will become extinct…the minute something in our carefully constructed little world goes wrong…few will have the clues and skills needed to think around the problem and come up with a solution. And problem solving is one of most basic lifesaving skills. I shall now climb happily off my soapbox and spend the rest of my day problem solving, being creative just because I can and giving thanks for all those scrapes I was allowed to get myself in and out of as a child!