I have no idea how to start this particular blog as it’s not really “fitness” related, it is all interlinked if you think about it, but ultimately the point I would like to discuss is mental health.
Ross and I watched a Netflix movie called “it’s kind of a funny story”, we stumbled upon it purely through seeing the guy from the hangover featured in it (the one with the beard who’s name I never can remember).
It was all about a young lad who committed himself to a mental institution after considering suicide and there were nuances throughout from the other characters, that it was almost laughable that he was even in there. There was a theme throughout which made his issues seem inferior, irrelevant, unimportant and the long and short of it, childish. He didn’t have adult issues, real world problems.
It got me really thinking about mental health today and it actually made me really sad.
Mental health is becoming more and more open, although still not to the point where people discuss it openly. It’s still quite a taboo topic that often keeps many people from sharing their feelings, their emotions, their struggles. But so many people do suffer with mental health and often they do so alone. Especially children.
It worries me how much the innocence of childhood is being taken away from our young ones. Children are being brought up as the most important people in the household, and yet, when they have genuine struggles, they’re trivialised, they’re just kids right?
It stems from all the things that bother me about kids nowadays, say in comparison to what I was like… I wore shell suits and sweatershop sweaters with neon cycling shorts and was always outside, now girls are wearing shorter and shorter skirts or fitted jeans and crop tops and are shopping or in each other’s houses playing with expensive make up. Kids are becoming more and more overwhelmed by what they look like and how they dress, they are discussing their weight and how they feel fat from around 8 years old instead of when they hit their mid-teens. When at school we had a uniform and it was only year 6 when we were allowed to wear trainers for school and this was the starting point of being judged for what brand of trainers you had on, it was bloody awful!!! I remember I was asking for trainers and got a pair of Adidas Galaxy trainers which I thought were cool at the time, until most others were rocking up in Nike air Max with funky laces, I immediately disliked my adidas Galaxy trainers from then on but had to continue wearing them. It makes sense now that when we’re looking for trainers for Jake and Dex, we always end up discussing our own trainers from school and that we never want them to be in that position, but is this in itself causing a problem? The fact that we buy certain items for our kids to prevent them from feeling a certain way and having a certain image of themselves that is inferior like maybe we did as kids?
Kids look to the likes of Little Mix and try to mimic their dance routines (which I think we can all agree are adult themed) but it seems weird to see a young girl gyrating around instead of jumping around at a party, but this is what they feel they need to be doing to fit in, to be cool… but then again, we were all mimicking the Spice Girls routines in the junior school yard and arguing over which one of us would be sporty spice (it was normally the one with the best trainers!)
We talk to kids now like they’re adults, which in some respects I agree with completely… but some things I think we should hold back on. Kids are growing up understanding and feeling adult problems, money worries, food issues, everything… Gone are the days when kids get fed exactly what the parents are eating regardless of what they “like” and so many kids have very limited nutrition and often this leads to weight gain (combined with their inactivity because of games consoles and the fact people don’t feel it’s safe to let their kids play out in the street anymore)… and then there are the kids who mimic their parents dieting traits, kids start yo-yo dieting, hiding foods in their bedroom… chances are if you’re an overweight parent your child is going to grow up exactly like you and face the emotional and physical effects that you do right now, but from a way younger age.
Everything revolves around what they want to look like, what they want to wear, what they want to be when they’re older… these are all adult pressures and I believe it’s mentally destroying them. We aren’t allowing kids to be kids, to go outside, explore, get into trouble… all the things we all did as kids… and I understand we want to protect them, but it’s having more of a negative impact than I think anyone realises. Half of the things we’re trying to protect them from, they’re finding online anyways, but we can’t completely wrap them up in cotton wool, surely it would be better for them to be playing in the street and fall from a tree or a bike once in a while than finding some form of warped killer baby video on youtube…
I can’t even begin to think of what can be done do rectify the situations above, it seems this is the way society and raising kids is going… but I think the least we can do is support them when they feel down, support them when they feel trapped, unable to escape, when they feel they only have one way out. We have an obligation to listen to their problems, to not trivialise them because they are kids, even if some of the problems are childish, remember to them, they’re a BIG deal. Listen to them, talk it through, help them work through it. Don’t let them sink into themselves, alone in their room with the internet, TV and magazines, that are likely to just exacerbate the issue. If your child can’t talk about their problems to you, the people who they trust most in this world to keep them safe and help them, what chance do they have of talking about and dealing with their problems as grownups.