-Kids are increasingly self-medicating to deal with the pressure. Forty percent of high-school students report using marijuana (up from 31 percent in 1991). In college, 40% percent of kids under age 21 report “binge drinking”—having five or more drinks on one occasion—in the last month.
-Kids also take prescription medications to cope. I can’t find official figures, but consensus among college administrators, who get counts from their health centers, is that at least a quarter of students are taking prescription drugs for depression and anxiety.
-Thirteen to 24 percent of high school students cut or injure themselves deliberately. Self-injury is a distressingly common way for kids to express emotional pain and relieve stress and anxiety.
-A quarter of college-age women binge-and-purge to “control their weight” (binge eating and then vomiting is a sign of the eating disorder bulimia). Anorexia is the third most common chronic illness among adolescents, and eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.
-Kids are increasingly depressed, perfectionistic, and committing suicide. A nationwide survey of college students at two- and four-year institutions found that nearly 30 percent of college students felt “so depressed that it was difficult to function” at some time in the past year.” About 10 percent of college students have thought seriously about committing suicide or have made a plan to do so.
When we pressure children to achieve, we cut them off from their sources of inspiration, their passions, and their natural curiosity. They don’t grow up to love learning but instead are schooled in how to game tests and make the grade. This does not make their lives meaningful, or happy.
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Via Dimitris Tsantaris