How Free Play Creates Emotionally Stable Children in an Unstable World

Are you old enough to remember “the carefree days of childhood” or “a happy childhood”? Once upon a time these were common phrases, but you don’t hear them very often today. According to a recent study released by San Diego State University, there is a sharp generational rise in youth depression, anxiety, and mental disorders in the United States.

It’s hard to imagine a time in history when children were more coddled, indulged, or protected, and yet, according to this study, there are five to eight times as many young people suffering from major depression and anxiety today than a half-century ago. Obviously, children raised in the Depression era and World War II had very different lives. By all measures of today’s accepted parenting metrics these children should have been depressed or at least had anxiety issues. You certainly can’t say life was less stressful in the first half of the twentieth century. The increase in the safety and health of our children alone would bring some sort of stability by comparison, wouldn’t it?

Unfortunately, that’s not what is happening. In fact, our children have been on a downhill slide for decades.

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