Understanding that Children Can Suffer Just as We do

As individuals, we have to listen to what others are feeling and thinking, resisting the urge to dismiss another’s feelings. This is one of the underlying issues that our world is experiencing currently with mental illness; people are so quick to ignore someone’s cries for help from either not believing them or just out of sheer desire to not involve themselves in another’s problems. There is a core problem of lacking empathy in this world, causing people with a need for help to be ignored or not taken seriously. It is present for all of us to some degree, but it is more noticeable with the youth of the world. So many people are quick to disregard a child’s emotional turmoil as just an immature reaction. We are likely to believe that there is some form of fallacy in their emotions just because of the fact that they are a child. As a result, these kids can be left without the help or support that they need, making the situation far worse than it ever needed to be. 

The Centers for Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in every 6 children ages 2 to 8 suffers from a mental, behavioral, or developmental disorder. They also estimate that 1 in every 6 kids ages 6 to 17 experience a mental illness each year. This is a very high number, and yet, so many people are quick to write off a child as being immature or not fully developed. What we don’t realize is that these issues for them are very real and deserve just as much attention as they garner when adults suffer from them. Some people would assume that if a child is suffering from a mental disorder, they can work through it. As they get older, their growth and maturity will help balance out the issues they are having. This is a false narrative in many cases, and leaving a child to deal with a mental disorder on their own can lead to even more debilitating issues as an adult. These problems can be treated in children, and in doing so, we can help their future. We don’t have to shrug off their issues and create damage for the rest of their lives just because they are struggling. We need to be ready to help them so that they can overcome these issues. 

Just because it is a child being afflicted doesn’t mean we can’t approach treatment in similar ways. Yes, age can necessitate a slightly different approach than with an adult, but they are still human, and we need to treat them as such. We can identify the signs of a mental disorder in a child just as we would with an adult. If a child is experiencing poor school performance, persistent boredom, frequent complaining of physical ailments, over/under-sleeping, behaviors associated with younger age (bedwetting, tantrums, etc.), aggressive behavior, or a higher amount of risk-taking, these are all signs that a child may be struggling with something. Instead of addressing these things as a wrong that has to be made right, we can approach it with love and support. They are developing, and may not know what is going on. Life is confusing for children and we can’t belittle them for just experiencing something we all have felt. We can be there for them, offering love and support through their struggle. We can let them know that we are here for them and help guide them towards a path of recovery. Therapy is available to children and can be a great tool for them as introducing an adult who isn’t their parent or family member can be a great influence in their life. Their youth and age do not limit their options for getting better, and we can be there to help find those options. 

Children are so often viewed as an almost entirely different species when in reality they are the same as us, only they are still developing. We have to understand that they struggle as we do and need help just the same. Don’t disregard a child’s emotions because you think they are too immature to deal with something; there are very real problems that they need help with. We can give them the help they need to find help, and we can support them just as we do with adults. Mental illness is not selective with age and we can’t let that fact slip away. Love them just as you would your friends, and give them the support that they need. Children are our future, and we can’t let them down by ignoring them. 

If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with anxiety or mental illness, do not hesitate to contact the team here at True Recovery. Our program, founded in 2014, is built around finding what’s best for you to overcome your addiction. Our facility is located in Newport Beach, California, with our supportive housing located close to our campus in Costa Mesa. Take advantage of the local beaches, nature preserves, and Orange County community while we fight for you. Contact us at (866) 399-6528 or [email protected]