OPINION

Too much, too young

Every parent with a child aged between 6 and 18 has a potential problem on their hands. It is a fact that children face huge pressure every day due to the large amount of information to absorb in lessons at school, numerous exams and long hours spent in extra-curricular cramming, as well as too much time in front of the TV, too much fatty snack food (a British study has shown that it makes youngsters aggressive), and high levels of insecurity and worry. In fact, 20 percent of Greek children and adolescents show symptoms of depression, destructive tendencies, learning difficulties, psychoses and phobias. As many as 115 suicide attempts occur per year (suicide is the second most common cause of adolescent deaths after accidents). Many parents underestimate the signs of depression in their children, attributing excessive aggression – or lethargy, as the case may be – to mood swings associated with adolescence. But most parents also overestimate the ability of children who are used to a sedentary life indoors to hold their own against the challenges of a stressful educational curriculum, a ruthless consumer society, and the victory of might over right at home and at school. They simply leave them to their own devices, or else push them to join the rat race, with the same conditions that reign in the adult world… And then they refuse to acknowledge the consequences of this constant exposure to such pressure…