• Are The Kids Crazy?

    February 26, 2024
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    I hear it over and over. People talking about how bad this generation is. They don't want to work. They have no respect for others nor themselves. They can't face reality. They don't know what gender they are. They're violent.

    "It's clear," people say. "Kids nowadays are crazy."

    I suppose if you look at the news of the day and get on Tik Tok or Instagram for any amount of time, you could come to the same conclusion. Take a look at the teen suicide rate, use of anti-depressants, and countless other mental health factors, and there is no doubt that something is terribly wrong with our young people.

    School districts including our local system, are hiring mental health professionals as quickly as possible. In fact, it seems that recruitment of mental health professionals and school psychologists is almost as big a priority as recruitment of teachers. Nationally, the percentage increase in school based mental health staff is astonishing.

    And yet, school districts are being told it's not enough.

    Personnel shortages are among the leading factors that limit schools' ability to effectively provide mental health services to students. Many schools do not meet recommended ratios for psychologists to students (500:1) or counselors to students (250:1). Going into the 2022-2023 school year, 19 percent of public schools have vacancies for mental health professionals. Among schools with these vacancies, 84 percent reported it will be somewhat or very difficult to fill these mental health positions. -Raise the Bar: Mental Health and Wellbeing | U.S. Department of Education

    What is equally interesting is that schools/government officials will give you many different reasons for this. Many will tell you that is because of the Covid Pandemic. Others will tell you that it is because of influence of social media that causes kids to feel like they are inferior to others and disconnected from friends. They also cite the bullying that can happen on social media that will extend the effect into school hallways. Others blame it on parents who are too busy to spend time with their children. One site says that the problems are due to "gun violence." The final reason is that children are being denied the right to adopt their true "gender" based on their feelings.

    Each item taken on its own may contribute to the problem. Some of them are on the list for political reasons.

    But, unfortunately, it's not the true picture. The reason is much more insidious.

    In her upcoming book, BAD THERAPY: WHY THE KIDS AREN'T GROWING UP author Abigail Shrier discusses what is actually causing this epidemic of mental illness in Generation Z.

    From the summary on Amazon:

    In virtually every way that can be measured, Gen Z’s mental health is worse than that of previous generations. Youth suicide rates are climbing, antidepressant prescriptions for children are common, and the proliferation of mental health diagnoses has not helped the staggering number of kids who are lonely, lost, sad and fearful of growing up. What’s gone wrong with America’s youth?

    In Bad Therapy, bestselling investigative journalist Abigail Shrier argues that the problem isn’t the kids—it’s the mental health experts. Drawing on hundreds of interviews with child psychologists, parents, teachers, and young people, Shrier explores the ways the mental health industry has transformed the way we teach, treat, discipline, and even talk to our kids. She reveals that most of the therapeutic approaches have serious side effects and few proven benefits. Among her unsettling findings:

    • Talk therapy can induce rumination, trapping children in cycles of anxiety and depression
    • Social Emotional Learning handicaps our most vulnerable children, in both public schools and private
    • “Gentle parenting” can encourage emotional turbulence – even violence – in children as they lash out, desperate for an adult in charge

    Mental health care can be lifesaving when properly applied to children with severe needs, but for the typical child, the cure can be worse than the disease. Bad Therapy is a must-read for anyone questioning why our efforts to bolster America’s kids have backfired—and what it will take for parents to lead a turnaround.

    I highly recommend Shrier's book. Her previous book, IRREVERSIBLE DAMAGE: THE TRANSGENDER CRAZE SEDUCING OUR DAUGHTERS was excellent and although a hard book to experience, an easy book to read.

    The book is available on Amazon.

    In August of 2022, an article on Radio Free Oxford, "Destabilizing Children: Are Schools Conducting a "Psy-Op" on Our Kids?" described the program. The article was about the concerted effort in the public schools to alleviate mental problems among children while actually promoting them. Here is a portion of that article describing a grant our local school system received from the Federal Government:

    It's important to understand that the schools are being bought and sold. At a recent school board meeting in our area, the system touted a new grant. Here is how it is described:

    Talbot County Public Schools is one of three school districts in the State of Maryland to be awarded a Maryland Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education II (MD-AWARE II) grant by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE). The purpose of the grant is to develop a comprehensive, coordinated, and integrated model for advancing wellness and resilience in educational settings for school-aged youth. 

    TCPS will use these funds to expand the school district’s Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) framework to provide sustenance for social, emotional, and behavioral needs of students.  This initiative places a strong emphasis and priority on mental health services.  The goals of the program may include but are not limited to: access to mental health, mindfulness, trauma informed, wrap around, parent navigators, teacher consultants, behavior specialist, Youth Mental Health First Aid training, and restorative practices. This is a 5-year grant for $300,000 per year, pending continued available federal funding.  Planning has begun for the expanded services to begin in early 2021.

    Sounds great, doesn't it? Who would turn down 1.5 million dollars? Also, this grant promises better behaved students, more mentally stable students, and a kinder, gentler school system that will solve the mental health issues of the children. The school system did a video with Principals proclaiming how great the program was, how it helped with discipline, etc. No one could question the great things happening because of this testimony. Except there's a catch. One is shown in a clip of a Kindergarten teacher doing mental health exercises with her class.

    The short clip shows a kindergarten class where a teacher asks how many of them are "sad today." They ALL raise their hands (some after they check out what everyone else is doing), so the teacher tells them to lay on their backs and "belly breathe." They are taught to embrace their sadness, put it aside, and "self-regulate." One needs to self-regulate in order to prevent disruption to the group. No doubt that children will eventually be evaluated on this ability. At the very least, teachers will be evaluated on their abilities to deliver SEL (social emotional learning). (Special Note: This is part of the "social emotional learning" component of a kindergarten class. Social Emotional Learning, or SEL, is the government's way of teaching children the values of the government, not the parents and families. It is a way to separate kids from the beliefs of their families. “It’s one thing to direct your own moral, ethical, and emotional development or that of your children,” said Jane Robbins, co-author of “Social-Emotional Learning: K-12 Education as New-Age Nanny State.”  “But having a government vendor or unqualified public-school officials implement an SEL curriculum based on coffee-table psychology is quite another.”)

    The teacher here doesn't have ill intent. She is doing what she thinks is right for kids. If she can teach them to suppress and ignore their emotions and intuition, life will be better for them and her, right? Not necessarily.

    This program, like so many other government programs, is built on a slim layer of good intentions and visions. Unfortunately, when reality hits, the program won't deliver and in fact can do harm to children.

    The intent of the program is better behaved students, more mentally stable students, and better academic progress. Sadly, this is not what is happening. Last year, bomb threats and fights were rife in the system and teachers tell of students as young as kindergarten who are "out of control."

    For the system, the reward in the grant is many new counselor positions and over 400 mental health incidents for them to handle in the schools. They are pleased about since this exceeds the total cases they have had for twenty years. They laud the fact that they are better trained in spotting mental health problems. It's similar to how the thresholds on the original COVID tests were made more sensitive to find more cases of Covid, even if they didn't really exist. It's also called job security and a way to demand more money from the state.

    Stifling a child's intuition and gut feelings is dangerous. Children have to learn to trust their intuition and their parents' warnings to differentiate right from wrong, good from bad. We used to train kids that if their intuition tells them something is wrong, they need to follow that intuition. It's what helps them stay safe from predators. SEL and the accompanying mental health initiatives gets rid of that intuition and individuality. It tells students to act as the "collective" and follow the crowd.

    Two years later, the program in the district has not reduced the mental health issues in the system. In fact, the problems are increasing and the demand for mental health counselors and school psychologists has grown. (Note: Part of this is because the Blueprint for Maryland's Future demands more counselors in schools.) Student behavior is even worse than it was coming out of the pandemic. Like everything else government does, they didn't solve the problem, they made it bigger.

    Those aren't the only problems. In one small high school, a disproportionate number of adolescent girls are suddenly identifying as boys and using the boys' bathroom and locker room. Every week, we get a report from a parent about this situation and how that one small school population seems more prone to changing gender identities.

    In reality, if the kids are "crazy" it's because the adults made them that way. The adults are the ones who present suicide ideation, gender ideology, gender doubt, and confusion about who kids can and can't trust. Some of these adults are well meaning but are ill equipped to help so they do and say exactly the wrong thing. In teaching we used to call it compassionate malpractice.

    They are also the ones prescribing anti-depressants, hormone blockers, SSRI's and other drugs. By the way, the drug companies see huge profits from making sure kids get these drugs at a young age. Does it matter that we don't know the long-term effects of these drugs? No. Read this article about long term effects from 2017:

    Lupron, used to halt puberty in children, may cause lasting health problems (statnews.com)

    Does it matter that these people will be on these drugs for life? No. Does it matter that drug companies are misusing these drugs for purposes that they were never intended for? See this article out of Texas:

    Ken Paxton investigates pharmaceutical companies over puberty blockers | The Texas Tribune

    The sad truth is that more of our kids are suffering mental illness, approximately 40% more in 2022 than ever before.

    Kids’ mental health is in crisis. Here’s what psychologists are doing to help (apa.org)

    The bottom line is that parents need to be aware of what is going on and be more involved with their children more than ever. Pay attention. Talk to your child. And always be suspicious and ask questions of anyone who has prolonged interactions with your children. Don't take what they say at face value and always seek other opinions.

    End Note: There are some children who desperately need mental health counseling and care. There are children who have serious mental illness. If you think your child needs help, seek out a licensed counselor/therapist and don't try to handle issues on your own. But, stay involved! Don't give up your role as the parent.



    Jan Greenhawk

    Jan Greenhawk is a former teacher and school administrator for over thirty years. She has two grown children and lives with her husband in Maryland. She also spent over twenty-five years coaching/judging gymnastics and coaching women’s softball.
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