Society and culture driving child anxiety – psychologist

Morning Talk 27/03/2018
Photo: Getty.

An estimated 12 percent of Kiwi kids will experience anxiety that could impact their learning and development.

A life event such as divorce, death or an earthquake can trigger anxiety in children, and can be made worse by poverty and instability at home.

Older children can be overwhelmed by growing up and learning about the world around them.

Child psychologist Dr Sarah Watson told Stephen McIvor on Morning Talk a lot of the same things are causing anxiety in younger people.

“For our teenagers a lot of the time it’s the expectations or fears associated with judgement from others."

She says for kids, primary age particularly, pressure to perform at school or being an overall achiever can make them anxious.

“I think that’s driven by parents, by teachers, by society and our culture,” Dr Watson said.

“We’ve got a culture where we’re expected to keep doing better and better and better.”

Dr Watson says anxiety is normal and healthy, but when it gets to the point of avoiding places, people or situations that they used to enjoy, that's when it becomes unhealthy.

She says social anxiety in younger people is often caused by seeing social influencers, like the Kardashians, and comparing themselves to them.

This week the team at The Project are talking anxiety. Each day the show will look at the struggles people suffering anxiety face.

Listen the full interview with Dr Sarah Watson above.

Morning Talk with Mark Sainsbury, 9am - 12pm Weekdays and streaming live on 'rova' channel 9 - available on Android and iPhone.