The medical director of the Child Center at Rogers Memorial Hospital appeared on public radio on Friday, Nov. 18 to talk about the way many children are feeling an increasing pressure to achieve.
Appearing on the news magazine Lake Effect, Dr. Stephanie Eken said that many of the children she works with are in upper elementary or middle school and they tell her they are overwhelmed and worried about their future.
The Child Center treats children between age 8 and 13 with anxiety disorders and school avoidance, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), mood disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), disordered eating, Tourette syndrome and other tic disorders, trichotillomania and other multiple and complex cases.
“Chronic daily stress is more profound than we would have seen in the past,” said Dr. Eken. “Today’s kids are say they feel over-scheduled, not just in school, but in many aspects of their life.”
Dr. Eken said that because today’s children tend to be scheduled into structured activities, they may miss out on developing skills required to succeed in situations without such structure.
“They miss out on what we call free play. So they don’t necessarily learn to navigate social situations where they have unstructured free time. Children, through play, learn how to socialize with each other; without that, they really miss out on developing that part of their personalities.”
You can listen to the entire 13 minute conversation with Dr. Eken on WUWM’s website. For a free screening, call 800-767-4411.