I quote from my local paper, and it inspired my article today. The quote originated in The Washington Post as, “More than one-third of teen girls experience depression, study says,” and attributed to Ariana Eunjung Cha. Almost three times as many girls as boys are involved.
“The idea that children can be depressed is something that has only been recently accepted by psychologists. As recently as the 1980s, adolescents were considered too developmentally immature to be able to experience such a grown-up affliction. Today most scientists recognize that children as young as 4 or 5 years of age can be depressed.”
I lack the specific educational credentials to venture deep into childhood depression. However, this is obvious. The now-popular, well-intended, but depression-causing self-esteem movement in schools, homes, and churches ignorantly produces the opposite of healthy and under depressed kids. It goes contrary to the inborn natures of both sexes and shows educational authorities to be unknowing. They move society in the wrong direction, or we wouldn’t have a depression epidemic. Consequently, I write about the motivational effects of raising kids to avoid depression.
Boys and girls are born different. Different parents have different methods. News stories often describe the criminal results of inferior upbringing. Politically dominated bureaucrats seek to discredit parental authority. Teachers are trained to believe they know better than parents, and so adults disagree about what’s going on and who should do what to fix it. Combining those inputs, both the cause and solution of childhood depression came to mind several years ago. Experience since then confirms it.
Part II describes simple solutions. The causes lie with adults who misunderstand a child’s inborn motivation for self-development. Both parents and teachers interfere rather than encourage, assist, and promote. They all do so from their own poor upbringing, lack of knowledge, and acceptance of popular notions. It takes adults to screw up kids.
Both sexes are born to get their way with self and others. Life is a process, and determination to get one’s way is paramount in childhood too. Kids pass puberty convinced of their ability to determine events in their life, or they pass with less. Those who have less are the most vulnerable to depression. The question becomes, how do some children retain their determination to govern their lives, while some don’t?
The answer lies in fulfilling responsibilities, achievements in their own eyes, getting to produce and judge the results, and perfecting their own style and technique as they learn more, and as they progress through the years before puberty.
Children are little adults in many ways. They develop themselves just as we adults continue it throughout life. By adult expectations, they may not know what they are doing, but immaturity is no roadblock to them. More importantly, they have a mature level of determination to achieve what they want out of their present or future situation. To them, it justifies what they are doing — however wrong in the eyes of others. As the result of using determination to get what they want, it upgrades their self-confidence, self-worth, self-image, and self-interest. All of which confirms both their self-determination and the self-esteem hardwired in their brains in utero and infancy.
Destroy or even weaken that determination to pursue self-interest as they see it, and the foundation of depression is laid. Much like adults throughout life, they are self-motivated to pursue and protect their self-interest—perhaps undeveloped but theirs nevertheless.
By using authoritarian methods to correct children, parents weaken the child’s determination that they are in the right, which forces them to redefine their self-interest, which weakens self-motivation, which weakens their initiative, which weakens their energy to act, and which forces them to find satisfaction with themselves by doing little or nothing. The foundation for depression hardens quickly under those pressures.
Lacking energy to achieve little encourages kids to think about what they want but can’t have or produce, which focuses thoughts on regrets and the past, which downgrades present thoughts about doing something they want or need, which neutralizes self-motivation, which leads to doing little or nothing, which brings on the doldrums of thoughts rather than the actions of doing something, which focuses them on wanting emotional relief, which introduces them to figuring that something outside home and family may relieve their anxieties, which makes them susceptible to others who may lead them into drugs.
In god-awful, dumb, and misguided attempts that lay groundwork for future depression, parents and teachers manage child development at the individual level. They don’t assign responsibility, or they usurp individual development. The don’t discipline the least possible—by child’s measure—to get their messages across. They aim at developing a great child instead of a good adult.
They do a child’s school work, impose no grading, see that each child passes, and provide awards for participation. Doing so denies children the ability to both achieve and judge their results. Every child must be alike, which is contrary to the individual spirit developing in each child.
A child loses faith in his ability to self-develop because parents and teachers try harder and impose more of the wrong things, and then behavior problems begin. To accomplish anything of worth to the child is better for self-development than doing nothing. It’s also a good habit to brighten teen and later years. Contrary to adult-think, unearned gifts and making life easy do not improve self-esteem. Furthermore, it weakens self-confidence, -image, -worth, -interest, and -determination.
Robbed of personal responsibility, children lose opportunities for girls to earn and confirm self-importance and boys to earn and confirm self-admiration. Lack of responsibility teaches girls they can’t figure out how important they are compared to others, which weakens their self-love, prevents earning self-respect, and leads directly to depression. No responsibility teaches boys that what they do is less than admirable; it leaves them too without a work ethic.
A child who does little or nothing growing up will sooner or later be plagued by depression. Responsible actions throughout childhood breed a determined form of self-satisfaction, and it builds a foundation against depressive pressures.