Parents’ political views are having an adverse effect on their teenagers’ mental health, causing “persistent sadness or hopelessness,”, especially among girls, according to a new op-ed published Saturday.
“American teenagers are having a tough time. Teenage girls are having a particularly tough time. According to a recent CDC report, nearly 60 percent of U.S. teen girls experience persistent sadness or hopelessness, double the rate of boys,” researcher and essayist John Mac Ghlionn writes in the New York Post.
“In 2021, said the report, 30 percent of teen girls seriously considered committing suicide — up nearly 60 percent from a decade ago. What is going on? Why have young people suddenly become so disillusioned?” he asks.
Ghlionn, who has a doctorate in psychosocial studies, went on to point out that we are told social media is to blame. But that’s not the whole story and parents are ostensibly at fault for a great deal of the problems being experienced by teenagers today.
“Children do not raise themselves — and the attitudes and ideologies of their primary caregivers have a profound impact on their mental wellbeing,” he asserted.
“This includes political ideologies, which experts now conclude can directly shape how a child sees the world. And liberal parents appear to be creating a generation of left-leaning and deeply disaffected children,” the author astutely posited.
Ghlionn went on to quote a mainstream study that proves his point.
“Consider a recent study out of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology. Released in December, the research – which focused on the intersections of gender and politics – revealed that teens who identify as liberal are much more likely to be unhappy than teens with more conservative views,” he noted.
Around 2013, another thing happened. What have we done to make our kids unhappy?
From the research paper: https://t.co/gU3KEDF2O3
"The politics of depression: Diverging trends in internalizing symptoms among US adolescents by political beliefs" #mentalhealth #youngpeople https://t.co/2HjbzeRDOF pic.twitter.com/naoLgth1TY
— MoshangUSA (@MoshangUsa) March 1, 2023
“According to the report, female adolescents are more likely to be liberal than male adolescents. And liberal girls are the most prone to depression. How prone? Between 2010 and 2018, they noted, symptoms of depression rose by more than 50% for ‘female liberals,'” the author shockingly added.
He then went on to state that liberal boys saw lower increases in depressive behaviors. The numbers, however, were higher than conservative girls. It turns out that conservative boys had the lowest increase in depressive symptoms. They were roughly half that of left-leaning girls.
“All teenagers are getting worse, it seems, but liberal teens are getting worse at a much faster rate,” he contended.
The authors of the study were unable to say exactly what the cause of these teen troubles is. They suggested that variations in “worldview” may ultimately be to blame. But a progressive view seems to inherently be more of a downer for everyone marinated in it.
“Progressives, today, are more likely to see the U.S. as an inherently racist, unjust place. It’s harder to feel positive about the world if you fundamentally believe it sucks,” Ghlionn continued.
“Of course, teens do not develop ideologies in a vacuum – again, social media is hard at work here. But even though nearly all U.S. teenagers – of nearly all beliefs – are now on social media, most manage to remain relatively mentally fit. Which is where parents come in,” he said.
“Because, more often than not, teens adhere to the political beliefs of their parents – particularly mothers, according to research from political scientist Grant Michael Armstrong. That’s bad news for children whose parents lean left,” the author explained.
Superb report by Jonathan Haidt putting in context recent CDC warning on mental health of girls. Turns out it’s young people who bought into woke orthodoxy. Conservatives were fine. https://t.co/UT6KkgEP9F
— Mike Gonzalez (@Gundisalvus) March 9, 2023
“People with conservative political attitudes tend to have better health than their liberal counterparts, largely because the former place greater value on personal responsibility,” Scott McGreal asserted in Psychology Today.
Ghlionn referred to a recent Pew survey that shows there is a connection between progressive beliefs and compromised mental wellness. Especially among white people. Over 60% of white respondents who consider themselves to be “liberal” or “very liberal” evidently have been diagnosed with mental issues. That’s over twice the rate of conservatives and three times that of moderates. Another study from academics at Harvard and Cornell shows that Democrats are more likely to be mentally unwell than conservatives.
The author goes on to expound on some possibilities for why that is.
“While the differences can be explained by left-leaning types more likely to seek out health care, research also suggests behavioral factors. The most compelling is religious affiliation and practices, which are more common among conservatives and can act as a sort of buffer against depression – particularly among religious teens,” he put forth in the op-ed.
“And of all the mental health problems plaguing American teens, depression appears to be one of the more severe. Rates of depression were rising long before the pandemic. And again, social media is certainly playing a role,” Ghlionn charged.
And it’s not just teenagers that are mentally hurting. Their leftist parents are as well.
“But, so too are parents. According to a report by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), parents with mental health issues – particularly mothers – are to have children with higher levels of mental health issues. And as that Pew study revealed, in the U.S., liberal women are the most likely to be dealing with mental health issues,” he went on.
“There’s also evidence that all those neurotic ‘helicopter’ parents are, unsurprisingly, creating neurotic children. Indeed, like height and intelligence, neuroticism is simply a trait that can be inherited,” Ghlionn stated.
The author concluded the piece by remarking that young people should be allowed to decide for themselves what ideologies are right for them.
“There are both genetic and environmental components to depression. And teens seem to be most impacted by this intersection of nature-vs-nurture. True, left-leaning families appear to be producing more depressed teens. But allowing young people of all political persuasions to affirm their own ideologies isn’t just a necessary right of passage, but a path to keeping them mentally fit and stable,” Ghlionn admonished.
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