Anxious and stressed, many Australian parents feel overwhelmed with the worries of day-to-day life. But our children – despite youth and innocence – share the same problems.
Sadly, one in four Australian kids say they worry about the future constantly. In frank and funny, but sometimes heartbreaking conversations, children and teenagers aged 12 to 19 talk about the pressures they face for a news program to air this week.
Children from all backgrounds talk about their hopes, dreams and fears on ABC TV’s Four Corners and list bullying, peer pressure and family break-ups among the reasons they’re so stressed out.
“Doing well in school, getting a good job and providing for a family, if I have one,” says Zach, 12, when talking about his biggest concerns for the future.
The program also explores the rise of self-harm and attempted suicide by talking to those who have made it to the other side.
Alisha, 18, says people forget that they have the ability to make that change and “they don’t have to feel so alone in the world.”
Ethan, 15, tells how he felt the need to lose weight and the fit bodies of his friends made him feel “like cr*p” about his own.
“When looking at like, stuff online, I see lots of pressures from other people to do what they’re doing, be like them, but then I have to calm myself down and think – wait, I’m unique, I’m myself,” Teresa, 16, says.
And from Liam, 15: “Fathers tell boys to, you know, suck it up… but it does all add up eventually and you can just crack.”
The program also shows how peer pressure and bullying is being “supercharged” by social media. Take a look at a preview of the episode here:
The Our Kids episode will air on Four Corners on Monday, November 16 at 8.30pm on the ABC.
For more information and to find support, visit Beyond Blue.