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Abigail Shrier: Why the Kids Aren't Growing Up

Brian Kilmeade Show / Brian Kilmeade
The Truth Network Radio
February 28, 2024 12:48 pm

Abigail Shrier: Why the Kids Aren't Growing Up

Brian Kilmeade Show / Brian Kilmeade

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February 28, 2024 12:48 pm

Independent journalist and author of "Bad Therapy: Why the Kids Aren't Growing Up." Received the Barbara Olson Award for Excellence And Independence in Journalism in 2021. Her bestselling book "Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters" was named a Best Book by The Economist and The Times.

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In a recent report covering 80,000 youth globally, it found that symptoms of depression and anxiety doubled during the pandemic, with 25% of youth experiencing symptoms of depression.

5.8 million kids were diagnosed with anxiety between 2016 and 2019. Researchers at Florida Atlantic University have found that suicide rates are climbing among 13 and 14-year-olds. The study found that suicide rates for teens more than double from 2008 to 2018. And that is some of the things that this generation of Americans, maybe around the world, are going through. Why do they need so much therapy? Why are they going through so much depression? People want to quickly say, well, it's the iPhone.

It's bigger than that. Abigail Schreier writes about it. She's an independent journalist and author of a brand new book that you're going to be hearing about if you haven't heard about it already.

It's called Bad Therapy, Why the Kids Aren't Growing Up. Abigail, welcome back. Oh, thank you so much for having me. Well, I should say welcome back. Welcome back to the, I guess, the book tour, because you did Irreversible Damage.

That's right. That's the name of the book. And that caused controversy. People didn't want to hear that message.

You got canceled. Amazon said don't sell this book anymore. Yeah, you know, a lot of people were very angry, but four years later, even the New York Times is writing about it. So you know that if even the New York Times is admitting all the risks I talk about for gender medicine, then they must have been so obvious by that point that they had to admit it.

What was your approach in writing this book? And here we are a time in which we're trying to, we're seeing kids go through all these depression, psychotropic drugs, all these things. And you think it's had a bad effect on them?

That's right. Nobody has gotten more therapy than the rising generation. No one's had more psych meds. No one's had more talk about feelings. No one has had more therapeutic parenting and therapeutic intervention in school, social emotional learning.

And you know what? It's not doing them any good. In fact, I would argue it's counterproductive. It's making them worse.

What makes you think so? Because we should see, I mean, think about breast cancer. Think about anything where treatment has become more prevalent, more accessible. The rates of malady or disorder should be going down, right?

With breast cancer in 1989, when we made screening more available and more prevalent, the rates of death from breast cancer plummeted. We're seeing the opposite. More talk about feelings, more parents relying on these mental health experts is making kids sadder, focused on themselves, and it's doing the opposite of what it's supposed to be doing. So in other words, because maybe we're at a point now where we are doing so well as a country, the majority of kids do not have to necessarily struggle. We're not looking for our next meal for most kids. We're not looking for a school to go to.

We don't have to work a job at nine years old in the fields. Because of that, you think there's a big push to get kids in therapy, or do you think the therapy is in response, the depression is taking place? Great question. So the mental health experts are claiming, oh, we're just the firemen. We're just responding to the fire. Not true. They're the arsonists.

And here's why. We've been doing preventive mental health care, flooding these kids with therapeutic techniques and methods and mindfulness techniques, wellness for a generation now. No one has gotten more mental health intervention. No one's got more diagnosis. 42% of them have a mental health diagnosis. They've been in treatment now for a generation. And you know what? The self-focus, the feelings-focus, the dependence on mental health experts that parents have to raise their kids, it's not helping.

But what is it robbing kids of? Efficacy. Feeling like I can do this. I can figure it out.

I can take a risk. They're so afraid of trauma. They think they can't. They think they've been bullied. They think they've been traumatized.

These kids think they have PTSD if they get dumped. In a relationship. Right. Or if they don't, not in the top friend group. Right.

Exactly. 86% say they have menu anxiety. These kids are so saturated in psychopathology. They think they have mental disorders.

And you know what? When you think you have a mental disorder, it's not like saying, I'm a little shy. I'm a little worried.

I'm a little sad. When you say, actually, no, I have anxiety. I have PTSD. I have ADHD.

What you're saying is my brain has a problem and I can't fix it on my own. And look, there are kids. There's no question. There are people who are suffering. But most of these kids are bummed out, worried well.

They are fine. And we are over-treating them. Abigail, so you say for the most part, kids need to go through tough times.

Absolutely. They need to be the odd man or girl out. They need to go through a situation where maybe things are imperfect at home. But the way they respond and adapt shapes who they become. And you don't get that from therapy. You found out.

That's right. And you know who else you get that from? Parents who are the authority, not parents who outsource their authority to mental health experts. That is not helping kids. It undermines parents' confidence to do what's right for their kids.

And parents are in the best position to do what's right for their kids. So you talk about, too, the way the Israelis handle situations. For example, with their soldiers, you think it's a learned thing. So they go through horrific things. The IDF is going through it now in Gaza. They see horrible things. They watch their friend get blown up. How did they handle as opposed to the way we handle it?

That's right. With PTSD, the reason they have so much lower rates of PTSD than American soldiers is because they handle it totally differently. In Israel, and this just happened this week, they have a soldier who's been shaken up, who's seen something traumatic and awful like an IED or some terrible traumatic injury.

They say, listen, I know you got this. You just went through something hard. You're going to be fine. We're sending your home to your family for a few weeks to recover. But you need to know you're going to be just fine. You're going to return to your men in a few weeks and you're going to be fine. In America, they take you out of service. They tell you, here are the symptoms of PTSD. You probably have them.

You may have them your whole life. Your country did this to you. And lo and behold, they do not recover. And just this week, a woman who was a captive was returned to service. So in Israel, and that's where war and in different situations, too, is you talk about to your nine year old said at nine years old, you wanted your kid asked to walk to school. Yeah.

And she said, listen, there is a risk. You said, yeah. And you said if a kid walks to school at nine, they feel triumphant. That's right. And they'll come back at 13. It's going to be no big deal. How important is it young for them to start doing things on their own, getting chores, getting assignments, getting responsibility?

It's the most important thing because you feel like I can do when you do that. Right. I mean, here's the thing with this generation. Millennials, they found its Snapchat, Facebook, Spotify.

This generation, we're not seeing tech founders because they say in the largest numbers we've ever seen in recorded history, they say, I can't do anything to improve my life. They have what's called an external locus of control. They don't believe they can take risks. And the part of that is because we never taught them they could. We never left them the independence to do it. We made them consult an adult for everything. And very often it was an adult mental health. So an adult listen to us right now.

Yeah, my kids a mile away from school. I'm not going to let him or her walk. It's too scary. Right. Right. There is a risk. You know, they think every kid's going to get kidnapped.

Right. And we transferred our anxiety to our children. They are now saying they have menu anxiety, summer anxiety.

They have climate anxiety. We have let these kids become so frantic and so worried. And then we bring in these mental health experts as the as so supposedly as the solution. They're not the solution.

They are the worry makers and they're creating the problem. Abigail Schrier is here. But Abigail, people looking at you and I think reasonably I'm not saying I was a perfect I'm the perfect parent, but I think you're right on these things. But what backs up your beliefs?

Sure. There are a few things. First of all, independence has been used to treat anxiety really well, really effectively. But the other thing is the most effective treatments for childhood anxiety are treating the parents, often the parents and their worries and their feelings like, oh, this is above my pay grade. That's what's doing the harm.

You know what? Punishing a kid. That's not going to traumatize. There's no proof that sending a kid to his room is going to traumatize a kid or giving him chores or giving him high expectations. We know these are good for your mental health. And some of the proof of it is, you know, who did best.

There's a long term study on this. You know, who did best during the Great Depression. It wasn't the poorest kids who whose parents abandoned them or killed themselves. And it wasn't the rich kids. It was the middle class kids who had to cut back. They had to do chores. They had to take jobs after school. They not only did they have more success, less anxiety, less depression.

They were the happiest at the end of their lives. That's so interesting for them to do is because your circumstances are the era in which you grew up. Yeah. And then parents want to overcompensate for the problems they had.

Right. You talk about too, we went through a period of massive divorce in this country. So if you're a kid of divorce and you become a parent, how do you respond?

That's right. So parents think, you know, for too long we thought therapy could only help. You know, you go through a divorce, you think, oh, of course my kids needs therapy. What I want parents to know is not that therapy is never appropriate, not that psych meds are never appropriate, but that they all come with risks. Every meant, every intervention, every medical intervention, every drug, even Tylenol comes with risks and therapy does too.

And I'll tell you what the risks are because we're seeing them higher anxiety, more thinking about your feelings, more depression, more alienation from your parents, and less feeling of efficacy, less feeling like you can do things on your own. So you talk about in your book to delay the groundwork for it. Would your grandmother went through?

Yeah. Just as horrible as I'm listening to it, I heard your podcast with Barry Weiss. Listen to the story. Just most horrendous upbringing that I could imagine. Well, yeah, her parents died in child when she was in childbirth. Her mom died in childbirth, rather. And in 1927, and she was born through a poor immigrant family from Russia and she was moved around from, you know, they didn't have anyone who could nurse her. She was moved around from cousin to cousin. She often got the leftover breast milk and she didn't have a stable home until her older sister at 17 got married and took her in.

And when my grandmother was age six, so finally she had a stable home. She grew up very poor during the depression. She then got polio.

She was in an iron lung for the year. And I'm telling you, this was the happiest, most, most positive woman I have ever known. She raised, she formed a family. She met my grandfather in college. She raised three kids. She went to law school at night.

She became one of the first female judges in Maryland history. How many times she has an excuse? I excuse. I felt guilty. My mom died in childbirth. Other siblings bothering her. She also didn't get the breast milk. She had gray teeth.

So obviously might've been a little self-conscious. Then alone for a year, they didn't know how to treat this. So all these excuses for her life not fulfilling any type of potential, it wasn't even on the table. Right.

And you know what? No one said, no one said you need a session with the school counselor. No one said, maybe we need to get you an excuse so you don't have to, an accommodation so you don't have to take these exams.

No one told her that she was living with trauma and to the end of her life, it never occurred to her that she was. So if you don't, if you have a kid and you're lucky enough to be able to afford them and they, and they can go to the great schools and they do have, you do grow up with a car and when they be turned 17 to get their license, they do get a car. All these things, these are things that maybe you didn't grow up with. Should you deny your kids these things? I think the question parents should ask this that we're not asking, we're all asking, are my kids happy and how can I make my kids happier? What we should be asking is, will this make my kids stronger?

Anything that you, you know, are thinking of doing for your kids, you start with that question because the truth is focusing on happiness makes you miserable, focusing on strength, well that will ultimately be the key to happiness. And it forms resourcefulness and resilience, which you can only get from life experience. You can't get from a book. That's right. And remember, Grit was the top selling book for about a year. That's the most, that's the quality that people need most to have the most success. That's right. And they're not going to get it through therapy.

Right. A lot of the stuff I found in your book could be achieved, I felt in sports, for example, when the script goes off, if you're, you know, you're 11 years old, you're playing soccer, baseball, football, you don't know if you're starting, you might not be big enough, you're not be fast enough. The coach might yell at you for certain things. You might, you know, you just have to stay at practice. You don't get to hang out with your friends. You learn discipline, sacrifice that life isn't fair, that you have to win over coaches, find a way to win a game, when you're hurt, not playing well. A lot of that stuff in theory, you learn in sports.

That's absolutely right. But it's not going to help if they're all getting mental health days off and they're all talking about their trauma. If they are doing anything, okay, anything goal oriented, anything beyond sitting around and focusing on the self. You know, people ask me, well, what could the schools do?

You know what they could do? They could shrink their mental health staffs so that the counselors were only dealing with kids who actually needed them, not preventive mental health care, so-called preventive mental health care. And they had the kids paint the gym, do any activity, including sports. All those things would be a lot better for these kids' mental health. And the importance of giving kids responsibility. That's right. Make them have a role in the house, have a stake in the game.

You know, you're in charge. You talked about sending your kids to the supermarket. That's right. I gave them chores.

That's what I learned from the book. Those are so good for kids. You know why? Because I sent them to the supermarket on scooters with a backpack. And for the first time, they had to ask people for help. They had to, and then when they got home, they had a feeling of completion.

I can do it. They got to learn our neighborhood. And it's all, all chores are really good for kids.

So the name of the book, Abigail Schreyer's here, is Bad Therapy. Why the kids are not growing up. And the certain ages where things have to happen. If a kid is not experiencing some type of adventure and some type of risk, by the time they're 9, 12, 13 years old, they can be the kids that doesn't want to do anything. That's right. And then you factor in the iPhone on top of that, where you can live through somebody else.

That's exactly right. They don't want, by the time we, we are so frantic and fearful, by the time we let kids do anything risky or dangerous, they've given up. They don't want to. All right. So listen, a couple more minutes with Abigail when we get back, we're going to talk about what parents can do. If we find that some of the things that maybe your kid's going through right now, and you want to correct it, go get the book number one. And number two, maybe we'll give some advice. That sound good? Terrific.

All right, back in a moment. The more you listen, the more you'll know. It's Brian Kilmeade. Welcome back, everyone. Abigail Schreyer is here in studio, independent journalist and author of a brand new book, starting to be a bestseller for a long time, Bad Therapy, Why the Kids Aren't Growing Up.

And Abigail, I thought about you right away when Dr. Phil had this sparring session on The View. Like 0809 smartphones came on and kids started, they stopped living their lives and started watching people live their lives. Then COVID hits 10 years later, and the same agencies that knew that are the agencies that shut down the schools for two years.

Who does that? Are you saying no school children died of COVID? I'm saying it was the safest group. They were the less vulnerable group and they suffered and will suffer more from the mismanagement of COVID than they will from the exposure to COVID.

No one would acknowledge that. That's right. And the damage that's done when you put two kids home for two years. That's exactly right. Put masks on them. Yeah, and that's right. In the summer of 2020, when kids were heading into lockdown for a second school year, you know what that mental health experts had to say about it?

The American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association? Nothing. They came to Congress and lectured about police tactics and systemic racism and climate change. That's what they were worried about.

So let me tell you something. They're now posing as the solution to the mental health problem. They are part of the mental health problem.

And you know that New York has put aside $30 million to provide any school with the therapy they need. All they have to do is ask for it, which is going to be more of the problem according to your book. Now, do you notice the difference between how liberals handle their kids and conservatives handle these things in this environment? Absolutely.

There's a great new research out from Jean Twenge in this book Generations. And she talks about, you know, she is no conservative, but she talks, she admits that even though teen girls do the worst in terms of mental health, in terms of anxiety and depression, teen boys from liberal families have worse mental health in terms of anxiety and depression than teen girls from conservative families. Abigail, the thing is about America, this is why it's a bigger story. If we don't compete against each other, the country doesn't get better. We don't get sharper.

We lose, we win. But now you're talking about a generation that doesn't even want to get in the game. They want to sit on the couch, the therapist couch in their own couch.

That's right. Over half of them between 18 and 25, the years, you know, ages 18 to 25 are living with their parents. And this is not just, you know, we're talking about in a low, you know, unemployment time. They don't want to grow up. And the problem is they don't feel well enough to grow up.

But growing up is the solution. Did you just give me a stat? One in six kids is in some type of therapy? Between the ages of two and eight. One in six kids have a mental health disorder.

As of 2016, according to the CDC, they were already getting the diagnosis. Well, they're getting a lot of mental health treatment. And it's unnecessary. And it's unnecessary. Do you think your intentions are good?

So I do. But preventive mental health has never worked. That doesn't mean that there aren't people who need who are suffering and need it, right? There are anorexics, there are kids with severe OCD, you know, obsessive compulsive disorder, there are people who need help to deal with a phobia. Unfortunately, we are showering kids, we are crop dusting therapy across the whole population. We are crop dusting these psych meds, and it's doing the opposite. Got to read this book. If you're an aspiring parent, parent or grandparent, it's vital.

It's called bad therapy why the kids aren't growing up. We'll talk again on one nation on Saturday night. Okay. Terrific. Thank you. Keep it here, Brian. Kill me, Joe. Listen to the show at free on Fox News podcast plus on Apple podcast, Amazon music with your prime membership or subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-28 14:14:26 / 2024-02-28 14:23:11 / 9

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