Children suffering from “eco-anxiety” over climate change

Experts say that children are increasingly suffering anxiety and grief about climate change. British psychologists have reportedly advised parents to discuss the issue in an age-appropriate way. Adults must accept young children’s fear and offer them support in taking positive action, stated a group of psychologists and researchers who formed the Climate Psychology Alliance.

“Children are saying things like, ‘Climate change is here as revenge, you’ve messed up the climate and nature is fighting back through climate change’. There is no doubt in my mind that they are being emotionally impacted... That real fear from children needs to be taken seriously by adults,” said Caroline Hickman, a member of the teaching staff at the University of Bath and a CPA executive.

A worldwide youth movement was led by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, demanding action on global warming through weekly “Fridays for Future” protests. If adults refuse to acknowledge the fears children have about climate change then they start feeling “betrayed and abandoned”. Parents should educate the youth with facts about climate change and offer them opportunities to do something proactive by joining a campaign group or by monitoring what they take in, said Hickman.

"A lot of the time adults want to protect children from frightening things, but if we protect them too much then we are actually lying to them," she said.

According to the American Psychological Association, they were aware of the growing “eco-anxiety” in children, but research was required to be conducted to know how common it is. Russell Shilling, the chief scientific officer of the association said, “It would not be surprising to find climate concerns are causing anxiety in kids.”

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