September 20, 2006

It's Okay to Color Outside the Lines

As children we learn the discipline of coloring within the lines. Our parents encourage us to do the best job we can do; their message of "Do a good job" sometimes sounds more like "You need to be perfect" to a young child.

There is so much pressure put on children to perform and achieve at the top levels, to look like a model, to be as good as so-and-so, to display exemplary behavior.

Check out the information in Kids Health:
"Everybody worries. Grown-ups do it and kids do it, too. But what do kids worry about? KidsHealth wanted to know, so we asked 1,004 kids ages 9 to 13. Here's a list of the top 8 worries:
1. grades 2. looks or appearance 3. problems at home 4. being liked and fitting in at school 5. being out of shape or overweight 6. the future 7. being a failure or disappointing loved ones 8. freinds and their problems

{...} and more:
"Looks and appearance are another major worry among the kids we surveyed. Overall, 43% of kids said they worry either every day or every week about looks. Girls were more likely than boys to worry about this (39% vs. 30%), but plenty of boys are concerned with their looks, too. In a related worry, nearly one-third of kids said they worry every day or week that they are out of shape or overweight. Another 28% worry every month or once in a while, and 40% said they never worry about this."
Some adolescents are sadly caving in to the pressure in their lives and turning to eating disorders.

In Keep Kids Healthy:
"Anorexia nervosa is a common eating disorder that usually begins at the age of fourteen or fifteen, with another peak in incidence in eighteen year olds. It is more common in adolescent girls (affecting almost 1% of adolescent females), but it is also found in boys and its incidence has been increasing. Anorexia causes an overwhelming fear of being overweight and a drive to be thin, leading to a restriction of calories that can lead to being underweight. Teens with anorexia may also have bulimia nervosa, with a loss of control and binge eating, followed by purging behaviors."
So this is why I say it's okay to color outside of the lines. Not just the kids. All of us.

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