What worries young Australians?

One of the aims of the BGS wellbeing program is to equip the boys with some resources to help them manage any worries they have. (Mindfulness is one of these powerful resources.) Another is to encourage boys to seek out help when they require it; traditional notions of masculinity – involving stoicism and ‘putting on a brave face’ or ‘sucking it up and being a man’ – need to be challenged.

Of course, despite these aims, boys do worry. As parents you probably have a good handle on what your son worries about and how you can help him deal with these worries. However, you might be interested to know a little more about what is worrying young Australians today.

Recently, the ABC did a survey of 47,000 Australian children between the ages of 6 and 18 years. The results are published via an interactive website that is worth a look (click here). I found the differences between what girls and boys worry about to be of interest. I also discovered that what boys (and girls) worry about shifts as they get older.

For example, concern about ‘your body’ increased quickly for boys from the age of 14, with boys aged 18 more likely to worry about their bodies than girls of the same age. The most common worry for boys aged 10 and older was ‘your future’. 70% of 13-year-old boys worried about schoolwork; 79% of 17-year-old boys worried about family; and 63% of 18-year-old boys worried about ‘being different’.

Finally, it is fascinating to learn who boys tend to turn to for help and how this changes as they mature. Boys are more likely than girls to turn to a parent for help but, as boys (and girls) get older, they are less likely to speak to anyone. As a society, I think we still have a way to go if we want to fulfil that aim of normalising help-seeking behaviour in young men.

Please take a little time to have a look at this website and consider how it might apply to your son, and how we, as parents, can continue to guide our boys as they grow and equip them for a successful future.