Dad Asks If Parents Today Are 'Better Than Our Parents' Amidst Kids' Mental Health Crisis

One concerned parent wondered if current parenting styles are helping or harming today's youth.

therapist talking to teenager cottonbro studio / Pexels

A father went to Reddit seeking answers to a question that has been on his mind for quite some time. He wrote into the subreddit r/parenting, wondering about the differences in parenting styles from one generation to the next.

The dad asked if parents are actually doing ‘better than our parents’ amidst a widespread mental health crisis affecting kids today.

“I’ve been struggling with something,” the 40-year-old father said. He explained his belief that “we are doing [a] better job as parents than our parents did with us… even my parents seem to agree we are better parents than they were.”


According to how he sees modern-day parenting, “we seem to be more emotionally available, more present, have more authentic relationships with our kids, and certainly seem to understand emotional and mental health better than prior generations.“ 

closeup of child cryingPhoto : Karolina Grabowska / Pexels


The dad noted the extreme effects of an “anxiety and mental health crisis in our youth.” According to his experience as a parent, “many teens seem unable to build close friendships successfully.” He described the teens he sees as “awkward, [lacking] confidence, [and] full of anxiety and depression.” 

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Despite being ‘better than our parents at being parents,’ the dad questioned why so many kids seem affected by the mental health crisis in the US.

“Often it seems bullying is at least as bad as the prior generation. Focus on the superficial seems to be as strong as ever, maybe worse,” the dad stated. He acknowledged that his observations aren’t necessarily universal, yet he can’t help but wonder— “Are we REALLY any better than our parents at being parents?”

As one person said in the comments, “Both can be true.” They explained that while there’s “far more research available to us as parents these days… we are also raising children in the era of technology and social media.” 


Another person commented on how the increased challenges that this generation of kids seems to face inevitably lead to higher anxiety. As they see it, the current state of the world is harder than ever to navigate.

“If I was a child today practicing school shooter drills, sitting in empty libraries, watching the rise of fascism and erosion of civil liberties against the backdrop of an ongoing climate crisis that older generations seem to be responding with by saying, ‘your problem to figure out,’ I would be anxious too,” they explained.  

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According to US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, social media causes harm to kids and functions as a major cause of the current national youth mental health crisis. In a 2023 Advisory Report titled “Social Media and Youth Mental Health,” Murthy stated that “there are ample indicators that social media can also have a profound risk of harm to the mental health and well-being of children and adolescents.”


According to the Surgeon General’s report, “up to 95% of youth ages 13–17 report using a social media platform, with more than a third saying they use social media ‘almost constantly.’” 

Murthy stated that “children are exposed to harmful content on social media, ranging from violent and sexual content, to bullying and harassment… We are in the middle of a national youth mental health crisis, and I am concerned that social media is an important driver of that crisis – one that we must urgently address.” 

Openly acknowledging the mental health crisis in the US is the first step to taking action to solve it.

While it seems that there aren’t necessarily simple solutions or quick-fix answers, the very fact that there are parents like the dad who posted on Reddit, shows that people truly want to create a better world for their kids than the one that currently exists. In a world that often feels hopeless, parents can offer their children hope by validating their experiences and holding space for the wide range of their emotions, all while loving them through their struggles. 


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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers parenting issues, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.