Giving kids no autonomy at all has become a parenting norm — and the pandemic is worsening the trend

Teaching children independence breeds confidence and social skills. Why aren’t we encouraging this?

Dr. Robin appears in an article published on

the pandemic is worsening the trend Pre-Covid pandemic, “college campuses [were] overwhelmed with kids coming in and asking for help,” says Joanna A. Robin Ph.D., co-author of “The OCD Workbook for Kids.” Young Americans reported higher levels of serious psychological stress, major depression, and suicidal thoughts in the late 2010s versus the mid-2000s. At some schools, it can take months for a student in distress to be seen, and that was true before the pandemic increased rates of anxiety and suicidal ideation in adolescents.

Dr. Robin, a member of the Anxiety and Depression Society of America who practices in White Plains, New York, says scientists haven’t yet teased out how much of this rise is attributable not to an increased incidence of mood disorders but to an increased awareness of them (and decreased stigma).