America’s culture has produced a strange dichotomy.
That is; affluent kids appear starved, though not in the way you may think. We’re not talking about food or water. We’re talking about a completely different form of starvation.
Around the world, kids are starving to death from poverty, while many American kids are choking to death from affluence and everything that comes with it.
Why Are Affluent American Kids Starving?
Although affluent children have full bellies, rooves over their heads, and comfortable clothes, many of them are missing something even more important. Many American kids are starving for attention.
A large number of kids in affluent families are left wanting when it comes to the attention they need from loved ones. This includes their parents, siblings, and even extended family. Too often these individuals are too distracted with their own lives and responsibilities to provide their kids with the attention they crave.
This lack of attention is leading many of these starving children on a hunt for ways to cope.
In many poor communities and third-world countries, kids have swollen bellies and flies constantly buzzing around their heads. They are doing all they can just to stay alive.
All while our American kids struggle with depression, self-harm, over-indulgence, entitlement, and the highest teen suicide rate in the world. And as they seek comfort and brainwash themselves with earphones that routinely buzz their heads, they too have swollen bellies. But it’s too often from gluttony, not starvation.
What these kids are starving for is their family’s time, love, and discipline – along with something legitimate to worship.
A lack of these life necessities leads many children, especially teens, to make poor decisions. Many young people turn to alcohol or drugs as a way to cope with their stress, depression, or anxiety.
How to Help Kids that Are Starving for Attention
Some of the most common causes of kids starving for attention are jealousy, loneliness, low self-esteem, and neglect. It can happen because parents or guardians aren’t providing their kids with the time they need to feel loved and cared for. But it could also be because the children haven’t been taught how to communicate their needs in a calm and direct manner.
Here are a few ways to help kids who are starving for attention.
Once you realize that a child is craving attention, be empathetic and caring as you listen to their needs. Avoid pointing the finger at them and blaming them for not being more open with you sooner. Instead, hear them out and work together as you find new ways to connect on a deeper level.
Set Clear Rules
Many children crave structure just as much as they desire attention. Make sure your kids have a set routine that will help them stay on track. At the same time, ensure they understand the rules of your home and what is expected of them.
Whether it is with care or consequences, parents must be consistent with their children. A lack of consistency breaks the barriers of rules and structure, leaving them with pieces they don’t know how to put together. Be consistent in the time you spend with them as well as with the rules and discipline you apply to them.
Spend Time Together
The greatest thing a parent can do for their children who are starving for attention is to spend quality time with them. This can be anything from a game night or a walk to a family vacation. Avoid spending too much time in front of a screen together. Instead, be intentional with the time you spend with your kids.
Keep Your Kids Well-Fed Physically and Emotionally
When you think of starving kids in America, the result is two-fold. There are those who are starving for food. And those who are starving for attention. As parents and guardians, we have a responsibility to cater to both of these needs.
If you have a teen that is starving for attention and you need extra help, consider the options available at Shepherd’s Hill Academy. Our therapeutic boarding school provides students with the care, compassion, and attention they need. Learn more about our program today!