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KidsPoll: What Kids Worry About


Most parents are well aware that preteens worry about looks, schoolwork, and fitting in. But you might be surprised to learn that what preteens worry about most is the health of loved ones.

A new KidsHealth KidsPoll surveyed 1,154 kids ages 9 to 13. More than half the kids ― 55% ― said they worry "almost all the time" about the health of a loved one. For preteens, that concern surpassed worries about the future (43%), schoolwork (37%), and looks or appearance (37%).

Worry about the health of a loved one ― whether it's a parent, grandparent, sibling, or a pet ― is a concern kids often experience. But the KidsPoll showed that 23% of kids surveyed said they talk to a parent when they worry. So while kids might worry a lot about loved ones, parents often are likely to be unaware of those concerns.

A Natural Worry

It's natural to worry about those we love. Parents can certainly relate. Several factors may help explain why these worries are so often on the minds of preteens:

* Growing awareness. Preteens are exposed to a flood of new safety and health information ― in the classroom, in the community, at home, and in the media. They learn that people should use seatbelts, wear a helmet, eat healthy foods, and not smoke. They hear about things like heart attacks and strokes, cancer, and AIDS. They learn about the dangers of excessive drinking, drug use, and inattentive or reckless driving. As kids learn to be mindful of safety and health, they can feel more vulnerable and might worry about the health of those they love and depend on.

* Personal experiences. Some kids have parents with chronic health conditions, serious illnesses, or stressful life circumstances. Some have siblings or other relatives who are affected by health problems. As they mature, preteens become more aware of death, and they may begin to think about the health and mortality of parents or grandparents. Some have experienced a personal loss or know someone who has. If they hear about a loss they can relate to, it's not unusual for kids to worry whether they'll lose a loved one, too.
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Categories: Tweens, Children, Feature Stories,

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