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It's a common complaint among Gen-Xers and baby boomers that today's kids lack coping skills. From our viewpoint, it appears that kids have it so much easier than when we were adolescents, especially since their feelings seem to be considered more than ever.

When we went to school we remember a first, second, and third place winner for field day, but now kids receive a participation award — all in an effort to make sure little Johnny doesn't get his feelings hurt.

On this episode of Forever 39, we talk to child psychologist Steven Tobias. Tobias is the director of the Center for Child & Family Development in Morristown and has been counseling kids and families for over thirty years. He said there's no doubt today's kids are struggling with coping skills, and he blames a lot of that on the pressure they face today.

"Kids are under more stress than ever before, and so I think it's really taxing their coping skills," Tobias said.

And while a lot of people might think today's kids are just a different bunch than we were, Tobias disagrees.

"I don't think that kids have changed that much, but I think that the demands on kids have changed significantly," Tobias said.

He said kids don't just face increased demands academically, but they also face them athletically.

"We're having kids train, workout, specialize and play five days a week the same sport year-end," Tobias said.

He said advances in technology has complicated things as well as kids are confronted with social media on a daily basis.

Tobias said when he first started practicing psychology more than 30 years ago, he mostly dealt with boys experiencing behavioral problems, but now 80 percent of the cases he sees are anxiety disorders. "I've just seen an explosion in anxiety disorders."

So how can we help today's kids manage the stress they face while also making sure they get to be kids?

"What makes people happy is having fulfilling relationships," Tobias said.

He adds that not only do kids need time with the family, but there also needs to be a balance, and that includes allowing kids to have some downtime.

Do you feel like there's too much pressure on today's kids? Are parents to blame for their lack of coping skills? Email us your thoughts at forever39@nj1015.com.

Also from this week's Forever 39 podcast — Is being your friend's therapist draining you? PLUS: At what age did you feel like an adult? Click on the podcast player above to hear the entire episode. Share your thoughts on all of them below, on Twitter, on Facebook or at forever39@nj1015.com.

— Annette and Megan, Forever 39

Join us for next week’s podcast when we chat about signs of falling in love, spring road trips, and how to stop being so judgmental.

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