Youth Today

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Top 10 Issues Facing Our Youth Today

10. Single-parent households

9.   Drug/alcohol abuse

8.   Growing up too fast

7.   Violence in schools

6.   Materialism

5.   Obesity

4.   Education disparity

3.   Shifting economy

2.   Poverty

1.   Mental health

Issues facing Youth

Single-Parent Households

– An estimated 60% of kids spend part of their childhood in a single-parent family
– Most single parents are mothers
– Connection with fathers tends to improve educational performance
– Single parents often work multiple jobs
– Children receive less attention and guidance on their homework
– This may lead to behavioral and academic problems
– About 6 out of 10 children who live with only their mother are living near or below the poverty line. (According to US Census Bureau)
– Emotional effects on children can include
– low self-esteem, increased anger and frustration, increased risk for violent behavior
– Children of single-parent families may have feelings of
– abandonment, sadness, loneliness, difficulty socializing and connecting with others
– Studies show that the more time boys spend in a single-parent household, the less school they are likely to complete
– Parentification
– A form of emotional and psychological abuse
– Children are forced to meet the emotional and instrumental needs of their parent and siblings
– Parentified children have to suppress their own needs
– They do not have normal development and lack healthy emotional bonds
– These children may have difficulties having normal adult relationships in their future
– They may also develop anger problems
– Certain expectations from other adults may act as a trigger
– May have a “love/hate” relationship with parent
– Positives:
– Kids often form close bonds with their siblings, family friends and extended family
– Because kids are called upon to do more chores and tasks, they are more responsible

Violence and Bullying in Schools

– In the late 80’s and early 90’s, teen gun violence increased dramatically as teens began to acquire and carry firearms
– Columbine
– April 20, 1999
– Two boys attempted to blow up Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado
– When their bombs failed, they opened fire and killed 12 students and one teacher
– Injured 21 others
– Virginia Tech
– April 16, 2007
– Senior, Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people and wounded 17 in two separate attacks before killing himself
– Cho had a history of anxiety and depression
– 20% of high school students were bullied at school
– 33% reported being involved in a physical fight in the last year
– In one month, nearly 6% of high schoolers stayed home because they felt unsafe at or on their way to school
– More than 7% of 9-12 graders reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property at least once in the last year
– 6% admitted to bringing a weapon to school for protection
– In the US, 33 school-associated violent deaths occurred in the 2009-2010 school year
– Includes homicides, suicides, and legal interventions
– 18 of these were on school property.
– 23% of public schools reported gang presence
– The problems aren’t really being addressed
– Only 39% of schools in the 2009-2010 school year took serious disciplinary action against a student for special offenses.
– Includes out-of-school suspension, expulsion, or transfer to a specialty school.
– Effects:
– Youth and school violence can lead to depression, alcohol and drug use, suicide, anxiety, and fear
– Cyber-Bullying
– Cell-phone text messaging and e-mail provide additional platforms that support a new form of violence – cyberbullying.


– Today, about ? of American kids and teens are obese
– Nearly triple the rate from 1963
– Overweight children are more likely to develop health problems such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes
– Overweight kids may be victims of social discrimination
– Obese children are more prone to low self-esteem, negative body image and depression
– Studies have shown obese kids rating their quality of life with scores as low as those of young cancer patients on chemotherapy
– teasing at school, difficulties playing sports, fatigue, sleep apnea and other obesity-linked problems severely affect obese children’s well-being
– Society, culture and the media send children messages that girls should be thin and boys should be buff
– This pressure can lead to the development of eating orders or related mood symptoms
– Boys may start using potentially harmful dietary supplements and steroids

Education Disparity

– The education disparity affects differing ethnic origins, income levels, and school systems
– The education gap deprived the US economy of as much as $2.3 trillion in economic output in 2008
– The achievement gap between children from high- and low-income families is 30%-40% larger among children born in 2001 than among those born 25 years earlier
– College-completion rates between rich and poor students has grown by about 50% since the 1980s
– Higher college tuition rates allows less low-income students to get higher education
– Perpetuates a cycle of poverty
– Slows social mobility
– (US Department of Education announced in 2011) School districts across the US give less funding to school that serve low-income students
– Low-income neighborhoods are usually populated by minorities
– Chicago Shutdown
– May 22, 2013
– Chicago School Board voted to close 49 elementary schools and 1 high school
– 10% of schools in district
– Cite falling enrollment numbers as the reason
– Said they would save $560 million over 10 years and cut annual operating costs by $43 million.
– Critics say closings will disproportionately affect minority neighborhoods
– Will endanger children who may have to cross gang boundaries to get to a new school
– In the 100 schools that have closed in Chicago since 2001, 88% of the students affected were black
– Black students make up 42% of the city schools enrollment

Uncommon Issue Facing our Teens

According to Child trend these are the top 5 uncommon issues that are facing our teens that we should keep and eye on. believed to be just as critical as “traditional” concerns about children.

  1. Climate change. Children are the ones who will have to live in a world of rising seas, storms, and dislocation that have already begun throughout our beleaguered planet. Our children’s futures will be greatly affected by our ability to develop alternate sources of renewable energy, increase energy efficiency, and move toward a sustainable lifestyle. And the threats are not just at home in the United States, because the difficulties posed by climate change, such as crop failure, extreme storms, and severe drought, are raising the risks of war in other regions, such as the Middle East.
  1. Unplanned pregnancy. We have made substantial gains toward the goal of reducing teen pregnancy; but unplanned pregnancy remains far too common among couples in their teens and early 20s. When couples are not committed to having and raising children together (much less committed to one another), the challenges faced by the children they bear are far greater. Since many highly effective, long-lasting methods of contraception are available, it is possible to greatly reduce unintended pregnancy among young adults and teens. Being born to older parents in a committed relationship who want to have a family doesn’t magically solve children’s problems, but it sure does reduce the economic and social challenges faced by children and families. And delaying childbearing also allows the parents to obtain the education and work experience they need to get a good job.
  1. The federal budget. Our current generation of leaders has adopted a kick-the-can-down-the-road approach to important budget issues. Of course, this just passes on the costs of our inaction to future generations. Take Social Security, for example. The trust fund is going dry, despite numerous recommendations for solving the shortfall, Why do we cap Social Security contributions for high-income workers, who stop contributing when their earnings reach $118,500? Limiting the deduction for home mortgages is another move that would reduce the deficit, without reducing home ownership. In other words, there are many options; we should choose those that protect and support the elderly, but that do not leave huge deficits to our children and grandchildren.
  1. Use of data and evidence. We expect medical care to be based on solid research, but we need to extend this standard to all programs that serve children, youth, and families. Too many services and programs fail to produce results, and some actually do harm. Even programs that are on target in terms of their goals, approach, and outcomes are often implemented with such poor quality and consistency that they do not achieve their potential. If we continue to build a stronger evidence base about child and youth-serving programs, and use those data to monitor program outcomes (not just service delivery), it will substantially improve the positive development of children and youth. Child Trends’ What Works database is designed to contribute to the information we have about program effectiveness.
  1. The need for positive role models. Adults spend a lot of time lecturing and instructing children and youth. They seem to forget that children and youth learn from example as much or more than from direct teaching. Children observe the diet and exercise habits of parents; they also see and hear the loss of civility and collaboration among policymakers. Adults need to set positive examples for the next generation. It is good to support character education, but it isn’t enough. Adults also need to provide positive role models for the next generation.

In other words, while it’s important to provide specific services to children and youth, we should also recognize that children’s well-being is inextricably and powerfully linked to the larger social issues affecting our nation and the world.

Our Solution

While 50% of the problem is economics 50% is the way we parent. If we want to save our children we have to parent differently. We are creating solutions for change contact us to know more about our program.

Multimedia Resources

Click on the following links. Please note these will open in a new window.

Video Clips:

  • Motivational Interviewing: Evoking Commitment to Change
    This video provides an example of motivational interviewing with a patient who is attempting to change his diet.
  • Giving Feedback | Leadership |
    This video offers a strategy for giving feedback in the workplace and can be used as a comparison to the procedure described in the text.​

Audio Clips




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