The Problems Youth Face #86


Kids These Days: Issues Facing America’s 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.
– Suicide of Megan Meier
– October 17, 2006
– Committed suicide after she was bullied and rejected by a boy she had grown close to on Myspace
– “Josh Evans” was actually a work of fiction being controlled by Lori Drew, 48
– Mother of Megan’s former friend
– Reportedly thought that Megan was spreading rumors about her daughter




-1 in 5 school age children and young people (6 to 19) in the U. S. has obesity.
– 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




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