FOR THE LOVE OF RELATIONSHIPS – Addressing a national crisis

The rate of teen suicide in Colorado increased by 58% in 3 years, making it the cause of 1 in 5 adolescent deaths. Add this to the fentanyl crisis and teens are in peril. Scouring journals and research, this list emerged as to root cause issues.

Single Parent Households:  Since the 50’s the number of single-parent homes has consistently increased to an alarming rate. A Pew Research Report outlines that for the first time in American history, 25% of children live in single-parent households. This has economic implications as single-parent households are under-resourced which often has deleterious effects on mental and physical health, educational attainment, and involvement in higher rates of risky behaviors for adults and children.

Drugs and Alcohol Abuse: Opioids, meth, marijuana, and binge drinking and now fentanyl is at epidemic levels for adolescents. Young people are checking out and getting high. This is damaging to the growth and development of the teen brain and will affect the quality of life and future health and success of these children.

Kids Growing Up Too Fast: Access to the internet and to the sexually saturated culture is stealing the innocence of the youngest among us. Unless parents are hyper-vigilant, it is hard to keep this material at bay. Children are also isolated from face to face healthy relationships and express that they are lonely and alone which makes them at risk for sexual exploitation. 

Violence and Bullying in Schools: In many instances, especially in low income, urban settings, schools can be a war zone. There is mean-spirited behavior, gossip, bullying, and even serious violence. There are school shootings, stabbings, fighting and suicides. 

Materialism and Entitlement: We live in data a society that values material possessions and consumerism. We go into debt to get the things that we want. Research indicates that the average credit card debt for most Americans is at least $10,000. The value of get it now, pay later, is being passed down to children. 

Childhood Obesity: According to CDC, 20% of children are obese. This can result in low self-esteem, depression, and other health concerns.

Educational Disparities: The rich are getting richer and the poor, poorer. Without a proper education and life script, children living in poverty or in under-resourced communities will be unable to compete in the job market and global economy.

Shifting Economy: Loss of manufacturing jobs and automation with technology is shifting the workforce into the service industry. Service jobs are being outsourced. If service jobs are in the United States, they usually command a lower wage to compete with the overseas employee base.

Poverty: Poverty is a social determinant of health. Hunger, homelessness, violence, crime, substance abuse, academic failure is all related to poverty.  

Civic Disunity and Erosion of National Pride: Not saying the Pledge of Allegiance in schools and kneeling during the National Anthem are symptoms of a much larger problem. Not knowing basic civics and the rights afforded to us by God (endowed by our Creator) puts the next generation at risk of being controlled by big government.

The Center for Relationship Education (CRE) is poised to build a national collaborative effort to address these issues. Money is available through the ColoradoWorks and other national welfare programs.  Three out of the 4 welfare goals are met by CRE initiatives:

  • reducing the dependency of needy parents by promoting job preparation, work, and marriage
  • preventing out-of-wedlock pregnancies
  • encouraging the formation and maintenance of two-parent families.

Let’s work together to help children thrive and flourish by addressing this national crisis. joneen@myrelationshipcenter.org