FOR THE LOVE OF RELATIONSHIPS – Addressing Entrenched Social Challenges

Breakdown of the Family:  Since the 1950s’ the number of single-parent homes has increased at an alarming rate. A Pew Research Report outlines that for the first time in American history, approximately 25% of children live in single-parent households.  The decoupling of marriage and childbearing is a problem. The non-marital birth rate is 44%.  “Father absence” is a key factor regarding the health and well-being of children. These cultural indicators have 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.

Drug and Alcohol Abuse: Opioids, meth, marijuana, and binge drinking and now fentanyl is at epidemic levels for adolescents. Young people are getting high and checking out.  This damages 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 the sexually saturated culture is stealing the innocence of the youngest among us. Unless parents are hyper-vigilant, keeping this material at bay is difficult. 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, depression, and even suicide.

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, and mob brawls.

Materialism, Entitlement, and Inflation: We live in 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 getting it now and paying later is being passed down to children.  Inflation is making it harder to pay our debts.

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 a life script, children living in poverty or under-resourced communities will be unable to compete in the job market and global economy. Without a life script to follow, these disparities get passed down from generation to generation. 

Shifting Economy: The 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, and academic failure are 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) and the National Alliance for Relationship and Marriage Education (NARME) are poised to build a national collaborative effort to address these issues. Money is available through ColoradoWorks and other national welfare programs.  

Three out of the 4 welfare goals are met by these 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 families, adults, children, and communities thrive and flourish by addressing these entrenched social challenges by rebuilding and strengthening families. joneen@narme.org