Wednesday, April 18, 2007

This Is Depressing

U.S. has best depression money can buy
By Julie DeardorffMcClatchy-Tribune News Service
Published Tuesday, April 17, 2007

America is one of the richest countries in the world. It's also one of the worst industrialized places for kids to grow up and has a greater percentage of depressed people than impoverished, war-torn nations do, according to two major studies.

The first finding comes from a recent UNICEF child-welfare study that measured everything from the number of books in the home to infant-mortality rates, drinking and drug use and the percentage of children who eat meals with their families.

Of 21 wealthy nations surveyed, the U.S. ranked second to last. Child well-being was highest in the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and Finland, places that invest heavily in their children. (*As we Americans file tax returns this week, let's consider what we are getting for our money . For every dollar we pay in federal income taxes, 36 cents goes toward past and present military spending.)

The problem isn't just that, compared with the European countries, the U.S. lacks day-care services and has poorer health and preventive-care coverage, which has left 9 million children without health insurance.

America finished dead last in terms of infant-mortality rates, vaccinations, the percentage of newborns with low birth weights and deaths from accidental injuries. We finished second to last when the researchers assessed a child's diet, physical activity and weight, exposure to violence and bullying and the number of 15-year-olds who smoke and drink and have sex.

And, in what could explain why we're among the most depressed people on Earth, according to a study of 14 nations conducted jointly by the World Health Organization and Harvard Medical School, we finished second to last when researchers examined relationships with family members, friends and family structure.

American children often don't eat the main meal of the day with their parents. Children say they don't spend time "just talking" to their parents. And they generally don't find their peers "kind and helpful," according to the study.

It shouldn't be a surprise, then, that 9.6 percent of Americans suffer from depression or bipolar disorder, according to the WHO/Harvard study, that binge eating or drinking is up or that children are medicated heavily for depression and attention-deficit disorder.

In material goods, American children have it all. But to make them feel loved, cherished and supported, they need family, community, and meaningful cultural traditions -- all things money can't buy.

*I added this sentence from Sojourners as it seemed fitting to the discussion.


Blogger Layla (aka Barbara) said...

You're right...this is very depressing and very sad. Thanks for sharing it even though it was hard to read, because its so true.

10:33 PM  
Blogger Buford said...

Well then isn’t it time that parents stepped up to the plate? We are all products of our environment and the main environment we learn from is home life. Not school, not our friends, not our clergy, not government institutions. Can we expect young people to know what is best for them? Of course not. Isn’t it time to stop working so much? Isn’t it time to quit feeling guilty for reprimanding our children? Isn’t it time to take back control of our children? Part of the problem is many (of course not all) parents think they are their children’s best friend when in reality that is not the case. Do you as an adult have best friends that are that young? In most cases no we do not.

If a child is depressed 2/3 of the blame can and should be placed on the parents. If a child is defiant and combative 2/3 of the blame should be placed on the parents. If a child grows up to unhappy and/or unproductive 2/3 of the blame should be placed on the parents. Even in cases of mental illness the parents are responsible for getting the child the help he or she needs. What about the other 1/3 of the blame that portion of the blame rests on the individuals shoulders.

Why place blame, because blame helps us to find correlation and causation. Also, guilt is a great motivator and if we instill into parents young and old that they will be held responsible for their children’s happiness and success they may be more apt to step up to the plate.

Finally, and probably the most important reason America is having this problem is that in my experience I see adults miss behaving more than children. What do we expect to happen to our children? I say again we are all products of our environment.

I can definitively say that I am not my son’s best friend. When asked how did you raise such a good kid, I most of the time reply I was firm, fair, and flexible, however, many times I had to simply be an asshole.

Remember, you have control not the children. And, they see, hear, smell, taste, feel, and learn everything from their grown-up counter parts.

One more point, blogs, writings, discussion boards, pretty words are nice but not the answer. These are simply band aids for an infected wound. Action, responsibility, and example are far more important. Remember time is of the essence because if parents don’t start early it will be too late. And don’t believe it’s never too late because at some point in time it will be.

9:16 AM  
Blogger anonymous julie said...

And yet this, too, is in perfect order.

Leaves one at a loss...

5:48 PM  
Blogger Jon said...

Very interesting. Tommy, could you provide a link?


7:09 PM  
Blogger Buford said...

No offense Julie, but in my opinion, “perfect order” is a cop-out. Your belief in “perfect order” more than likely but not definitively manifests out of the fact that you probably live safely, comfortable, with a roof over your head and friends/family that love you, which is wonderful. However, not everyone has the security, luxury, and/or the time to see the world in “Perfect Order.” Think of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. You can only contemplate life once you have your basic necessities. Otherwise, all your time and energy is spent looking for those necessities. i.e. it’s only your perfect order.

1:13 PM  

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