Tuesday, April 26, 2022

 Hidden Threats to Our Children

Parenting Excerpt #3


Many American parents today are losing control of the social lives of their children. Children today are being exposed to serious dangers coming from the internet and social media.


The following excerpt shows how children are distracted from family life and the proper influence of their parents in acquiring social values. Many children today are vulnerable to peer groups, deadly drug sources and even child molesters posing as children. Facebook recently did a study indicating that teen girls may have higher incidences of suicide caused by Instagram.


(Excerpt from Parenting According to Nature)


“Take another candid photo or a short video of a typical family sitting at the dinner table, if you can ever catch them all there. When you examine the photo or video, you will probably not see an image of a happy family enjoying dinner together and conversing with each other. What you are likely to see instead is about half the family looking at and furiously texting on their smartphones—while sitting together at the dinner table! They seem to be totally uninterested in members of their own family. I will return to this mismatch between our brains and our technologically distracted culture in the how-to section.

For all the above reasons that threaten our happy lives and the very existence of our nation, we must prioritize education for survival in rearing our children, very much like what prehistoric hunter-gatherers did for their children. We are not so special or better than early humans we sometimes disparage as “cavemen.”


Harmful peer groups can have an impact on our children

Millions of young people are attracted to social groups that often have their own cultural norms that are contrary to a healthy culture. Some peer groups dabble in crime, form dangerous gangs and are destructive to society. Many parents and school authorities seem to be unaware of the powerful influence of peer groups on our children until bad things happen that can be lethal or that can seriously damage a young person’s chance for a healthy and prosperous life. The epidemic of street crime in many major cities is produced by a subculture of young people that have created their own dysfunctional culture right under the noses of parents and public officials. In addition to the damage caused to young people from high poverty communities, there are many young people from economically advantaged families that can easily get influenced and have their lives threatened by the drugs and violence and even sexual predation generated in these dysfunctional sub-cultures.


 As I was writing this, there was a news report that during the same time that 700,000 Americans died of Covid-19, 100,000 mostly young people died of drug overdoses. It seems that many of the victims had no idea that lethal amounts of fentanyl had been added to recreational pills they were taking. Why would young people today trust the word of drug dealers that these drugs are safe? Parents and school health programs should provide intensive training programs to teach our children the dangers of taking any unnatural substances into their bodies. These unnatural substances include opioids, methamphetamine drugs, unnecessary pharmaceuticals, and even highly processed fast foods. These issues that are critical to good health should be addressed in a redesigned health and physical education part of the school curriculum.


The only time we should allow our children to be actively involved in peer groups is when we as parents are monitoring these contacts and are certain that these groups do not pose dangers to our children. Some peer groups that are beneficial for instilling positive cultural norms are those organized by religious communities as a way of providing valuable cultural training outside of the formal school setting. Church groups of teenagers and preteens are often effective in providing children with values that include generosity, social good works, healthy group exercise, and creative expression such as choirs, sports, and values education. One of my grandchildren participated in a church group that spent a couple of weeks each summer working in a Habitat for Humanity project. Both valuable social skills and work skills were learned.”


My book: Parenting According to Nature accessible here on Amazon does a lot more than sound an alarm to modern parents about losing control of the social lives of their children. It gives parents a practical how-to guide for building strong bonds with their children and guiding them to appropriate religious and social development. It includes suggestions for the development of healthy cultural values that will ensure that children develop productive careers and healthy bodies and minds. Please consider this new approach to rearing healthy, happy children.