Saturday, September 20, 2008

10 Stressors

As if it isn't hard enough to raise a kid or be a kid, modern society creates and influences a lot of stressors that affect the daily upbringing of children:

1. Finances- a financial crisis (or a poor economy, like our current situation) affects children. In fact, the financial status of a family is almost like a domino effect; it works it's way into other stressors of a family.
2. School- The academic importance of our society effects a family: whether or not a child can handle the requirements put on them and how much assistance a parent can provide for their children. In addition, the school is not the only influence that stresses academic importance. Each family holds a different level of significance on the importance of education.
3. Extracurricular Activities- Many American families after school/work time and weekends are filled with soccer practice, ballet class and flute lessons, etc. Just as with school, society and families place an importance on these activities to "build" a child into a successful member of society.
4. Marriage/Divorce- The nature of a marriage and or separation of the caregivers in a family unit greatly affect the daily lives a family. Whether or not there is a two person household, single parent, mom and grandmother, children seeing their parents every other weekend, etc. change the nature of a family and the development of a child.
5. Neighborhood/Community- The location of a family can be an added stressor as well. As it's been seen in the Kotlowitz reading, the neighborhood that the children live in affects how they get to school, the kind of children they hang out with and how they grow up. Whether the neighborhood is one like in There Are No Children Hereor something similar to The Beverly Hills, the pressures to fit into the community become a stressor to a family.
6. Siblings- The relationships between siblings and one another and siblings and their parents is another stressor for families. The pressure siblings sometimes feel to be better than one another or to gain attention from their parents creates stress for a family. These relationships often become a bigger stressor when in coordination with pressure to do well in school, sports, etc.
7. Careers- In our modern society where two parents often both hold careers, a stressor lies in finding after care for children, job transfers and maintaining a strong family relationship.
8. Media- As has been covered in the textbook, the media greatly affects children. The need to be popular, up to date on all the new technology and listening to popular music while wearing the latest fashions affects a family when those items cannot be purchased, or kids are not accepted by their peers without them. A child's need to belong affects the relationships in the family when they are unhappy.
9. Health- When a family is crippled by an illness, accident, or disease many facets of the poor health become a stressor for a family. Whether or not good health care is provided or the worry about whether the family member can get treatment, cures or recovery add stress to every relationship in a family.
10. Finally, another stressor for a family is addiction. This does not affect all families but the addiction of any family member to nicotine, alcohol, drugs, gambling or even lesser addictions like food, a hobby or T.V. alter the relationships husbands and wives have, kids have with their parents and that they have with each other.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A product of the 90's

Despite my sheer love for 70's music, I am a child of the 90's (born in 85.)
I grew up with sitcoms like Home Improvement, Titanic as the favorite movie in junior high and every girl wishing she had front row tickets to an Backstreet Boys concert.
However, unlike the kids that are only a few years younger than me, I can remember years that excluded computers, cell phones and MP3 players and were filled with trips to Kinkos to type reports, 50 cents in my pocket for a phone call and listening to Walkmans like they were going out of style (who knew they really were?!)
With the extreme influx in technology over the past 15 years, I know that every generation has dealt with it differently. While generations before me may see it as shocking and slightly cumbersome, the kids ahead of me see it as a daily part of life. (There are eight year olds with cell phones!) As a product of the 90's I've had the ability to look at technology in a slightly different way. I think I'm slower to take it for granted because I can remember a time when I did not have access to The Deceleration of Independence in cyberspace. On the flip side, I was young enough to learn a lot of the technology quickly and integrate into my life so that I knew how to e-mail, blog and properly research before heading off to college.
All of this technology makes it easy for a kid of the 90's to access her favorite N*Sync tunes while on the treadmill and to stay in touch with friends by "poking" them on facebook. More importantly, as a child of the 90's technology effects the type of leaders the 90's will produce. People my age learn how to stay informed, discuss opinions and build networks that will make us stronger leaders in education, business and politics.
With this mass amount of technology at the new generation's fingertips, I worry about the type of problems it may create. Some may wonder what kind of problems are created for this group of 2000's kids...
All of this technology gives us the mentality that more is better right now. This mindset allows us to cure more diseases, talk to relatives far away and create fuel efficient cars. But what is often glossed over is an underlying issue that connects all these advances- too much too fast. I fear that kids of the 2000's will face this issue more than kids from my decade will. Someday in the not too distant future, these eight year olds will lead the country in all areas of study. They will be faced with steeper climate changes, more landfill waste, less oil, more dependency and fewer natural resources- including food and water. Unless the status quo is adjusted these kids will face these problems with little to no effort from previous decades. Although technology gave us great joys, the children on the current decade will be only seeing technology's unfortunate burdens.