Different scholars have provided different ways of defining youth. Curtain, quoted in the U.N. World Youth Report 2003, and defines it as a phase when a person moves from a time of dependence (childhood) to independence (adulthood) and identifies four distinct aspects of this move:
Leaving the parental home and establishing new living arrangements;
Completing full-time education;
Forming close, stable personal relationships outside of the family, often resulting in marriage and children; and
Testing the labor market, finding work and possibly settling into a career, and achieving a more or less sustainable livelihood.
These transitions are interconnected, i.e. leaving home and setting up one’s own personal economy require an independent source of income, and to reach this stage a young person generally has to acquire qualifications and to have succeeded in demonstrating his or her skill in the labor market.
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Young people, when faced with uncertain employment prospects and financial insecurity, are likely to avoid establishing stable personal relationships, postpone marriage, and/or put off having or accepting the responsibility for children. In the absence the prospects for a sustainable livelihood, more extreme social behavior may occur, e.g. engagement in illegal activities such as drug trafficking, violent crime or gang activities. Poor economic prospects may also contribute to antisocial behavior, including exposing others to HIV/AIDS through the practice of unsafe sex.
This transition model exposes the problems of moving from one developmental phase to another. The role of youth policy in this context is to create favorable conditions for success by preparing young people for the roles and responsibilities of adulthood. It also entails the idea that childhood and youth are in themselves valuable stages of life, more than just necessary stops on the way to adulthood. Youth policy, therefore, becomes not only a source of guidance towards adulthood, but a means of providing and ensuring the requirements for a safe and productive live for children and youth. This means viewing children and young people as subjects (not objects) in every respect – not only at the personal level, but in society as a whole, participating in decision-making and the debates that surround it.
Difference between Youth and Children
Below some qualitative characteristics that distinguish children from young people and young people from adults are displayed. The table is not a blueprint on what youth is and who the young people are, but it adds some nuances to the ruder age-definition of youth.
acquire their basic values and norms during the first three years of life
are not fully developed physically (or mentally)
are in the process of developing their identity
are in a learning process
learn fast and are open to new ideas
are highly dependent on their parents or other adults
live with their parents
in most cases do not decide for themselves
are poorer that adults
often contribute to the income of the family through personal income
may not vote
cannot be charged for a crime and are not financially responsible
are at their prime physically subject to adequate nutrition and care
are in the process of developing their identity
are in a learning process
question ideas and perceptions of (adult) society
are flexible, open-minded and quick to adjust
are sexually active
most often still live with their parents, but are about to establish a family and find a place to live
compete with adults for learning opportunities and jobs
are often dependent on their parents or other adults
do in many cases decide for themselves, however not in all (e.g. economic, marriage)
are poorer than adults
often contribute to the income of the family
may have the right to vote
can be charged for a crime but are not always considered financially responsible
are fully developed physically – some (especially the elderly) are physically deteriorating
have developed their identity
are not in a formal learning process
often become more conservative as they grow older
are less flexible and quick to adjust
are in control of finances
have the opportunity to decide for themselves
are responsible for income of the family
have the right to vote
can be charged for a crim
Our kids are fat and getting fatter. Recent numbers show that 20% of American children are obese. Not chubby -OBESE! Video games, TV, the internet and fast food are partly to blame. Kids are spending more time sitting in front of a TV/computer screen than running around outside. This sedentary lifestyle has consequences. Socially, it’s no secret that overweight kids are going to be subject to ridicule from their peers – it’s sad, but nevertheless true. This can result in such issues as low self-esteem, depression, etc. Then there are the health concerns. High blood pressure, diabetes and other maladies that is associated with obesity. Psychologically and physically, obesity is an issue that can be resolved with a simple increase in activity and awareness.
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Cardio exercise such as walking is one solution. What you eat is another solution. Make better food choices; avoid or strictly limit refined (processed) carbohydrates and junk food. (If you are unsure what constitutes a refined processed carbohydrate, you can view a list further down this page under Related Questions.) Physically active and healthy food choices are the solutions to obesity.
Yoga can be tried as a complimentary approach in treating obesity. You can effectively practice various yoga techniques to help reduce weight and achieve normal health. Freewind poses help reduce the fats near abdomen, hips and other areas. The regular practice of pranayam also helps burning fats. The yoga cleansing techniques are used to shun excess fats and toxin. Yoga practice along with yoga diet is equally important. Eliminate refined/processed carbohydrates and eat more raw vegetables, fruits help in balancing the intake of the food. As per yoga diet recommendation, over ripe fruits, meats, tobacco etc. are not good for body and mind thus should be avoided.
Drinking less beer, or quitting drinking altogether, will help you lose weight. No matter who or how good looking the drinker is, beer is bad for a number of reasons. The most obvious reason is the caloric content of beer. The less obvious reasons are the inflammation of the pancreas and liver and the bloating that often accompany the over-consumption of alcoholic beverages. This includes alcohol mixed with sweet and sugary liquids like soda.
Energy balance is an essential solution to obesity. Consume only the amount of calories and carbohydrates that you need for a healthy weight and a healthy body.
In addition, get your calories from healthy foods and consume the right type of carbohydrate. Overall, the causes of obesity are an imbalanced of calories in relation to expenditure (activity, exercise), insulin resistance, and too many refined processed carbohydrates. Refined processed carbohydrates are a major cause of weight gain, obesity, insulin resistance (syndrome X) diabetes and many diet related diseases. For further information, see related questions, further down this page, listed under Related Questions.
Education is important. Few people would dispute this well regarded fact. A good education (in comparison with a bad one) will provide a child with an increased chance of taking advantage of opportunities to be successful in life. Unfortunately, some people have it better than other. This is not an issue of just one school being better than another school. Rather we are talking about whole classes of American children being denied a proper education that will prepare them to compete in a job market with their peers and have the same access to the American Dream. Disparity in educational quality is delineated by race and financial status. If you live in a poor neighborhood or are a minority, there is a good chance that the schools you attend are lacking many necessities. While Asians and Whites enjoy high graduating rates, African American and Latinos continue to lag behind. Not surprisingly, because job opportunities are lessen for dropouts, these two groups have the highest incarceration rates.
Violence in Schools
A child’s education is the foundation from which he or she will be able to go forth out into the world and build a life. Schools play a major role in this endeavor, and therefore it is reasonable to expect that these places of learning would be safe havens for the children while they are preparing for adulthood. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. In many instances, especially in low income, urban settings, schools can be a war zone. We are not talking about minor bullying, but rather serious violence. Consider that in the last decade 284 kids were murdered due to school violence – these were shootings, stabbings, fighting and suicides. Growing up is tough enough without having to be worried about being killed while going to math class.
There was a time in cinematic history where virtually every actor/actress was portrayed on screen with a cigarette in hand. Smoking, it was implied, was cool. As a result everyone was doing it, including kids. Well, as awareness to the danger of smoking increased, “cool” images of smoking disappeared. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about drugs and alcohol. These vices are staples in everyday media. Simply, drinking and using drugs is shown as being cool. The numbers bear the tale. 21% of high school seniors say they get high and 41% of the same group report drinking alcohol. Our kids are literally moving around in an intoxicated daze. Immature behavior is then amplified due to being under the influence. Drunk driving, poor grades and attendance, anti-social and violent behavior and the list goes on.
Single Parent Households
The problems begin at home. Since the 1950s, the number of single parent homes has consistently increased to the point of catastrophe. Today, 14 million single parents are responsible for 28 million children. Raising a child is difficult enough in a two parent home, especially in tough economic conditions. The situation is even direr when there is only one parent. Economically, a single parent is likely to bring less income home. This equates to fewer opportunities for such vital necessities as education. Trying to make ends meet also takes time – time that is spent away from children who need a parent’s guiding/influence. Absent a parent’s diligent guidance, children become subject to higher dropout rates, higher risk of dangerous sexual behaviors and pregnancies, higher chances of drug and alcohol abuse -etc. It truly takes a village to raise a child.
The Solution to the School Violence Problem
In these times we live in, parents lead busy lifestyles to the point of not taking much attention to the activities that their children involve themselves with in school. Most parents are content with enrolling their children in school for they know that school is a method of building their children’s future. However, cases where students harm each other occur at times and the reaction to such incidents is that they are wrong.
Drug Abuse Solutions
Drug abuse today is a major cause for concern and has a negative effect on society at large. Though students constitute a large segment of drug abusers, adults also succumb to drug abuse. There is a tendency amongst middle-aged people to abuse prescription drugs.
The first step towards combating drug addiction is to make the abuser aware of the damage it causes the body. Most addicts lack confidence and must be taught to become a master of the situation and not a slave to addiction.
There are many institutions and organizations that help drug abusers kick the habit. The support of friends and family is of prime importance. First and foremost, an abuser must be committed to giving up drugs. Doctors and counselors are a drug abusers greatest ally in the battle against addiction.
Advice for Parents and Children of Single-Parent Households
It is apparent that single-parent households, whether headed by a mother or father, have more to deal with than two-parent homes. Mothers and fathers in these homes are more stressed due to having even greater responsibilities put on their shoulders. Both children and parents in these circumstances need to be aware of the added stress that both are likely under. There are many resources and a great deal of information out there to assist struggling parents who don’t have that added support when they are without a parent or partner to share all of the important duties. There are organizations out there to help these families. Parents without Partners is an extremely well-known single-parenting support group. This organization provides single-parents and the children in these households with educational, family and recreational activities such as lectures, training seminars, picnics, and potluck suppers. Solo Parenting Alliance is another organization meant for single parents that offers access to programs that teach people to be better parents. There are numerous websites out there also meant to support single parents. One of these websites is that of Parentsplace. It hosts a number of varied sites where single mothers and fathers can get information as well as chat with other single parents. Single parents are not alone and should take the steps to better their situation given the resources out there.