Your Children at Risk?
In todays world of fast pace and degrading priorities your children are at risk
Trying to educate young people and cater for widely varying capabilities, learning style and content is always a challenge In the education of a child, a future young adult, there are usually three primary parties to the exercise. ·
- The child
- The child’s teachers, of which there are usually many
- The child’s parents
The secondary parties to this exercise are, of course, social norms, religions, the news, and the on-line world of social media, games and a few others. In terms of learning ability there are also three important factors: ·
- Intellectual intelligence or IQ ·
- Emotional intelligence, sometimes known as EQ and ·
- The child’s biochemical environment - basically the way the nervous system is nourished or poisoned because of environment and diet.
In developing a child into a young adult, all of these factors are important, in fact it is essential that they be addresses in a balanced approach. But do you know the one key factor that has been proven by extensive longitudinal study to be THE most important factor in whether a child thrives later in life? The Harvard Grant study carefully observed and tested a sample population for over 75 years, from early adulthood through to death. The single factor that dramatically stood out above all else was whether a child had warm connected parental and social relationships.
And when I use the term thrive here I mean not only feeling good about themselves, but actual success in all areas of life – academic, income, relationships and health. Why am I telling you this? Because to most people today it is obvious there is something wrong in our society. Mental health issues, anxiety, depression and suicide are all on the increase. Greater numbers of young people are killing themselves at younger ages. People are angry, anxious and depressed in greater numbers than ever before. Communication between individuals is breaking down, as are relationships at all levels. I see these things on a daily basis.
I’m Gary Johnston – and for the past 38 years I have been a clinical psychotherapist, specializing in anxiety disorders and trauma. Over that time the incidence of mental health issues in our society has doubled. Now they are increasing at a rate of 12.4% per year, and accelerating.
There are a number of reasons for it, but in terms of key fixable items on the agenda, there are three that can be fixed, and fixed relatively easily on an individual level.
- Re-connecting, especially parents with their children. Research has shown that over 50% of people don’t feel loved, and have never felt loved, especially by their parents. I find that kind of sad, because that one key factor in a thriving, flourishing life is the ability to loved and feel loved. If we can’t even get that right, we are in serious trouble as it produces entire groups and populations of disenfranchised young people.
- Develop social empathy, or in other words, stimulate the learning of emotional intelligence. This seems to be seriously lacking in today’s society, and has filtered through our younger populations. Self-focus is very dangerous, and is one of the foundations of anxiety disorders and suicide.
- Educate everyone in the critical role of lifestyle, diet and toxicity in the development and destruction of the nervous system. A poorly maintained nervous system destroys learning ability and breeds a whole raft of mental illnesses and disorders. It changes the way we see the world and in the worst case scenario (about 7% of the population) causes hallucinations. At the moment 25% of the population suffers from a mental illness in any one year, and 50% of us will suffer from a mental illness at some time in our lives. These figures are growing every year.
OK, so how do we fix it? Initially it has to be done in a way that includes the parents and their children. It is important to lower anger levels, and create understanding that re-establishes or supports the reconnection of these relationships. It is important to teach an understanding and implementation of emotional intelligence (which research shows has an added benefit of increasing IQ by 15-20 points). And everyone needs to understand that the typical diet most kids eat, and often their parents, seriously limits learning ability and causes enormous emotional load.