October 17, 2021

The State of Our Families Part I: The Crisis

Making Memories

Making Memories

American families are in crisis. The evidence comes from the plethora of statistics produced by dozens of organizations interested in the welfare of children.

In 2009, approximately 702,000 children were victims of maltreatment/abuse. Forty-four states reported that more than 3 million children received preventative services from Child Protective Services agencies. Almost five children die every day as a result of child abuse. More than three out of four are under the age of 4. Between 60-85% of child fatalities due to maltreatment are not recorded as such on death certificates. Approximately 90% of child sexual abuse victims know the perpetrator in some way; 68% are abused by family members. Child abuse occurs at every socioeconomic level, across ethnic and cultural lines, within all religions and at all levels of education.

An estimated 10 million females and 1 million males are afflicted with bulimia or anorexia; 95% are between the ages of 12 and 25. Morality is in rapid decline; 72 million people visit porn sites each year; each year, the porn industry makes more than $3 billion in child pornography alone; the 12-17 age group is the largest consumer of internet porn. Studies show between 15 and 20% of adolescents will experiment with self-mutilation; 2-3 million Americans between 13 and 30 cut themselves. The United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the Western world and 4.4 million young women between 15 and 19 undergo unsafe abortions; between 22% and 30% of teen mothers under age 18 have a second baby within two years.

Sixty-eight percent of 8th graders can’t read at their grade level and most will never catch up. More than 1.2 million students drop out of school every year. That’s more than 6,000 students every school day and one every 26 seconds! Nearly 30 percent of this year’s freshman class will drop out of high school, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. That number jumps to 40 percent in some urban areas. The obesity rate for our kids has gone up by as much as 300 percent since 1980, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, triggering a host of health-related problems, from diabetes to heart disease. Young people account for more than 20 percent of violent crimes in the United States, according to statistics cited by Duke University’s Center for Child and Family Policy.

These facts are both alarming and depressing, because they signify a generation of young Americans who won’t be prepared to meet the challenges posed by our increasingly complex world; however, there is hope for parents who are determined to create healthy children and families despite the forces working against them. Parents and caretakers can learn principles and strategies to help achieve their goal. I have just completed a new book that will soon be published and available – BECOMING A POWER PARENT: SEVEN GUIDING PRINCIPLES FOR CREATING A HEALTHY FAMILY. The book describes in detail a process which is based upon natural laws—those accepted, expected or innate rules or directives used by healthy families that are not unlike the natural laws that regulate all life forms and systems. We can begin to learn about this process immediately.

When parents are asked what principles of life they most value, they cite freedom of choice, liberty, justice, sovereignty, peace of mind, and equality. These are all concepts of natural law and are our self-evident rights as human beings. Our children have these same rights.

As parents, we have certain powers that are directly related to the natural principles that form the foundation of safety and happiness within our unit. Our task as parents and caretakers is to acquire the knowledge and means to construct and develop—or deconstruct and redevelop—a family that understands and values safety, harmony, health, and happiness and can teach and perpetuate the positive results generation after generation.

We live in a complex and challenging world; technological advances have changed our ability as parents to limit or have knowledge of everything our children see, hear, read or experience and how they react to these stimuli. We need to become better trained and equipped to teach the value systems we hold dear and to show our children through example. If we fail in this mission, our children may, over time, intentionally or inadvertently “alter or abolish” what we currently experience as family. Someday, their new family units may be absent the principles that lead to the “safety and happiness” of their children . . . our grandchildren.

We all have beliefs that are products of our choices, intended and unintended. However, there are natural truths that don’t need “belief” as a requisite for their existence. These natural principles exist independently and are intuitive, irrespective of our beliefs. They’re Mother Nature’s concepts; the most essential ones become superordinate (at the top of the list) and the less essential become subordinate (less important). For example, we can’t live without oxygen; within six minutes, our brain cells begin to die. We can survive only 8-24 days without water, depending upon our age and physical condition, and how fast fluids leave our body (sweat, urine and tears), and only up to four weeks without food, again depending upon our weight, body temperature and our degree of physical exertion. We need all of these elements to live and thrive; however, the most essential is oxygen. It is at the top of nature’s ladder. It is a superordinate concept.

Over the years, many people have believed they could fly. Whether they were under the influence of hallucinogens, severely mentally ill, or merely convinced they had special powers, all met the same fate as they leaped from a very tall structure. They hit the ground at the same speed and their direction was only downward, never up into the clear blue sky. The superordinate principle of Mother Nature in this scenario is gravity. Believe what we will, reality is what counts. The clear and instinctive principle of gravity is a great teacher. Gravity is predictable, and therefore, reliable. There’s no emotional or punitive meaning behind it. We must all accept this principle, because it’s provable.

The bottom line is that most of us will adjust our beliefs to match this simple principle, once we’re shown proof of its claim. We call this process “learning” or a “pattern shift.” Just because a principle is true and instinctive doesn’t mean it can’t be integrated with others. That’s precisely how creative people who observed and thought about gravity integrated it into the principles of aerodynamics and thermodynamics to enable us to fly. As we learn about nature’s principles and understand how they predictably interact with each other, we can make healthy shifts in our own. We call this having “adaptability.”

Principles have solid foundations and are real. They don’t change. It is our pattern or standard that needs to adjust and be realigned with what is real. If not, there are usually very clear, predictable, and undesirable consequences to follow.

As parents, we can also learn that certain fundamental principles are effectively connected to healthy and peaceful living and that we have the potential to become the most powerful agents of change and reform. We can decide to do nothing, or we can decide to make whatever adjustments are necessary to lead toward the making of more successful, safe, and happy children within our healthy family unit. But, how do we go about doing this?

Dr. B

Click here to read The State of Our Families Part II: The Attachment Principle

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